REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - Labor Day is a day of rest for those who work hard. Some of those workers support the Army and also save taxpayer dollars.
There are hundreds of helicopters in the Army's air fleet. Different types, different sizes, different missions. But all the same in what you should think when you see one.
"They should think that there is a contract behind every single, probably three of four contracts, behind every single helicopter flying," said Becky Weirick, the Executive Director of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal.
Weirick and her department do contracts for all Army aviation and missiles.
"It's a huge deal," said Weirick. "It is a 20-billion dollar a year proposition. About 30,000 actions a year. A thousand people doing that work, and it's extremely important to the Army."
As you've already heard, every helicopter and every missile trails behind it several contracts. That short word for an agreement to buy and sell carries with it a lot of complexity.
"There are three regulations that are about four inches thick that we must comply with," said Weirick. "There are multiple, hundreds and thousands of laws, regulations, and policies. So it takes a long time."
Weirick says it can take up to ten years to make a good contracting officer. Work to shorten that time span is underway but of course, it can't be too short, because there is a lot of responsibility.
"Not only to provide materiel readiness to the soldiers but to provide it at a reasonable cost, that is the best value to the taxpayer," said Weirick.
The Army Contracting Command is part of the Army Materiel Command, and headquarters is at Redstone Arsenal. There are contracting command soldiers and civilians at some 100 locations around the world.