News: Employee receives award for saving $5 million
Story by Nick D'Amario
WASHINGTON - Christal Jones, Defense Contract Management Agency Combat Support Center administrative contracting officer, was recognized at the Pentagon June 17 for, among other achievements, identifying $5 million in cost savings that was incorrectly billed to the government.
Jones received the Innovations in Financial Management in a Combat Zone, Headquarters and Major Command Level (individual category) award for her role while deployed to Operation Observant Compass in Africa from March to September 2012. The award was presented by Robert F. Hale, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), at the 2012 Financial Management Awards Ceremony.
Jones was selected to deploy to Africa as DCMA’s ACO due to her extensive Contingency Contract Administrative Services background. Shortly after her arrival there, she discovered a task order in a cost overrun of $8.5 million, and she and the DCMA team took immediate action to correct the issue. She also assisted the agency with a $5 million cost savings in remediation efforts that another contractor incorrectly billed the government.
“It was simply a matter of a ensuring a contractor is accountable for their purchases, and how effectively they obligate finances and manage the funds they have been entrusted with,” said Jones.
Timothy Roseberry, CSC acting Train and Equip Team lead, said he wasn’t surprised when he heard Jones was being recognized by OSD for her achievements. “Christal has always been very detail oriented and a good steward of taxpayer dollars.”
While deployed, Jones was instrumental in creating an integrated product team comprised of the buying activity, the Africa Command customer and DCMA. She also provided contract oversight in the development of four forward operating bases in Uganda, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
Jones attributes her success to her background — what she terms her “professional blend” — as a compliance officer with the Department of Labor, a cost and pricing analyst with Defense Logistics Agency, and as an ACO with DCMA.
She also attributes her accomplishments to those who deployed with her. “Nothing happens in a vacuum, my success is because of the great team the agency sent with me,” said Jones.
On her redeployment from AFRICOM, Jones’ principal focus became training up soldiers and civilians for deployment. She currently participates in several service and joint unit exercises at Fort Lee, Va., and other U.S. locations, sharing her expertise and lessons learned to Army contracting cells.
Having deployed three times in the past four years, Jones appreciates, first-hand, the importance of Basic Contingency Operations Training and Master Scenario Exercises List training. “While the lessons learned aren’t always immediately apparent in the training environment, it all clicks when you get into the field,” she said.
Jones now spends more than half of her time training soldiers and civilians. CSC’s BCOT program has her training DCMA civilians, active duty military and service augmentees nearly 10 weeks each year. She is also on the road up to 15 weeks each year with MSEL, a two-week training program for Reserve and active duty military units readying to deploy, her most recent trip taking her to Fort Hood, Texas.
“Christal has provided ongoing CCAS mission support. She's a valuable asset, supporting agency exercises and instructing contracting officers during BCOT,” said Roseberry. “DCMA has a history of raising the bar for performance. Once in a while, someone like Christal comes along and raises it even higher."
Jones’ said her motivation for always going above and beyond is, “There is always a soldier who is the end receiver on the contract.”