News: I MEF operational contract support team receives award
Story by Cpl. Salvador R. Moreno
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The I Marine Expeditionary Force operational contract support team received the Expeditionary Contracting Team Award for fiscal year 2010 during an awards ceremony at the Pentagon, June 13.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, recognized more than 50 individuals and commands for $5.5 billion of combined cost savings for the government at the Department of the Navy Acquisition Excellence Awards ceremony.
"I want to thank the whole acquisition community of the Navy and Marine Corps for everything you do to develop the best possible products for our sailors and Marines on deployment or on patrol," Mabus said.
The Expeditionary Contracting Team Award recognizes the contracting team that has demonstrated superior support to naval or joint forces in an expeditionary environment. Nominees were judged on their innovation and resourcefulness to enhance the effectiveness of the military mission and their demonstrated superior acquisition skills in delivering services to the warfighter.
The I MEF Operational Contract Support Team is credited with managing more than $1.5 billion worth of supplies and services in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Team members honored were Cpl. James Tomlinson, Sgt. Elmar Jenson, Sgt. Matthew Thompson, Sgt. Rogelio Vegas, Gunnery Sgt. Cesar Swalm, Gunnery Sgt. Michael Douglas, Master Sgt. Norman Tuzon, 1st Lt. Elena Darr, 1st Lt. Lamont Wilson, Maj. Jay Parker and Lt. Col. Macon Robinson.
“We basically took an Army concept, went with it and made it better,” Swalm said. “We made it very successful. It was just a great feeling all eleven of us receiving the award. It was great beyond belief. It was a first for the Marine Corps.”
The team worked to find alternative solutions to contracting issues in-theater rather than just purchasing new gear. For example Tomlinson said, if a unit requested four trucks, they would find four trucks not being used instead of buying new ones. This new approach saved the Marine Corps $600 million. The team is the first to use this money-saving concept in-theater and is a template on how the Marine Corps can carry out expeditionary contracting.
They found workable solutions to numerous difficult contracting issues in-theater rather than purchasing new gear every time and saved $600 million.. Their work has made a template on how the Marine Corps can carry out expeditionary contracting.
“I was very proud,” said Tomlinson. “I never thought what I was doing was actually being noticed at such a high level.”
Tomlinson said that being the only group of service members to receive an award added to their pride. All other recipients’ were civilian contractors.
Mabus reiterated his five acquisition principles announced over a year ago during the ceremony which are: clearly identify requirements, raise the bar on performance, rebuild the acquisition workforce, support the industrial base, and make every dollar count.
The I MEF team met or exceeded all of the principles set in place to save millions of dollars.
Mabus said the Navy and Marine Corps acquisition programs and processes keep getting better because of their efforts.
Elements of this story were taken from http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=60997.