Special Project Program Provides Key Support to USACE, Huntsville Center

The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville (Huntsville Center) is very involved in national security initiatives and as the needs of the nation change, so does Huntsville Center.

However, there is a small program that is designated to accommodate any changes Huntsville Center leadership may require.

Huntsville Center’s Special Projects Program (SPP) is an unconventional, service-oriented program with three key focus areas: Center support that entails supplying services and supplies for the executive office, directorates, and support offices; training via award of PROSPECT course contracts for the USACE Learning Center and true “special projects,” which are customer requirements that do not fit in any existing Huntsville Center program.

Alonzo Andrews, SPP manager, said the program generally supports Huntsville Center through a wide variety of awards of miscellaneous Center-impacting contracts, necessary for the continuity of day-to-day operations.

“Most contracts awarded are cradle to grave and have a direct impact on the functionality of Huntsville Center,” Andrews said.

“In other words, we keep Huntsville Center running.”

Examples contracts, Andrews explained, include: security assistant (common access card) support services, guard force services, records management services (engineering data tasker support), shipping and delivery mail services, logistics management support services, internal support services, contracting support services, contracting scanning services, facility support services (project management, contracting, and administrative services), installation support project management training, installation support scheduling support services, buildout of secure space (organic capability to electronically receive and transmit classified information), physical move contracts and consumables.

The SPP was essential in leading the build-out of Huntsville Center office space at 4820 University Square and surrounding office suites. The SPP also led the internal buildout and movement of 475 Quality Circle, in addition to integral support for the realization of all Huntsville Center personnel relocation to 300 Redstone Gateway.

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Andrews said unlike many of Huntsville Center’s programs working off Multiple Award Task Order Contracts (MATOCs) or Single Award Task Order Contracts (SATOCs), SPP is where customers go when they aren’t quite sure how to get what they need.

“They only know that they need or want it, and there isn’t another acquisition vehicle to get them the desired end result.”

In order words, Andrews said, most customers know what they ultimately want, whether supply or service. However, they are challenged to articulate succinct and quantifiable requirements.

“This is where SPP shines,” Andrews said.

Huntsville Center project managers routinely engage and work with customers and stakeholders to develop requirements and provide end-to-end, cradle to grave, pre and post award acquisition support, Andrews said.

Over 95% of all SPP contracts awarded are stand-alone and unique to the internal or external customers; however, they maintain few Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity IDIQ) contracts.

“Typically, when SPP receives a customer requirement, we canvass the entire Huntsville Center to see if the requirement is redundant or is a better fit into one of Huntsville Center’s more than 40 programs. If the requirement is redundant, we will leverage that acquisition vehicle, and if not, it is truly a special project that the PDT will formulate and execute,” Andrews said.

Special Projects is oftentimes the first interaction an external customer has with Huntsville Center outside of senior leadership when they have unique, time-sensitive requirements. Examples are: renovation for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) South Atlantic Division (SAD); and a project for the Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP), which led to the formation of a new USACE product line, the Information Technology Services program (the former Facilities Technology Integration Division).

In addition, Andrews said, there have been times when a Huntsville Center program will not have the resources to support a new initiative or award, such as an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract.

“If a program manager can’t execute their expected workload due to program growth, that’s when Special Projects steps in to contract for additional support and leverages that program’s project delivery team (PDT) expertise to meet the needs of the customer, while the program continues to focus on other requirements,” Andrews said.

“The SPP does not have a designated lead engineer, but that is because requirements and expertise required to support the requirements vary from customer-to-customer.”

Laura Beth Quick, acting deputy to the Huntsville Center commander, said SPP is a “jack of all trades” program.

“Keen Center-wide awareness of programs and their contracts, people, and capabilities are what makes Special Projects successful,” Quick said.

“They are there to provide that extra support and take care of those unique requirements that are outside of a program’s parameters.”

“Whatever the future holds, we will figure out how to get it done,” Andrews said.

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