A lot of soldiers join the Army to impact real change and only some of those soldiers end their service making that dream a reality. For Staff Sgt. Andrew Hill, acquisition, logistics and technology contracting specialist assigned to the 1955th Contracting Support Detachment, 213th Regional Support Group, he was able to do just that.
This year’s Reserve Component Acquisition Summit in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, was a chance for over 200 contracting professionals across the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves to gather and improve their craft, network and discuss policies, procedures and more.
Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were one such group in attendance. The USACE provides public engineering services in peace and war to strengthen national security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters.
In the USACE’s brief on Active Duty Operational Support opportunities for Army Acquisition Corps Noncommissioned Officers, presenters discussed job requirements and policies around the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Contracting Noncommissioned Officer role. And while talking about the minimum experience needed to apply, the presenter highlighted why the group was moving away from the regulations—and it’s all because of Staff Sgt. Hill’s work.
Hill is a member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Contracting Team and has singlehandedly made contracting professionals at the highest level in the Guard and Reserves reconsider the policy through his outstanding performance.
Hill applied to a job he wasn’t qualified for on paper, and through networking and perseverance, won the interviewers over so much so that they were willing to take a risk on hiring him. And since that day, Hill has knocked it out of the park.
“Contracting Team Leaders have a difficult task obtaining limited funding at the State level. SSG Hill took it upon himself to create his own path towards completing his contracting certification requirements,” said Capt. Darrin J. Weaver, operations officer for the 1955th Contracting Support Detachment, 213th Regional Support Group.
“His networking efforts with USACE – Pittsburgh District and his outstanding performance during his ADOS assignment have created new pathways forward for future 51C Officers and NCOs,” said Weaver. “USACE is now actively recruiting new graduates from the eight-week Army Acquisition Training Course with no previous contracting experience, thanks to his effort. SSG Hill has proven the AATC course provides the essential contracting knowledge USACE can leverage to achieve win-win-win outcomes for the agency, the Soldier, and the overall readiness of ARNG Contracting Teams.”
Staff Sgt. Hill acknowledges the value of the education he was provided with and credits the organization for his success.
“My performance and accomplishments are a testament to the quality education received from the Army Acquisition Center of Excellence,” Hill said. “The 12-month on-the-job training for the 51C MOS is a requirement for acquisition professionals."
Hill says that his experience serving the commonwealth through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Reserve Component Broadening Program has been a very rewarding experience.
"We provide opportunities and jobs to the American people to ensure the security and wellbeing of our waterways, locks, dams and parks. It is a worthwhile undertaking, which I am honored and proud to be a part of,” said Hill.
Because of the outstanding work Staff Sgt. Hill has done, a memorandum from USACE, Pittsburgh will release across the USACE enterprise to recommend graduates of the AATC course who pass the certification exam for USACE Active Duty Operational Support opportunities. The recommendation includes waiving the 1-year minimum contracting experience.
“Modern armies project power by relying heavily on assistance from contractors,” said Lt. Col. Terry Fetterman, commander of the 1955th Contracting Support Detachment, 213th Regional Support Group. “SSG Hill is a member of one of the Contingency Contracting Teams that award and manage the contracts for supplies, services, and construction. The learning curve for this field requires navigating over 10,000 laws and regulations. That skill can only come through training and experience. Obtaining that experience is not easy for the CCT members. It is only through SSG Hill's tenacity that he managed to overcome the roadblocks thrown his way in getting the necessary experience. His superior efforts and accomplishments bring strong credit to his team and to the 213th Regional Support Group. We are very proud to have him as part of the Pennsylvania CCT team."
And through all of the praise and excitement, Staff Sgt. Hill has kept a level head and nose to the grindstone.
His advice for soldiers looking to make an impact? “The prospects for promotion in the military are high, especially in the acquisitions field, but the dream of making rank should not be the main driver for your efforts.”
Hill continued, “Do all you can to set yourself up for success, develop a passion for your craft, learning and making mistakes are a vital part of growth, and endeavor to excel.”
For more than a decade the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville (Huntsville Center) has maintained acquisition and contract management of the Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP).
However, changes to the program are underway to turn over the program to the U.S. Army Engineer Research Development Center (ERDC) contracting activity, Vicksburg, Miss., as early as September.
Patrick Parten, Huntsville Center HPCMP program manager, said although the acquisition portion of the program is moving to ERDC, there is no change to the mission of the HPCMP.
“Since the announcement that the portfolio of projects would transition to ERDC, we’ve worked closely with the HPCMP and the ERDC Contracting Office to ensure a smooth transition of all work with little or no impact to customers or the mission,” Parten said.
“The program continues to accelerate technology development and transition into superior defense capabilities through the strategic application of HPC, networking and computational expertise.”
In 2012, Huntsville Center and ERDC created a partnership to procure the follow-on integrated technical services needed by the HPCMP. To meet the demanding, ever–changing, technical requirements of the HPCMP, Huntsville Center’s Facility Technology Integration Division developed a highly skilled, multi-disciplined Project Delivery Team (PDT) solely dedicated to the execution of contracts in support of the HPCMP.
Over the decade under Huntsville Center, PDT managed a portfolio of projects valued at more than $2 billion and obligated over $1.4 billion over the life of the program. The PDT includes subject matter experts in the areas of program and project management, acquisition, engineering, contracting, resource management, and legal counsel. Additionally, the PDT has members with vast amounts of experience in information technology, networking, cybersecurity, software, hardware, training (in-person and virtual) and communications infrastructure.
Parten said Angela Wilson, Huntsville Center HPCMP contracting section chief, has been instrumental in the program’s success while handling a portfolio of contracts including Technology Insertion Basic Ordering Agreements, High Performance Computing Integrated Technical Services – Unrestricted, HPC Integrated Technical Services – Restricted, HPCMP Program Administrative Support Services, Navy Business Services and ERDC Business Services.
The HPCMP was initiated in 1992 in response to congressional direction to modernize the Department of Defense laboratories' High-Performance Computing (HPC) capabilities. The HPCMP was assembled out of a collection of small high performance computing departments, each with a rich history of supercomputing experience that had independently evolved within the Army, Air Force, and Navy laboratories and test centers. The HPC’s tools solve complicated and time-consuming problems with researchers expanding their ability to solve modern military and security problems using HPC hardware and software.
The HPCMP operates five DoD Supercomputing Resource Centers (DSRCs) with associated Local Area Networks (LANs) / Wide Area Networks (WANs) and develops HPC software applications and support environments.
The five DSRCs are: Army Research Laboratory, Adelphi, Maryland; Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; Navy Oceanographic, Stennis Center, Mississippi; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineering Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Maui High Performance Computing Center, Maui, Hawaii.