Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT April-June 2018 Contents CORs developing them faced minimal quality checks. They
worked for and reported to either the commanding general, the
chief of staff or the garrison commander, not the contracting
Of particular note, the chief of staff was responsible for acqui-
sitions and funding for the NTC and Fort Irwin. This served
as a platform by which Acquisition Command leadership could
partner with the chief of staff to achieve a desired end state that
motivated all parties involved. This teaming resulted in a rec-
ommendation for a revised version of the MPC process, which
included quarterly reviews with all key stakeholders (chief of
staff, garrison commander, directors, CORs, Acquisition Com-
mand personnel and contracting officer). Now, instead of the
CORs explaining cost overruns to the contracting officer at the
Acquisition Command organization, they and their directors
would have to explain them to the chief of staff (who in many
cases was the directors’ senior rater), in the presence of the gar-
rison commander (who in many cases was the directors’ rater),
in a headquarters conference room. We determined that if we
could minimize mission creep and implement this revised MPC
process, the quality of our MPC would improve.
Once we put the plan into action, this transformation yielded
significant benefits. The chief of staff, the Acquisition Com-
mand, the director of resource management and the contracting
officer compared the original directorates’ MPCs with current
actual costs, and the directors were asked to explain any over-
runs in detail. We discovered that in some cases, the directorates
were asking the contractor to exceed the scope of the contract,
resulting in changes, mission creep and overruns.
After the first session, some one-time adjustments to contract
funding were made, and the chief of staff and the garrison
commander told the directors that they would be responsible for
any future cost overruns for their respective organizations. The
end result was a tighter MPC process, a higher-quality MPC
and significantly fewer cost overruns.
The experience at NTC Acquisition Command yielded a num-
ber of valuable lessons in how to apply the MPC for maximum
• When using the MPC as a post-award tool and funding base-
line, ensure that your MPC process is robust and flexible
enough to incorporate changes that impact contract costs.
• Contractors must notify the contracting officer in a timely
manner when they anticipate overrunning their cost on a cost-
• Leadership at all levels, not just in the Acquisition Command,
needs to be involved in the MPC process. Everyone who con-
tributes to the MPC and its process is a stakeholder.
• Government leaders and the contractor need to be held
accountable for controlling their organizations’ respective
• Keep lines of communication open within the government
and between the government and the contractor.
• Ensure that MPC quarterly reviews are rigorous, fair and
• Finally, continually educate acquisition team members on the
MPC and its process.
Taken together, these principles can determine whether and how
the MPC can help an organization get a grip on its contract
For more information, contact the author at anthony.j.nicolella.
MR. ANTHONY J. NICOLELLA, a retired U.S . Army officer
who held numerous pre- and post-award contracting positions, is a
professor of contract management at Defense Acquisition University
(DAU) – South in Huntsville, Alabama. He holds an M.S .A . in
general administration from Central Michigan University and a
B.S . in logistics management from Penn State. Nicolella is Level
III certified in contracting and is a member of the Army Acquisition
Corps. Before joining DAU, he was a senior buyer and planner for
NV Energy Inc. and a supervisory contract administrator
for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The question was whether the
contractor couldn’t manage its costs,
or whether there was a problem in the
MPC that the command had developed
and used as a funding baseline.
122 Army AL&T Magazine
April - June 2018
AN UNEXPECTED ANGLE ON COST CONTROL
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