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New Contract Closeout Center Targets Deficiencies and Improves Performance

by Ben Sottile

Getting to green - those are the words that best describe President Bush's plan to target "the most apparent deficiencies where the opportunity to improve performance is the greatest," based upon his management agenda for improving government performance.

Contract closeout continues to receive high-level visibility; as a result, Michael Wynne, acting undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, directed DCMA to close the oldest physically complete contracts. The contract cycle begins with contract receipt and review and continues until the final action is taken to close the contract. Sometimes contracts remain open because a minimal amount of money is left on the contract even though the specifications have been fulfilled.

Creation of the Contract Closeout Center was a result of Defense Reform Initiative Directive #53, Reconciliation of Contracts in the MOCAS System. This initiative encourages DOD senior acquisition and financial management leaders to take ownership and responsibility for closing contracts.

The center's primary mission is to provide its customers the information, expertise and tools to resolve contract closeout issues. The center links resources to results and provides for one-stop, customer-oriented information to facilitate timely contract closeout.

Vivian Hill, director, and her team of contract specialists work with key stakeholders to identify problems and find solutions that lead to easier, faster contract closeouts. The nine-member DCMA closeout team includes Pat Janik, contract closeout performance advocate and DCAA representative; Sam Davis, executive secretary for the Contract Closeout Executive Steering Committee and Navy representative; Angela Chew, Army representative and Romulo Castaneda, Air Force representative. Chew and Castaneda are both updating the DCMA contract closeout guidebook. Pat McGinn serves as the industry representative, Mashane Nini is responsible for data analysis and distribution and Sheila Johnson is the operation support assistant. Additionally, Ben Sottile, with assistance from Karen Foley, District East; Ginnie Collie, District West and Grey Frey, District International, established a community of practice on the Knowledge Management site to exchange ideas and suggestions for improving the contract closeout process.

The Reconciliation Subgroup, which works closely with the closeout team, is co-chaired by Nayda Katzaman. Its mission is to identify and facilitate reconciliation issues that negatively impact or delay the contract closeout.

The goals and objectives of the center are aligned with DCMA's goals of delivering great customer service and leading the way to efficient and effective business processes. The center reaches out and partners with DFAS, DCAA and the military services' acquisition and financial management communities. They work together to understand each other's roles in the process and to identify the process drivers.

The Contract Closeout Center recently hosted a workshop in Memphis, Tenn. to address actual contract closeout issues, share best practices, and demonstrate closeout tools useful for successful closure of contracts.

"Predictive analysis and close customer relationship management is key to helping our customers reach their closeout goals," says Hill. "When agencies are committed and engaged in accomplishing contract closeout, success is achieved."

page last updated on: 04/03/2009 17:30