After 33 years of exemplary service at the Detroit Arsenal, Harry Hallock will soon become the Deputy Assistant of the Army for Procurement (DASA-P) at the Pentagon. During his time here, Mr. Hallock directed more than 700 civilian and military personnel at 6 geographic sites that administered over $137 billion in active contracts. Before leaving for Arlington, VA, Mr. Hallock sat down with the MDC to talk about his role as the Executive Director for the U.S. Army Contracting Command–Warren.
What thoughts come to mind as you prepare to take on this next chapter in your life?
I can’t tell you how difficult it will be to leave this great organization and these great people that work amazingly hard every day to provide the best equipment in the world in support of our soldiers. And I really believe there is something about Michiganders that creates the work ethic necessary for folks here to do whatever is necessary to get the job done.
Please tell us about your new role at the U.S. Army.
The position is the highest contracting position in the Army, and is responsible for leading an organization at the Army enterprise level that develops and oversees policy, programs and people to enable the acquisition of goods and services in support of the solider. This entails serving as the Competition Advocate for the Army and interfacing with the office of the Secretary of Defense for competition matters, setting the strategic direction for Army contracting and assuring it aligns with overall acquisition and Army policies and goals. This is a challenging position and one that I look forward to putting my all into in an effort to continue the Army tradition of serving our soldiers while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
The TACOM LCMC at the Detroit Arsenal is a major contracting and acquisition center for the U.S. Army. How many contracts and how many federal dollars are administered annually through the command here in Michigan?
Our efforts directly support 60% of the equipment contained in a Brigade Combat Team, and the technology for over 90% of Army lethality, supporting War Fighters at 100 worldwide locations. Over 130 Allied countries use TACOM equipment. In the 2012 fiscal year, we awarded approximately $2.7B to Michigan businesses, 27% of our total obligation dollars.
What types of goods and services are contracted through the Detroit Arsenal?
Contracting and acquisition support for Combat and Tactical vehicle systems, Deployment and Soldier support equipment – and Armaments. We cover everything from combat vehicles to knowledge-based services and much more.
What is the significance of the Detroit Arsenal’s Army Contracting Command (ACC) to the U.S. Army?
As one of three major weapon system acquisition contracting centers within the ACC, we are responsible for providing contracting and business advisory services in support of all our TACOM LCMC partners. This includes:
• Five Program Executive Offices and their associated Program Management Offices
• Tank Automotive Research
• Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC)
• Integrated Logistics Support Center
• Marine Corps Light Armored Vehicle Program Office
• Special Operations Command
• Foreign Military Sales
We specialize in ground and soldier support systems and are considered to be the Army’s Center of Excellence when it comes to the development, acquisition, production, and fielding of ground systems across the Department of Defense.
Here in the center of the American Automotive Industry, we are able to take advantage of the research and engineering expertise of the Big Three, while working together to develop dual-use technology that supports our soldiers with the potential to benefit the public at large…taking advantage of Army and automotive industry technology strengths to the benefit of both, during these times of severe budget constraints.
What efficiencies and synergies have you discovered or developed that continue to make Michigan the prime location for ACC-WRN contracting and acquisition?
In order to talk about why Michigan is the prime location for ACC-WRN, essentially we have to talk about how we came to be here to begin with. Briefly, the Tank Plant/Detroit Arsenal became the first plant specifically designed to build mass produced tanks in 1940/1941. The location for the plant, north of Detroit was selected primarily because of its location relative to the automobile industry and the unparalleled knowledge and expertise in the area to develop mass production lines and vehicles. The reason we remain is essentially the same. We have an established reputation for providing unparalleled expertise in the development, acquisition, production, and fielding of ground systems across the Department of Defense. We are constantly evolving, changing and innovating, and have been successful because we have been able to assess, respond, and adapt quickly to a very dynamic environment within the Army and the country at large.
Could you provide advice for businesses in Michigan that want to gain or maintain U.S. Army contracts?
Absolutely. When dealing with a contracting opportunity:
• If there is an issue, contact the Contract Specialist or Contracting Officer directly.
• Become knowledgeable about Government Contracting Regulations, specifically the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS) and the Army Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (AFARS).
• Subscribe to trade journals and defense magazines.
• Take a class in Government Contracting from the Defense Acquisition University (DAU).
• Attend defense industry gatherings and briefings and small business events.
• Use our websites (Google the term PROCNET).
• Be flexible, effective and timely when possible…work with us…and prove good customer service.
• Know your Request for Proposal (RFP) represents your company and your subcontractors, so provide a complete and quality proposal.
• Make sure you can do what you say you can do. And deliver on time.
Please share with us your thoughts on the talent pool and assets here in Michigan that support the Army’s contracting and acquisition activities?
TACOM LCMC took a hit in the 1990s. After 9/11 and the start of the War on Terrorism, it became evident we had cut the workforce a bit too much. Over the last 10 years, we have hired over 600 people and the vast majority are from the immediate (Detroit) metropolitan area. Although we don’t just hire college graduates, the vast majority of our new hires are recent graduates and I can tell you they are some of the best educated and most intelligent people I’ve ever met. It heartens me to know that I will leave this organization with a cadre of dedicated contract specialists and leaders that will train this next generation of contracting experts. With the array of colleges and universities in Michigan, along with the diversity of the automotive and other industries located in the state, I have no doubt my successor will continue to hire locally from this amazing talent pool as we continue to revitalize our workforce.
As the wars wind down, the Army will be transitioning from acquisition to reset. What trends in the supply chain of the Army are you able to predict?
As often happens after a period of sustained conflict, the nation needs to take a breather and retrench its military might to address other national economic issues. This will have a negative effect on many DOD initiatives. In this environment it’s more about challenging the defense industry to provide affordable products, and innovation at a lower cost to the Army. A significant emphasis will be placed on maintaining a viable industrial base – with surge capability – while effectively managing declining dollars and requirements. I believe the extent to which supply chain management parallels our industrial base efforts will determine its viability over the next few years.
What pieces of advice would you offer a small or medium business in Michigan that has a product or service that they believe would benefit the U.S. Army?
This is a tough, complicated and competitive business that may take some time and hard effort to break into. So these are things I would do:
• Know your product or service.
• Build an exceptional reputation in your commodity or service area and advertise it.
• Not bite off more than you can chew.
• Not be afraid to team, subcontract or partner with other industry partners. It can be a good way to get your foot in the door.
• Take advantage of the fantastic services offered by the Michigan Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) and the TACOM LCMC Small Business Office.
• Be patient. Contracting with the Army really can pay off in the long run.
How many personnel are engaged in Army contracting and acquisition here in Michigan?
The Army Contracting Command–Warren has 611 civilians and 21 uniformed military personnel. If you’re talking the entire acquisition community located here in Warren, mostly in the Detroit Arsenal, it’s approximately 8,000 people.
What will you miss most about living in Michigan?
The people. No doubt in my mind the beauty of the state is enhanced by the kindness and generosity of its people…it quickly became home to me.
Mr. Hallock, the Michigan Defense Community would like to thank you for your dedication and service to the nation and Michigan. Any additional thoughts as you leave our great state?
It’s been a great ride and I have enjoyed every minute of my life and work here in Michigan. I am truly honored to have been selected for this position. And it is because of those who mentored, supervised, supported, taught and allowed me to learn from them, that I now have this wonderful opportunity to contribute at the next level to support our soldiers. However, Michigan may not have seen the last of me! Someday, when I complete my Army career, I plan on viewing some pretty spectacular sunsets from my retirement home someplace here in the great state of Michigan.