CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (Army News Service, Jan. 9, 2008) — Soldiers with the 1st Theater Sustainment Command put their Contracting Officer Representative training to work and saved the Army thousands of dollars while curbing fraud, waste and abuse.

Two new contracting experts, Staff Sgt. Jeremy Smith, 1st TSC information technology, and Sgt. 1st Class William Perkins, 164th Quartermaster Group, were recently awarded their COR credentials by the 408th Contracting Support Brigade.

The 408th CSB initiated an intensive COR management program last summer to identify, train, appoint and manage CORs in an effort to improve and enhance contract oversight. Since then, nearly 200 CORs have been trained and appointed to oversee a myriad of contracts supporting Army combat operations. Their mission: identify opportunities for the Army to save money and ensure the Army receives the goods and services it is paying for.

"With the increase in contractor support to our deployed forces, the COR performs a vital role in the support of the war effort," said Brig. Gen. James Hodge, U.S. Army Materiel Command (Forward) commanding general. "Sergeants Smith and Perkins are just two of the many CORs in Kuwait who are true stewards of the taxpayers' money and integral to the mission."

Working as the COR for a copier leasing contract, Staff Sgt. Smith conducted an analysis of copier requirements that demonstrated a potential annual savings to the Army of more than $100,000. His research revealed that more efficient copier placements could improve productivity and save money.

Sgt. 1st Class Perkins is the COR for a critical fuel storage contract. He received specialized training on identifying and investigating possible discrepancies in a contractor's fuel storage records and challenged the contractor's explanation of the shortages. His sharp eye on bookkeeping and operations led to significant changes to the contractor's staffing and operating procedures and potential savings to the Army of more than $100,000.

"It was nothing more than basic accounting," said Sgt. 1st Class Perkins, "Two and two wasn't adding up, it came up in the monthly audit. The contractor put the brakes on the subcontractor and changed standard operating procedures so this won't happen again."

Efforts such as the 408th CSB's COR management course improve the Army's ability to ensure compliance with the contracts it enters into. Those efforts are a response to findings by the Special Commission on Army Contracting in its November report to Secretary of the Army Pete Geren.

The commission's report addressed structural weaknesses and organizational shortcomings in the Army's acquisition and contracting system used to support expeditionary operations. To correct those shortcomings, the commission recommended the Army focus on increased stature, quantity and career development for contracting personnel - both military and civilian, particularly for expeditionary operations; a restructure of the organization and responsibility to facilitate contracting and contract management; training and tools for overall contracting activities in expeditionary operations; and obtaining legislative, regulatory, and policy assistance to enable contracting effectiveness, especially in expeditionary operations.