The Defence Contract Management Agency (DCMA) is an agency of the United States federal government reporting to the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment.
It is considered a combat support agency and is responsible for administering contracts for the Department of Defence (DoD) and other authorised federal agencies. Its headquarters is located at Fort Lee, Virginia. DCMA sometimes handles Foreign Military Sales contracts.
Contract administration within DoD has been studied and modified for many years. In the early 1960s, a study was commissioned by the Secretary of Defence to examine the entire DoD contracting process. Known as “Project 60,” the findings pointed to numerous benefits of consolidating contract administration and audit. At that time, each defence agency and military service was administering and auditing its own contracts, which resulted in a great amount of duplicate effort. Many of the contract administration responsibilities were eventually moved to the Defence Logistics Agency (DLA). However, the military services continued to retain oversight of the major weapon systems acquisition programmes.
Defence Contract Management Command
The contract administration process was again reviewed in 1989. Citing continued problems with the manner in which the services were administering contracts, a Defence Management Review Decision (DMRD) 916 recommended the establishment of a joint command to administer defence contracts, to ensure that consistent policies and standards were applied to the defence acquisition process. DCMC was established as a command within the Defence Logistics Agency in February 1990 to satisfy the findings of DMRD 916.
DCMC Transition to DCMA
On March 27, 2000, DCMC was renamed as the Defence Contract Management Agency and established independently from DLA. In DoD Directive 5105.64, the Deputy Secretary of Defence formally established the mission, responsibilities and functions of DCMA; save for 18 specific exceptions detailed in the Defence Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement, DoD activities normally delegate a wide variety of contract administration functions to DCMA.
The DCMA headquarters moved from a northern Virginia location to Fort Lee, Virginia, as part of the federal 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. The new headquarters was dedicated as Herbert Homer Hall on 15 September 2011. Homer was a DCMA employee killed in the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.
According to the DoD’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Estimate, DCMA had 10,637 civilian and 472 military personnel, located in over 740 locations, managing over 19,000 contractors and nearly 350,000 active contracts. The operations and maintenance budget estimate for fiscal year 2015 was approximately $1.3 billion. By 2019, those numbers changed slightly. As of 14 January 2019, DCMA had 11,641 civilians and 552 military assigned. Number of contractors and number of active contracts remained roughly constant. Total contracts serviced were valued at $5.2 trillion and authorised contractor payments per day was valued at $678 million.
DCMA Seal, Badge, and Lapel Pin
The DCMA Seal is pictured above. The eagle represents courage, honour, and dedicated service to the United States, represented by the shield of thirteen pieces. The thirteen pieces of the shield represent the original thirteen colonies that became the first thirteen states. The thirteen pieces are joined together by the blue chief, representing Congress. The eagle is clutching thirteen arrows and an olive branch with thirteen leaves and thirteen olives, similar to the Great Seal of the United States. The eagle is superimposed atop a map of the world, representing DCMA’s global mission. The rays emanating from the centre to the thirteen stars represent glory. The colour blue matches the canton of the American flag and signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice. The circle shape and blue colour are also reminiscent of the official seal of the Department of Defence.
In 2018, DCMA and the military services (the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, and US Marine Corps – as the US Space Force did not exist in 2018) approved a duty badge for military personnel to wear while assigned to DCMA. A similar lapel pin version is also available for civilian employees (and military not in uniform). The badge and lapel pin were designed by The Institute Of Heraldry (TIOH), working at the direction of military officers assigned to DCMA. Those officers directed the badge and lapel pin be reminiscent of the DCMA Seal and they wrote the heraldry of the Seal (above) as part of the badge/pin approval process. Then-Director of DCMA, United States Air Force Lieutenant General Wendy M. Masiello approved the badge and pin for DCMA. Ultimately, TIOH approved the badge and pin as an official insignia for the US military and the individual Services approved the badge for wear on military uniforms.
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