The “center of the military universe” welcomed its newest tenant unit, the 419th Contracting Support Brigade, during an activation and assumption of command ceremony at the Main Post Theater, June 7.

The brigade’s mission is to provide Department of Defense activities and Army commands with responsive installation and expeditionary contracting solutions, and oversights.

Maj. Gen. Camille M. Nichols, commander of Army Contracting Command, presided over the ceremony where Col. Antonio Brown and Command Sgt. Maj. Leatrice Person, took the reins of command.

“In these days of budgetary uncertainty, plans for a potential furlough and the likely decrease in the future force structure of our U.S. Armed Forces, it is extremely significant that we are standing up a brand new Army brigade,” said Brown.

“This is the Army’s recognition that, in the post-Gansler Commission era of contracting, there are still great benefits to establishing new brigades to fill capability gaps in Army contracting.”

Dr.  Jacques Gansler served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics from November 1997 until January 2001. In this position, he was responsible for all matters relating to Department of Defense acquisition, research and development, logistics, acquisition reform, advanced technology, international programs, environmental security, nuclear, chemical and biological programs, and the defense technology and industrial base.

His 2007 commission report found that the Army required more trained and experienced officers, and noncommissioned officers.

Brown expanded on the unit’s mission during his speech by noting that the 419th CSB will serve as the global response force for contracting operations, which allows the 419th CSB to provide operational contract support to the XVIII Airborne Corps and the eight supported stateside based divisions.

Dan Elkins, public affairs deputy director for Mission and Installation Contracting Command, said the headquarters is scheduled to receive military personnel to fill several key positions during the summer of 2013. These individuals will play a key role in quickly implementing the requirements for full operational capable status no later than the first quarter of fiscal year 2015.

The 419th CSB is located in Building 2-1105 C, across the street from the Main Post Theater.