The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) Army Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) Office is a one-stop shop for everything acquisition career-related. Your Army DACM Office is responsible for ensuring acquisition career development, talent management initiatives, and Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification (training, education and experience) of the Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW). The AAW consists of approximately 37,000 Army acquisition civilian and military leaders and professionals residing in Army staff offices, Army commands, Army service component commands, program executive offices, and direct reporting units.
The Army DACM Office works directly with the Defense Acquisition University (DAU), the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Acquisition), the Undersecretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) (USD AT&L), and the USD AT&L Human Capital Initiatives (HCI) Office to enable acquisition workforce initiatives and to serve as advocates for the AAW.
Sign me up, Coach!
by Joyce Junior Eighteen colleagues from the Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW) recently completed the first ever Coaching Pilot Program, offered by the Army Director of Career Management (DACM) Office and launched in June 2017. The participants were partnered with experienced and certified executive coaches and met regularly through the end of September. This pilot and talent management initiative is in accord with the AAW Human Capital Strategic Plan (HCSP), and participants included AAW members from the Army DACM Office, the Program Executive Office (PEO) for Soldier and the PEO for Enterprise Information Systems. The pilot included both group and individual sessions. Eighteen people participated in individual coaching and 15 participated in the three group coaching sessions. The three group coaching sessions focused on emotional intelligence, trust and the challenges of being a leader. The one-on-one individual coaching focused on meeting the participant “where they are” and assisting in the development of goals, strategies and personal action plans to meet their leadership objectives. At the end of the four-month coaching pilot, a survey was administered to all participants, with an 83 percent response rate. Results highlight the program’s positive impact: 100 percent of the respondents were satisfied with the outcomes of their coaching experience and believed their coach helped them “move the needle” on the leadership challenges that were addressed during coaching. 93 percent of the respondents felt they are more prepared to lead and manage having participated in the coaching program and that their organization will benefit from the results of their coaching experience. 93 percent of the respondents would like to see a leadership coaching program continue to be offered for the AAW. The pilot is being assessed by the Army DACM Office and the AAW HCSP Council for wider-scale implementation across the workforce. Leadership coaching complements other leader development programs offered to the AAW through the Army’s leader development opportunities and acquisition-specific career development opportunities. The proven benefits for coaching to leaders and organizations include increased employee engagement, increased performance, improved leadership skills, better teamwork and increased job satisfaction. Subscribe to Army AL&T News, the premier online news source for the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Workforce. Related posts: A Ready Acquisition Workforce Career Navigator: A Plan for Achieving Certification Owning your battlespace No time to lose
Career Navigator: Where is the What?
In the absence of a single, unifying intranet, knowing where to find key resources is the next best thing. by Mr. Steve Stark When I came onboard as senior editor of Army AL&T magazine and a government employee in January 2016, I was surprised by just how different being a civil servant was from being an employee of private industry, even though I’d worked as a government contractor for almost 15 years. One of the biggest differences in the federal workplace is the lack of an employee intranet. For many companies, the employee intranet is very literally where everything is or is connected to. “There are a lot of resources,” Craig Spisak, director of the Army Acquisition Support Center, told me. “You just have to find them.” He could not have been more right. In fact, I wasn’t aware of many of these resources until I started researching this. Company directory? Time charging? Webmail? Job openings? Training? Retirement? Holiday calendar? Benefits? Company policies, ethics and code of conduct? Knowledge management? Capabilities, from skill sets to technology centers? Travel? Company news? In the companies I’d worked for over the last 20 years, it was all on the intranet, a website owned and operated by the company exclusively for the use of employees and of significant benefit to the company itself. A well-run and -maintained intranet is a wonderful resource. Army Knowledge Online has certain intranet qualities, but the sheer size of the Army, with the vast diversity of employee roles, organizations and missions, makes it an unwieldy resource as an intranet replacement. In fact, to use it that way would be next to impossible. It’s not an all-or-nothing issue, however. There are a number of well-designed, useful (and in some cases, indispensable) web resources available to the Army Acquisition Workforce to help them stay on top of their careers. So, in an effort to pull together some of the sites that civilian workforce members need to know and use, here is a short list of highly beneficial links. At the top of the list are the milSuite Civilian HR site (https://www.milsuite.mil/book/community/spaces/Civ-HR) and the Army Civilian Personnel Online (CPOL) site (https://acpol.army.mil/ako/cpolmain). The latter is, as it promises, “a one-stop site that provides access to all the information you may need as a civilian personnel employee.” It replaced http://cpol.army.mil/index.html, which ceased to exist as of Oct. 1. The milSuite Civilian HR site offers many of the same links as CPOL and may eventually replace it. It provides a host of resources that a private-industry employee might find on a company intranet, from time-charging on ATAAPS (DOD’s Automated Time Attendance and Production System) and pay stubs (MyPay) to the Defense Travel System and retirement (the Thrift Savings Plan), plus a whole lot more. It’s not perfect, but it’s an excellent resource. And it’s easy to make suggestions to improve it because of milSuite’s interactive features. Virtually all of the linked sites there require a Common Access Card (CAC) to log in. MilSuite requires registration, but it’s open to those who have a DOD CAC through a simple process. MilSuite uses the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), which serves military members, retired service members and their dependent family members, among other beneficiaries, to validate users before creating an account—so, if you’re in DEERS, you should have no problem. And milSuite offers a great deal of utility to users, with interactive functions far too numerous to mention here. Army acquisition personnel should also have the website of the U.S. Army’s Office of the Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) at the top of their bookmarks list. Go to http://asc.army.mil/web/dacm-office/ for Army acquisition career-related information, including the DACM News and links to several career management sites, notably the Career Acquisition Management Portal (CAMP) to manage official records and apply for certification, the Army Training Requirements and Resources System (ATRRS) to register for Defense Acquisition University (DAU) training, and the DAU iCatalog to find certification and training requirements and courses. Finally, there’s webmail via Microsoft’s Outlook web email app. Go to https://web.mail.mil to check your email. You’ll need your CAC. While you’re there, send us links that you find particularly useful so that we can add them to our repository on Army AL&T News online at ArmyALT@gmail.com. MR. STEVE STARK is senior editor of Army AL&T magazine. He holds an M.A. in creative writing from Hollins University and a B.A. in English from George Mason University. In addition to more than two decades of editing and writing about the military, science and technology, he is, as Stephen Stark, the best-selling ghostwriter of several consumer health-oriented books and an award-winning novelist. Subscribe to Army AL&T News, the premier online news source for the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Workforce. Related posts: Career Navigator: A Plan for Achieving Certification Owning your battlespace Career Navigator: The Individual Development Plan AAW Human Capital Strategic Plan: Year one
HCSP: A road map to get where we want to go
USAASC PERSPECTIVE From the director, U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Community-built plan to take care of the acquisition workforce and, by extension, the Soldiers it serves “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” —Lewis Carroll Hesitant as I am to juxtapose “Alice in Wonderland” and the Army Acquisition Workforce Human Capital Strategic Plan (HCSP), there’s a lesson for us here. Determining where we want to end up is why we developed the HCSP. Although we have an incredible amount of activity at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) focused on taking care of people—to get them scheduled for classes, assess competencies, provide targeted training, educational and experiential opportunities, ensure that we have programs that develop them as both functional experts as well as leaders—we’ve always known it’s necessary to have an understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish at the macro level. The HCSP in effect codifies where we’re trying to go as we take care of this incredible asset, the Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW). We didn’t do that in a vacuum by having the USAASC team come up with ideas, analyze the data and decide what makes sense. The strategic planning was done with the full participation and cooperation of representatives and thought leaders from around the Army and the acquisition community. We had input from all the potential stakeholders about where they saw this community’s needs both now and in the future. We looked at the gaps between those two and developed very specific and targeted goals on how to close those gaps. That’s what the HCSP does. There are five specific goals, to be pursued concurrently: workforce planning, professional development, leader development, employee engagement, and communication and collaboration. The one that I typically emphasize first is communication and collaboration. The community that built the HCSP recognized that communication and collaboration was so important that it needed to be a stand-alone goal. It’s important to recognize that these are foundational activities, things that we must do really well at all times. That’s the only way to determine that we as a community are all on the same page, understand who’s responsible for what, where to get resources in particular areas and how to attack those problems together. It synchronizes the efforts of the entire community to make sure that we succeed. One of my pet peeves is strategic planning documents that don’t have an accompanying action plan. Our HCSP contains a detailed implementation plan. It includes not only specific objectives, but also metrics to determine whether we’re achieving our desired goals. It’s important to recognize that the HCSP is a starting point: This is what we think we can accomplish and this is how we’ll know whether we have succeeded. But it’s a living document as well. We won’t just wait a year, check the data and say that we’ve reached our goal, or that we haven’t reached our goal and just keep going. We’re also doing periodic assessments of whether our metrics are the right metrics. It’s a constant analysis and evaluation. We’ll learn more over time. Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with good metrics. I’m a true believer in having them mean something. I don’t like being the guy who grades his own paper and then decides to set the bar really low so I get As all the time. You need to determine what the target should be. And sometimes it includes activities that are outside your span of control, and yet you’re going to try to influence those, and you’re going to try to achieve success in those areas. If you don’t reach your target, all that tells you is there’s more work to be done. It’s OK to be making progress toward a lofty goal and recognize that we’re not there yet. What’s important is that progress is being made. Are we doing better at an increasing rate? Are we getting closer to our goal even if we haven’t hit that first threshold mark? And of course when you’re talking about human capital, it’s a recognition that people are what our business is about. People get the work done. In the acquisition world, we’re providing capabilities to Soldiers, but that is done through the expertise of the individuals who are performing the day-to-day functions to get those capabilities. There’s nothing more complex than human systems. It’s complicated work. It hits on things like education and training and certification. But it goes way, way deeper than that. It’s about competencies, including competencies in areas that we don’t know we’re going to need in the future. Those competencies evolve over time. If you were to talk to somebody 25 years ago about needing competencies in robotics, you might not have gotten a lot of traction. Who cared about robotics? But we know full well today how important a role autonomous systems or remotely controlled systems play in keeping our Soldiers out of harm’s way. Everything that we understand about the capabilities that we have to put into place evolves quickly over time. That includes things like building people’s competencies in other areas: their leadership skills, their communication skills and their ability to work in teams. It’s a vast array of work that we do on the human dimension. So I’m hopeful and optimistic that we can use this effort and the structure that we’ve put in place with the HCSP to come together and recognize where we are going. If we don’t pay attention to our workforce in an integrated fashion, then we will have results that are both ineffective and inefficient. If you’re motivated to do a good job because you have a sense of purpose of what we do and why we do it, then this Human Capital Strategic Plan means a lot to you. It shows that we care as a community about what we do for the Army as a force multiplier and that we recognize that no matter how good we are at what we do, we can always do better. This article is published in the October – December 2017 Army AL&T magazine. Subscribe to Army AL&T News, the premier online news source for the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Workforce. Related posts: A Ready Acquisition Workforce Investing in People AAW Human Capital Strategic Plan: Year one Owning your battlespace