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.
Leader development program offers unique experience for civilians
By Tara Clements FORT BELVOIR, Va. (April 25, 2014) – Five members of the 2014 Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellowship (CDG/AAF) were recognized at a graduation ceremony April 18, marking their completion of the three-year developmental program that provides expanded training through a series of educational, leader development and broadening assignments for members of the Army acquisition workforce. “This is a great day to celebrate achievements in the Army,” said Craig Spisak, director of the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) and host for the ceremony. Spisak was a member of the very first CDG/AAF program, and recalled his experiences from nearly 20 years ago. “In April 1997, I got that call and was very excited to join the ranks of what I thought was going to be and has now subsequently proved out to be one of our premier leader development programs,” he said. “It’s an honor to be here because I’ve walked in your shoes to some degree.” Since its inception, the program has provided board-selected individuals with essential leadership training and developmental assignments to better position them for future selection into critical acquisition and key leadership positions. CDG/AAF graduate David Oatley noted that the program’s diverse experiences helped him to “see the bigger picture.” (U.S. Army photos by Ashley Tolbert) In his remarks, Spisak stressed the importance of building relationships. “As you progress, remember that the vast majority of the things you do becomes less and less important about how smart you are and how good you are, and more about your personal relationships with other people.” He also advised the graduates to remember the importance of trust, professional conduct and preserving one’s reputation. “At the end of the day, those will all come back to whether or not people trust that you’ve done the legwork, you’re prepared and what you say has some bearing and meaning and that they know you’ll stand by your word.” Those selected for CDG/AAF have their choice of two distinct tracks: program management or acquisition leader. Participants who pursued the acquisition leader track came from such fields as systems engineering, contracting and logistics. The acquisition leader track offers fellows broadening assignments within their acquisition career fields (ACFs) and opportunities to gain experience in other ACFs. The program management track features developmental assignments as well as posts as an assistant product manager, DA systems coordinator and other developmental program management positions. “This program gives you the opportunity to take [rotational] assignments and experience the different functions that you may be interested in and learn more,” said David Oatley, one of the graduates and project officer for the Gator Landmine Replacement Program at the Program Executive Office for Ammunition. Timothy Goddette, deputy program executive officer for Soldier and guest speaker, highlighted the value of the CDG/AAF program. “This is a program we need because of the opportunities it provides you to develop yourself,” he reminded the graduates. The 36-month timeline provides a series of diverse experiences and rotations similar to military counterparts. “In three years, we’ve been able to accomplish what may take 5, 10 or 15 years for some,” said Oatley. And from his perspective, the time was well worth it. “[This program] will help us be more effective for the Army in general and also get more satisfaction from our own careers and personal growth,” he said. Timothy Goddette, deputy program executive officer for Soldier and guest speaker, highlighted the value of the program and what it says about the people who complete it. “This is a program we need because of the opportunities it provides you to develop yourself.” Goddette outlined three key components that best describe the benefits of the program: competition, in that those who are selected are “among the best” in the Army Acquisition Workforce; development, an important component for those who don’t know exactly what’s next in their careers but strive to grow and be challenged; and networking and staying connected, critical to being effective. “That’s the key: being able to get people to focus on a common goal to get something done for our Soldiers,” he said. Lauren Johnsky was not able to attend the graduation ceremony in person, so the team at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center found a way to have her there virtually. Out of 17 graduations, this was the first where one of the graduates participated virtually. “Attending over the screen was much like being there in person,” said Lauren Johnsky, who was unable to get to Fort Belvoir for the event. “My favorite moment was having my photo taken with everyone! I felt completely included.” For those interested in applying for the program, Johnsky and Oatley have some advice. “The effort you put in is the reward you will gain from it,” said Johnsky, a program support specialist at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center. “I also think that it’s absolutely imperative to use the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people.” For Oatley, recognizing the need to take charge of his own career was a key factor in pursuing the CDG/AAF program. “There are opportunities and I think the Army does a fantastic job at making things available. So if you’re not taking advantage of [those opportunities], that’s on you. You can’t just sit back and think that if you do a good job, things will happen—because it doesn’t.” Applications for the next year’s class will be accepted beginning Aug. 15. Craig Spisak, left, director of USAASC, hosted the graduation ceremony marking completion of 17th Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellowship Program at Fort Belvoir on April 18. With Spisak are fellows David Oatley, Mo Stephens, Lauren Johnsky (who attended virtually), Monica Clemons and Walter Hamm Jr. Subscribe to Army AL&T News, the premier online news source for the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Workforce. 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MOS 51C reclassification extends application window, opens eligibility requirement
By Ashley Tolbert FORT BELVOIR, Va. (April 4, 2017) – The deadline to submit applications for this year’s military occupational specialty (MOS) 51C reclassification board has been extended to June 21, 2017, and Soldiers with 10 to 13 years of service may now be considered. This will be the only reclassification board for the year, prompting changes to the time in service requirement and the application extension to provide eligible noncommissioned officers (NCOs) as much time as possible to apply. Previously, NCOs with more than 10 years of experience weren’t eligible for reclassification. “We are extending the deadline to ensure that we are getting the best and brightest for the Army Acquisition Corps,” said Sgt. Maj. Joey Barden, 51C proponent sergeant major. Those interested in applying for reclassification are invited to connect with a member of Barden’s team on a new page in MilSuite (Common Access Card login required) and ask any questions they may have. “This isn’t meant to replace phone calls or emails,” said Barden. “Rather, it provides an opportunity to speed our response time and answer those questions that many Soldiers have who are considering or are in the process of applying.” The primary mission for 51C NCOs is to serve as a member or NCO in charge of a contracting team, battalion or brigade in contingent and non-contingent environments. The 51C NCO provides support for units and organizations involved in Army operations and joint, intergovernmental, interagency and multinational operations. In that capacity, the 51C NCO develops theater contract support plans, provides theater contract support and conducts contracting operations assessments. The 51C NCO is also expected to provide sound business advice to supported units and organizations. Details on how to apply can be found on the MOS 51C webpage. Subscribe to Army AL&T News, the premier online news source for the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Workforce. Related posts: USAASC announces MOS 51C reclassification board results MICC Program Offers Acquisition Career Road Map NCOs, Meet Charlie, the MOS with the Most USAASC announces October MOS 51C reclassification board results
Career Navigator: A Plan for Achieving Certification
Earning DAWIA certification is challenging but not impossible, and it creates a smarter, stronger acquisition workforce. By Robert E. Coultas There are jobs, and then there are careers. And for those with careers in the Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW), developing that career means compliance with Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) requirements to complete certification within 24 months of being hired. Getting that certification isn’t rocket science, but it does take a little planning, some effort and an investment of your time. Regardless of the career field, AAW members should have a plan to accomplish required training and establish early on a rhythm of work and training to meet future certification requirements. That rhythm will be important, because down the road, even after certification, every acquisition employee has continuous learning requirements that must be completed annually—in addition to the annual training that DOD personnel must undergo. For example, earning DAWIA Level II certification in program management requires approximately 163 hours of Defense Acquisition University (DAU) online courses, 36 hours of facilitated online training and five days in the DAU classroom. Online courses must be completed within a 60-day window. Each course has several modules, and each has at least one exam. The student must get 100 percent on each exam, and has three tries to do so. Failing to get a perfect score by the third exam means restarting the course from the beginning. ADVANCED PLANNINGEvery member of the AAW has an individual development plan (IDP) that should be reviewed at least every six months. IDP reviews give the employee and supervisor the opportunity to establish plans and timelines for completing certification training. (Image by USAASC/Art-Y/iStock) DAU provides a time estimate for each of its courses, but that figure could vary with each student. Someone with a free week to devote to a course with an estimate of 35 hours might be able to complete it in that timeframe. On the other hand, someone who has to spread that course over the entire 60-day period could take significantly longer to complete the material. SUPERVISOR PARTICIPATION Each member of the AAW must meet career field certification requirements within the 24-month period, and most succeed. As of Feb. 12, 2017, 80.9. percent of the AAW are certified and 17.8 percent are within the 24-month grace period. To achieve this success rate—and individual employee success—it is crucial that the supervisor play a role. At a minimum, the supervisor needs to make clear to a new employee the importance of certification and what it takes to achieve it. Given that employees will pursue certification during work hours, the supervisor and employee should have an agreement as to when the employee will do the training, as well as a timeline for completing it. “Even in the face of significant time constraints in our work and personal lives, the acquisition workforce has a statutory requirement to meet,” said Wen Lin, chief of Acquisition Qualifications and Support Branch in the Army Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) Office. “One of the major objectives of DAWIA is to professionally develop military and civilian members of the workforce. Once a workforce member has met their certification requirements, they need to continue to grow within their position.” One tool in facilitating that growth is the individual development plan (IDP). Every member of the AAW has an IDP, which is used by the employee and supervisor to document and plan short- and long-range objectives. IDPs should be reviewed at a minimum every six months, and such reviews are an opportune time for the employee and supervisor to discuss and update plans and timelines for when an employee will complete certification training. Failing to meet certification requirements can have negative outcomes. According to a January 2012 memorandum from the DACM, “Enforcement of the Army DAWIA Certification Policy,” acquisition personnel who fail to obtain certification within the grace period may be subject to “reassignment, reduction in grade/payband, loss of consideration for promotion or future employment into another acquisition position; or separation from federal service.” Moreover, workforce members cannot take advantage of the centralized training opportunities unless they have achieved their certification requirements. Certainly there are entirely justifiable circumstances that can prevent an employee from completing the certification within the grace period, and employees should discuss such circumstances with their supervisors. CONCLUSION It is hard work but entirely possible to achieve certification within the 24-month grace period—if there is a plan in place. Thousands of acquisition professionals have succeeded in doing so. The training is absolutely necessary: The acquisition enterprise is large and multifaceted, the acquisition process is exceedingly complex, and the products and services acquired for the warfighter can mean life or death. For more information, go to http://asc.army.mil/web/dacm-office/ This article is scheduled to be published in the April – June issue of Army AL&T Magazine. Subscribe to Army AL&T News, the premier online news source for the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Workforce. 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