The Office of the Army Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) is responsible for ensuring the career development and Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification (training, education and experience) of the Army Acquisition Workforce, which consists of approximately 40,000 acquisition civilian and military members. This workforce resides 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), and the Undersecretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) to enable workforce initiatives and to serve as advocates for the Army Acquisition Workforce.
$$ for Training? We’ve Got You Covered.
By Sue Follett and Dr. James Rich Editor’s Note: This is the first in an occasional series about the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund (DAWDF) and the commands and organizations that have used its funding to better their performance or improve their workforce. Quick question: What’s the DAWDF? Unfortunately, that’s a question a lot of people can’t answer. We’re hoping to change that, and to help the Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW) realize the benefits that the funding program offers. Here’s the nitty-gritty: Created in 2008, DAWDF, or the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund, is designed to address gaps in the acquisition workforce by serving as a funding source for training initiatives that target acquisition functional and leadership competencies and hiring across the mission-critical acquisition career fields of business, cost estimating and financial management, contracting, systems engineering, science and technology, and program management. Commands can use DAWDF to implement initiatives that support the Army acquisition executive’s strategic objectives: improve certification rates; build acquisition functional and leadership skills; increase core competencies; and recruit, retain and recognize the best talent. “Often, I hear ‘I didn’t know we could do that,’ or ‘I didn’t realize that was an option,’ when I explain the program,” said Jason Pitts, DAWDF program manager at the Office of the Army Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. “We’re hoping to get the word out so that other commands can benefit in the same way that a number of other organizations already have.” One of those organizations is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), whose Directorate of Contracting (DOC) initiated an on-the-job training (OJT) program in FY14. The program is attacking real-time problems in a positive, constructive manner, and gives DOC leadership an in-person opportunity to coach, train and mentor the future force of the organization. The OJT program was developed to address weaknesses that were identified through procurement and command management reviews. It was developed by USACE’s nine regional chiefs of contracting (RCCs), who targeted members of the acquisition community that were key to the contracting process but were not 1100 series personnel and aimed for a trainer-to-trainee ratio of 1-to-3 or lower. “The training was designed to be very skill-specific and we wanted a format that encouraged instant feedback on learning,” said Dr. James Rich, who oversaw the training program for USACE. “We were also trying to provide training that could be applied immediately in real time using examples familiar to the trainee.” Capping participation to three people per session “provided an intimate, non-threatening format dedicated to skill acquisition and awareness of Web-based resources,” he added. “We found that the format generated far more dialog and Q&A than did didactic classroom models.” Training topics addressed a range of issues, including justifications and approvals, contract closeout procedures, price negotiation memorandums, determination and findings, market research, and contract formation checklists. Topics were targeted to real-time activities and instructors used examples that were familiar to trainees. The training sessions typically were established as one- or two-hour workshops. The trainers were senior procurement analysts with unique skill sets or experiences that enabled them to teach topics that were relevant to contracting professionals—career development, for example, or DAWIA certification. Most of the trainees were acquisition personnel from the RCCs, with some coming from the program management and small business areas. In FY14, the OJT initiative provided hands-on training to more than 3,000 acquisition workforce members across multiple functional areas, including contracting, small business, facilities engineering, project management and the Office of Counsel. The training was accomplished at an exceptionally low cost per student at $52 per person, with total expenditures for the fiscal year of roughly $157,000. To date in FY15, RCCs have conducted 116 OJT sessions for roughly 1,200 people. Training sessions included how-to sessions on conducting a source selection consensus, writing competitive range determinations, documenting best value decisions and leading debriefings. USACE is still collecting data on the enterprise-wide impact of the OJT program, Rich said, and because the training is linked directly to CMR data, the results will be measurable over time. At least one RCC office has benefited from the program, he added. Overdue assessments have declined considerably, from 37 percent to less than 4 percent, and monthly status report levels have increased, from 67 percent to 87 percent. “Feedback from participants and district leadership has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Rich. “The OJT initiative was designed to support the district’s acquisition mission, not just the concerns of the contracting office, and our post-training surveys reveal top to bottom consensus support.” For additional information on DAWDF, contact Jason Pitts or call 703-805-1253. Located within the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center at Fort Belvoir, the Army DACM Office is responsible for ensuring the career development and Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act certification (training, education and experience) of the 38,000-strong AAW. Access AL&T is the premier online news source for the Army Acquisition Workforce. Click to Subscribe Related posts: Acquisition Education and Training Corner Acquisition Education and Training Corner: July 2011 New App to Spotlight Army Exhibits, Forums at AUSA Army DACM Office Hot Topics – July
Army plans to consolidate educational offerings
By Susan L. Follett FORT BELVOIR, Va. (July 16, 2015) – For the Army Acquisition Workforce, education is a key component of career development and, ultimately, mission success for the warfighter. Armywide, thousands of Soldiers and civilians are involved in professional education programs, making the Army’s educational enterprise one of the largest academic systems in the United States. Last month, the Army announced The Army University—a multiyear plan to bolster its educational offerings by aligning most of its military education programs under a unified academic structure. A February 2015 white paper from LTG Robert B. Brown, commanding general of the Combined Arms Center, spelled out the research behind the effort, which indicated that the Army’s current system—largely unchanged for two decades—is inadequate to address the complex challenges outlined in the Army Operating Concept, which calls for a flexible professional military education process that’s focused on educating leaders. The education effort within the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) today includes 70-plus schools and several independent research libraries. Bureaucratic stovepipes often restrict the sharing of best practices across the education enterprise. Additionally, degrees and credentials from Army academic institutions carry less weight and prestige in the broader academic community, in part as a result of misunderstanding of the accreditation process within the military and a view that Army education lacks the academic rigor found in civilian programs. The new system will align the officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer and civilian education programs across TRADOC under a single academic structure with a consistent brand name. The alignment will streamline academic governance, reduce stovepipes, facilitate accreditation and increase avenues for quickly sharing best practices. In addition, the Army University will increase collaboration and the sharing of best practices. Once fully implemented, the Army University concept is expected to yield increased numbers of Army courses with nationally-recognized accreditation; increase the number of Army education experiences that result in college credits or trade certifications; raise instructor credentials; and normalize many core courses across educational opportunities. The Army University will encompass all U.S. Army training and command schools, and address the educational needs of the Army while providing individual Soldiers and civilians the opportunity to accomplish their own respective academic goals. The Army War College will be an integral part of the Army University but will maintain separate accreditation and governance. The Army’s goal with the reorganized university structure is to maximize educational opportunities for Soldiers by providing valid academic credit for the education and experience they receive while on active duty. The Army will benefit in the form of reduced tuition assistance expenses, and Soldiers will benefit from better capability to transition into quality employment opportunities once they leave active duty. The Army University is scheduled to roll out in the third quarter of FY15, and is slated to reach initial operating capability by the first quarter of FY16. Over the next two years, the Army University will develop new processes to facilitate student and faculty collaboration and exchanges with civilian universities, establish universal transcripts, centralize and improve faculty development programs, and implement common core curriculum across the spectrum of Army education. Read The Army University whitepaper or the featured edition of StandTo! for more details. Access AL&T is the premier online news source for the Army Acquisition Workforce. Click to Subscribe Related posts: Program Executive Office Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation Shapes Future Contracting Professionals DACM Corner: AcqDemo: Rewarding Excellence Acquisition Education and Training Corner: March 2011 Update USAASC to Provide Acquisition Career Counseling at AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition
Army DACM Office announces training, leadership and educational opportunities for FY16
By Susan L. Follett FORT BELVOIR, Va. (July 15, 2015) – Open up your calendars: The Office of the Army, Director of Acquisition Career Management has scheduled a host of Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW) education, training and leadership development opportunities for FY16. A handful of AAW leadership development opportunities are on the schedule, including four sections of the Acquisition Leader Challenge Program, a series of seminars that focus on developing leadership skills for civilians, identifying challenges for new leaders, and incorporating individual talents into a cohesive workforce. Applications will be accepted in August for the Competitive Development Group, a three-year developmental program for board-selected applicants that offers expanded training, leadership, experiential and other career development opportunities. Civilian workforce members can also take advantage of the opportunities offered through the Defense Civilian Emerging Leaders Program and the Senior Service College Fellowship, both of which will open for applications next year. Ready for your next career challenge? Announcements open in mid-September for the Centrally Selected List/Centralized Selection Board, which fills billets for project and product managers as well as product directors. Maybe a hands-on experience is what you need for this stage of your career. Military members of the Army Acquisition Workforce might consider the Training With Industry program, which places competitively selected officers in corporate assignments, giving them extensive exposure to managerial techniques and industrial procedures. The program announcement opens July 23. Programs for 51C NCOs and FA-51 officers include Advanced Civil Schooling, which offers a number of sessions through FY16, and the Degree Completion Program, which opens for applications a year from now. Looking for tuition assistance programs? The Student Loan Repayment Program opens in the fall, and applicants will be selected early next year. Further down the road, the Naval Post Graduate School Master’s Degree Program, which allows participants to earn an advanced degree in program management or systems engineering, will open for applications in early 2016. A complete list of the FY16 programs, including opening and closing dates, is below, and additional information can be found on the online calendar. To be sure you don’t miss an opportunity or a deadline, be sure to subscribe by clicking the button in the lower right-hand corner, which will populate your Outlook calendar with all the relevant information. Keep in mind that dates are subject to change, so be sure to check out the AAPDS tab within CAPPMIS to confirm. FY16 USAASC Army DACM Office Announcement Timelines TUITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) Announcement opening: October 1, 2015 Announcement closing: October 29, 2015 Applicant selection notification date: January 19, 2016 (T) Naval Postgraduate School Master of Science in Program Management OR Systems Engineering Announcement opening: February 22, 2016 Announcement closing: April 11, 2016 Applicant selection notification date: May 16, 2016 Acquisition Tuition Assistance Program (ATAP) Announcement opening: May 9, 2016 Announcement closing: June 13, 2016 Applicant selection notification date: July 22, 2016 LEADER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS Acquisition Leader Challenge Program (ALCP) 1st Quarter Announcement opening: August 3, 2015 Announcement closing: August 31, 2015 2nd Quarter Announcement opening: November 3, 2015 Announcement closing: November 30, 2015 3rd Quarter Announcement opening: February 1, 2016 Announcement closing: February 29, 2016 4th Quarter Announcement opening: May 2, 2016 Announcement closing: May 30, 2016 Competitive Development Group (CDG) Announcement opening: August 26, 2015 Announcement closing: October 30, 2015 Applicant selection notification date: December 16, 2015 Defense Acquisition University- Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF) Announcement opening: January 29, 2016 Announcement closing: April 17, 2016 Applicant selection notification date: June 1, 2016 Defense Civilian Emerging Leaders Program (DCELP) Announcement opening: May 16, 2016 Announcement closing: June 16, 2016 Applicant selection notification date: late 2016 MILITARY EDUCATION/BROADENING OPPORTUNITIES Training-with-Industry (TWI) [FA51 Officers] Announcement opening: July 23, 2015 (T) Announcement closing: November 3, 2015 (T) Applicant selection notification date: NLT December 31, 2015 Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS) [FA-51 Officers and MOS 51C NCOs] ACS 17-01 [FA-51 Officers] Announcement opening: o/a March 15, 2016 Announcement closing: o/a June 5, 2016 Applicant selection notification date: o/a July 15, 2016 ACS 17-02 [FA-51 Officers] Announcement opening: o/a August 7, 2016 Announcement closing: o/a November 5, 2016 Applicant selection notification date: o/a December 31, 2016 ACS [MOS 51C NCOs] Announcement opening (FY 16): August 10, 2015 Announcement closing: November 30, 2015 Applicant selection notification date: January 20, 2016 ACS [MOS 51C NCOs] Announcement opening (FY 17): August 8, 2016 Announcement closing: November 30, 2016 Applicant selection notification date: January 20, 2017 Degree Completion Program (DCP) More information will be posted at http://asc.army.mil/web/dacm-office/. Announcement opening (spring): August 1, 2016 Announcement closing: October 14, 2016 Applicant selection notification date: November 18, 2016 Centrally Selected List (CSL)/Centralized Selection Board (CSB) Announcements FY17 Acquisition Key Billet – Project/Product Manager or Acquisition Director CSL Board Announcements will be posted at, https://www.hrc.army.mil/Officer/Acquisition%20Management%20Branch%20FA51. Announcement opening: LTC/GS14: September 14, 2015 COL/GS15: October 5, 2015 Announcement closing: LTC/GS14: October 30, 2015 COL/GS15: November 20, 2015 Board dates: LTC/GS14: January 11-15, 2016 COL/GS15: February 2-5, 2016 Applicant selection notification date: Spring 2016 FY16 Product Director CSB Announcement opening: October 26, 2015 (T) Announcement closing: December 17, 2015 (T) Board dates: January 14-15, 2016 Applicant selection notification date: April 1, 2016 FY16 AAW Recruitment, Training, and Retention Initiatives – Call for Requirements Announcement Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund (DAWDF) Information will be posted at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/852-program/. Announcement opening: February 1, 2016 Announcement closing: May 15, 2016 Board dates: June 1-15, 2016 Command notification date: August 15, 2016 Access AL&T is the premier online news source for the Army Acquisition Workforce. Click to Subscribe Related posts: Program Executive Office Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation Shapes Future Contracting Professionals DACM Corner: AcqDemo: Rewarding Excellence Acquisition Education and Training Corner: March 2011 Update USAASC to Provide Acquisition Career Counseling at AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition
Faces of the Force
Chenxi Dong-O’Malley began her Army civilian career a dozen years ago, working on protective clothing and equipment for Soldiers at the Natick Solider Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC). “Most people are unaware of the amount of technology development that’s behind the gear our Soldiers use,” she noted. “They see the end product, but not the trial and error that eventually led to it, or all the early research or the options that were eliminated because they weren’t feasible to meet a requirement.”
It’s likely that the subset of people with master’s degrees in forestry and wood utilization sciences who work in defense acquisition is very small in number. And it’s possible that it’s a subset of just one: Meet David Cook, an industrial engineer in the Lower Tier Project Office (LTPO) for Program Executive Office Missiles and Space (PEO MS).
Boston native Ulysses “Uly” Perea doesn’t have the accent that most people from his part of the country are known for. “It gets stronger as I get closer to home,” he said. But spend some time learning about his background and his work, and you’ll likely describe him like the locals would: “wicked smaht” and “a real hahd workah.”
Lisa Benjamin isn’t big on down time. Two weeks after she graduated from high school in 1982, she headed for Army basic training. She spent 21 years on active duty, and six months later she began working for the Army as a civilian—work she’s done for more than a decade. She’s reached some notable milestones along the way, a few in less time than it usually takes.
James A. Bushnell
When Jim Bushnell joined the Army in 1984, his goal was fairly simple: to make sure he knew where his next meal was coming from. While the Army isn’t known for gourmet cooking, it is known for feeding Soldiers—and for training them, something Bushnell has made the most of.
James C. Risner
When opportunity knocks, you have to open the door. Some people, like Jim Risner, just go on out to the front porch and grab it by the lapels. “I joined the Department of the Army because of the opportunities the program provided,” Risner said, looking back on an Army career that began nearly 30 years ago. “Little did I realize how great those opportunities would be.”