Career Planning Steps
Civilian Steps to Planning Your Acquisition Career
The Army acquisition workforce is composed of civilian and military professionals who support the various phases of the acquisition life cycle. The Army acquisition population is diverse and crosses 13 functional Acquisition Career Fields (ACFs): Business (two tracks—Financial Management and Cost Estimating); Contracting; Engineering; Facilities Engineering; Industrial/Contract Property Management; Information Technology; Life Cycle Logistics; Production, Quality and Manufacturing; Program Management; Purchasing; Science and Technology Manager; and Test and Evaluation. Descriptions of the acquisition career fields can be found at http://icatalog.dau.mil/onlinecatalog/CareerLvl.aspx. Employees should consult with their supervisors as to whether their position has been identified as an acquisition position or if they feel their position should be coded acquisition but is currently not.
Army acquisition workforce members are responsible for understanding the requirements for becoming competitive at all levels to achieve success. Workforce members should establish short- and long-range career objectives and seek advice from their supervisor and/or mentor on how best to achieve the objectives. Ensure these objectives include achieving technical competence in the primary ACF, academic credentials, broadening functional experience, and leadership training and experience.
All workforce members are required to be certified in their ACF and are required to participate in continuous learning activities throughout their careers. The certification and continuous learning requirements are addressed below along with information on the process to follow in order to meet these requirements. While many of these “steps” may overlap, they are generally in sequence order.
Keep in mind that acquisition career planning and documentation is the workforce member’s responsibility.
Step One – Prepare an Acquisition Career Record Brief (ACRB):
The ACRB is an automated, authenticated record of your education, training, and acquisition assignment history; it was created to mirror the military Officer Record Brief (ORB). Many of the fields in the ACRB are populated automatically when you are assigned to your acquisition position. It is your official acquisition record and it is your responsibility to update and maintain it accurately. The ACRB can be accessed from CAPPMIS at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/. Select CAPPMIS on the navigation bar, and then select the ACRB tab. CAPPMIS is an integrated set of tools to help serve and manage your acquisition career. It provides access to the Acquisition Career Record Brief (ACRB), Individual Development Plan (IDP) and the ATRRS Internet Training Application System (AITAS). All three are important to you as an acquisition workforce member.
Step Two – Review Certification Requirements:
The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) requires that employees meet the acquisition certification requirements (education, training and experience) associated with the acquisition position they encumber within 24 months after assignment. Certification levels are generally based on the grade (or pay band equivalent) of the position as follows: Level I – GS-05 through GS-08; Level II – GS-09 through GS-12; Level III – GS-13 and above. Certification requirements can be found in the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Interactive Catalog at http://icatalog.dau.mil/ (click on the “Certification & Core + Development Guides” button). Your first priority is to become certified in the ACF and level required by your current acquisition position. The ACF and level required for your acquisition position are shown on your ACRB under Section I (Current Position Data).
Step Three – Prepare an Individual Development Plan (IDP):
Army acquisition workforce members are required to maintain a five-year IDP. Based on the assignment to your initial acquisition position, your IDP is automatically populated with the courses required for your DAWIA certification. Beyond the certification requirements, preparation of the IDP is a joint venture between you and your supervisor. The IDP permits you and your supervisor to identify and track acquisition career objectives in the areas of education, training and experiential opportunities. Objectives should reflect overall broad career goals and specific developmental activities intended to accomplish them. The developmental objectives should be attainable in a reasonable time frame and do not have to be purely acquisition related. They can include items such as functional training, leadership, education, professional activities, and assignment experience that can lead toward the overall achievement of broad career goals. The IDP should be reviewed in conjunction with the normal appraisal cycles (initial review, mid-point review, and final rating period). The IDP can be accessed from CAPPMIS at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/. Select CAPPMIS on the navigation bar, and then select the IDP tab. Note for Total Employee Development (TED) users: Employee course requests, IDP goals and IDP objectives are entered first into TED – https://ted.csd.disa.mil/ted/logon.cfm. TED IDP entries will then flow immediately into CAPPMIS.
Step Four – Submit your IDP for Approval:
Once you have annotated all of your acquisition career goals and have entered any education, training or experience that is required to achieve certification, you may submit your IDP to your supervisor for approval. This approval process is done electronically; therefore, you must ensure your current supervisor’s name and correct email address is listed in your IDP. If your current supervisor is not listed in your IDP, please advise your supervisor to log on to the IDP site and add you to his/her employee listing (Supervisor: log in at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/, select CAPPMIS on the navigation bar, then select the IDP tab, click on “Supervisor” and then on the “Add Employee(s)” button). Your supervisor will receive a system-generated email notification when you submit your IDP for review and approval. Once your supervisor has approved or denied your request, you will receive email notification. Note for TED users: TED class request, supervisor approvals and other IDP changes will post to the CAPPMIS IDP automatically.
Step Five – Apply for Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Training:
After your IDP is approved by your supervisor, you may apply for DAU courses at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas/main.asp. The ATRRS Internet Training Application System (AITAS) is the web based application system that provides dates, locations, and availability for all DAU training. AITAS works in conjunction with the IDP and allows Army acquisition workforce members to submit their training applications electronically for both distance learning and resident courses. It is important to remember that the IDP is for planning purposes only; it is not the vehicle to register for DAU training. However, you cannot register for any DAU training unless the course is identified on your IDP and the supervisor has approved it. Note to TED users: Notify your TED administrator when you have completed a DAU class, so that TED records can be updated.
Step Six – Apply for Certification:
DAWIA certification is not automatically granted. After completion of the appropriate training, education and experience required by your acquisition position, you must apply for certification through the automated Certification Management System (CMS). The CMS can be accessed from CAPPMIS at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/. Select CAPPMIS on the navigation bar, and then select the CMS tab. After the certifying official reviews your application, you will be notified by email of the approval or denial decision. If approved, the certification will be added to Section X of your ACRB. If your application is denied, a justification will be provided with further instructions, if applicable. Becoming certified in your position is mandatory. Once you are placed into your acquisition position, you have a 24-month grace period to earn your certification. Failure to meet the statutory acquisition career field certification within the grace period may result in various personnel actions such as reassignment, reduction in grade or pay band, loss of consideration for promotion, or separation from Federal service (see Director, Army Acquisition Career Management Memorandum #8). Your command can request a waiver, using DD Form 2905, to give you extra time if mandatory classes are filled or you cannot make certain training schedules required for certification..
Required throughout employees’ Career – Continuous Learning Points (CLPs):
The Department of Defense (DOD) policy on continuous learning for the Army acquisition workforce requires each workforce member earn 40 CLPs every year as a goal and 80 CLPs being mandatory within two years. The DOD policy can be found at http://asc.army.mil/web/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/DA-CLPolicy_8Jan2014.pdf. Continuous learning ensures that workforce members remain current and relevant throughout their acquisition careers. The automated IDP is the document used to annotate activities that count toward continuous learning and can be found at the CAPPMIS site at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/. For DAU courses (including Continuous Learning Modules), your CLPs will be automatically entered into your ACRB/IDP via the training update process using the Army Training Requirements and Resources System (ATRRS). It may take up to two weeks after completion of the course before the data is transferred to the ACRB/IDP. For all other coursework, you must enter the course in your IDP, annotate completion, and request corresponding CLPs be awarded by your supervisor. Note to TED users: TED users do not need to manually add course completions to CAPPMIS. The CLPs for all TED class completions will automatically post to CAPPMIS when the record is moved to “history.” In some cases, completion of a TED course survey is required before the record will move to “history.” Non-training events can be input directly into TED history, and will post to CAPPMIS after supervisor approval of the CLPs.
The mark of your proficiency in your acquisition career field is attainment of the level of certification required of your position. Even if your position requires that you achieve Level II certification, you are encouraged to work toward attaining Level III certification in your acquisition career field. The following information is provided to assist you with your career development plan.
- Core Plus – The Core Plus program provides a “roadmap” for acquisition workforce members to attain functional competencies within their ACF beyond the minimum certification standards required for their position. The Core Plus Development Guides can be found in the DAU Catalog at http://icatalog.dau.mil (click on the “Certification & Core + Development Guides” button). The Core Plus Development Guide is intended to assist employees and their supervisors in preparing an IDP by identifying training, education, and experience beyond certification requirements that may be beneficial to career development or performance in a particular type of assignment. Core Plus activities may also be applied toward the CLP requirement.
- Army Acquisition Corps (AAC) – All Army acquisition workforce employees, regardless of grade level, should be aware of the AAC eligibility requirements. Special attention should be given to the education requirements of the AAC. Employees who do not meet the degree or business hour requirements should place special emphasis on completing those requirements. AAC requirements can be found in the Army Supplement to the DOD Desk Guide for AT&L Workforce Career Management at http://asc.army.mil/docs/pubs/Army_Supplement_DOD_Desk_Guide_ALT.pdf. GS-13 (or broadband equivalent) employees who meet AAC requirements should apply. The automated application is at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/. Select CAPPMIS on the navigation bar, and then select the AAC MS tab.
- Acquisition Tuition Assistance Program (ATAP) – ATAP is available for civilian Army AL&TWF members that wish to complete an undergraduate degree, fulfill the business hour requirement, or complete a graduate degree. ATAP, funded by ASC, provides students the opportunity to attend the institution of their choice within their local commuting area and complete courses during non-duty hours. Course attendance during duty hours must be with the approval of the student’s supervisor. The program is usually announced twice per year. Further information on ATAP can be found at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-education-training-and-experience/.
- Acquisition Education, Training and Experience (AETE) – The AETE Catalog outlines those USAASC/Army DACM Office funded opportunities that will assist acquisition workforce members in their career progression. It provides basic information on available opportunities and the process by which to apply. The AETE Catalog is divided into three major categories: educational/academic opportunities, functional/technical and leadership training, and experiential and developmental opportunities. Examples of AETE programs include the Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellowship (CDG/AAF) Program, Acquisition Tuition Assistance Program, Naval Postgraduate School Programs, and Senior Service College Fellowship Programs. A complete listing of AETE programs available and program descriptions can be found at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-education-training-and-experience/.
Army Acquisition Civilian Leadership Development Plan:
Civilians do not have set assignment officers to provide them with a career path methodology. This is why the Army DACM Office developed this first version of the Army Acquisition Civilian Leadership Development Plan (AACLDP). The AACLDP is the next step to determine a more defined career path for our civilians beyond that prescribed in the AACDM discussed above.
Previously, when civilians wanted to seek out advanced degrees, leadership development and/or functional diversity, there was no central resource. The Army DACM Office has sought to provide a first edition of the AACDM. At the heart of the AACDM is:
- The Acquisition Career Development Pyramid (ACDP) for each acquisition career field (which will also be published shortly).
- The AACLDP
The AACLDP, shown in the below graphic, clearly lays out (by grade) the statutory certification training and Civilian Education System (CES) requirements alongside the leadership training and higher education readily available to every acquisition civilian once they have met their position certification requirement.
Army Acquisition Civilian Development Plan (February 26, 2012)
This plan is meant to serve as a general guide for all levels of our acquisition workforce but really is targeting those highly motivated civilians looking to advance up the leadership ladder.
Using this model, each acquisition workforce member sees the training requirements of each level. In addition, they may use this Plan to identify desired training opportunities available at upper levels—each opportunity is hyperlinked to an information page for the program. The goal of the model to provide a guide for functional (DAU) training, Army leadership training (CES), multiple educational programs to obtain advanced degrees, and an entire portfolio of leadership and experiential programs at every level of a person’s career as they work toward progressing upwards in rank. Based on a particular civilian’s interests, competency gaps, or identified developmental needs, there should be a program in the model for everyone.
The AACLDP divides training into two sections – Requirements (DAU certification training and Army CES courses) and Recommendations (higher education and leadership training) and splits those two sections into four clusters of civilian pay grades (modeled after the Acquisition Demonstration Project used widely within the Defense Acquisition Corps.)
The model is further divided into four segments (from bottom to top):
- DAWIA/DAU Training – functional required training moving left to right from Level I up through 400 Level courses.
- CES Courses – Army G-3/5/7 required courses moving left to right from Foundation Course->Basic->Intermediate->Advanced->CESL depending on your rank.
- Leadership Training – includes all the leadership opportunities available in our AETE portfolio as well as a few Department of Defense and Army Materiel Command programs.
- Higher Education – Bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as Senior Service Colleges (SSC) and SSC fellowships.
Within the model, all courses are hyperlinks which connect to dedicated website pages for each course/program where additional information may be found.