FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
Q: In which Acquisition Career Fields (ACFs) can an Acquisition Corps officer obtain certification?
A: In accordance with Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-3, Army officers can receive training, experience, and certification in the following five DOD Acquisition Career Fields (ACFs):
- 51A: Program Management
- 51C: Contracting
- 51S: Systems Planning, Research, Development, and Engineering
- 51R: Information Technology
- 51T: Testing and Evaluation
See DA PAM 600-3 for descriptions of duties and assignments within these five ACF.
Q: Should I single track or concentrate certification in only one ACF?
A:No. IAW DA PAM 600-3, acquisition officers are expected to achieve certification in at least two ACFs (one of the two shall be in contracting or program management) with a minimum of Level II certification in one ACF required prior to selection to LTC.
Q:How do I apply for certification?
A: Active duty, US Army Reserve (USAR), and Army National Guard (ARNG) officers must request ACF certification through the Certification Management System (CMS). Detailed instructions can be found within the CMS Portal at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp.
Q: Do the certification standards change and if so, is my certification still valid?
A:Yes, the certification standards can change. For the current certification requirements, see the DAU iCatalog at http://icatalog.dau.mil/. The DAU website is the official source of standards and is updated as needed. We strongly recommend that you apply for certification as soon as you meet all the training, education, and experience requirements for a particular level. If you obtain this certification and then the certification standards change, you will still be certified in the ACF for that level. If you do not apply and the certification standards change for a particular ACF level, then you must meet the new requirements at the time of request in order to obtain certification.
Q: If I am a non-Acquisition Corps officer, can I apply for certification?
A:No. IAW DA PAM 600-3, unique functions performed by the Army acquisition workforce are based in statute and cannot be performed by non-acquisition personnel. Applicable statute is contained in the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA), consisting of 10 US Code Sections 1701-1764 and further referenced in the Department of Defense Instruction (DODI) 5000 series. Although you are eligible to take acquisition courses through the Defense Acquisition University or other recognized academic institutions, you cannot apply for certification as a non-acquisition military workforce member.
Q: How do I obtain a certification waiver?
A:Position certification must be obtained within 24 months of assignment to a position or a waiver must be initiated and approved for an additional 12 months. This date is based on how long the individual has been in a position(s) within the same ACF and the level required for the current position. The certification deadline date is obtained from the assignment history data in the Officer Record Brief.
Q: Can I count the same experience towards different ACF certifications?
A:No, the same months of specialized experience used to obtain certification in one ACF may not be applied to meet the specialized experience standards in an additional ACF. There is no double counting of experience.
Q: How many months of education can I count towards experience for certification and what are the guidelines?
A:Up to 12 months of training or education in your primary ACF may be counted towards meeting the experience standard for certification. However, you may not use this 12 months of training or education for the first year of acquisition experience to attain Level I certification – you must have a year of actual experience in an acquisition position to qualify for Level I certification. You can use up to 12 months of training or education towards your Level II or III certification.
As stated in FAQ#7, the same training and education used to obtain certification in one ACF may not be applied to meet the specialized experience standards in an additional ACF. For more information, click on the following link to read the document “Acquisition Career Field Certification Policy and Procedures.”
Q: With many FA51T positions recoded to FA51A positions on the MAPL, are acquisition officers still encouraged to become certified in the Testing and Evaluation ACF?
A:IAW DA PAM 600-3, an officer is expected to develop functional expertise in a minimum of two ACFs and broaden their individual experience and knowledge through several different and unique assignments. Officers are not single tracked into one of the five ACFs, but are expected and encouraged to seek experience in several ACFs through coordination with their assignment officer.
Q: What is Regionalization and who is eligible?
A:Under the Regionalization concept, the Director of Acquisition Management (DACM) appoints a Senior Regional Acquisition Officer (SRAO) to each established region. The SRAO has the responsibility to standardize professional development and increase the diversification of the officers within that region by allowing the officer the ability and time to grow in positions of increased responsibility.
Q: Are there any restrictions or special considerations for regionalized tours?
A:(1) Majors within one year of their primary zone of consideration for Lieutenant Colonel will not be considered for regionalization.
(2) If you deploy for an extended period during this time, your time spent overseas does not count towards regionalization.
Q: What is the difference in duration between a regionalized and a non-regionalized tour?
A:For normal regionalized tours, duration is up to 48 months. For non-regionalized positions, the duration is normally 24 months.
Q: Why do I need to apply for Army Acquisition Corps (AAC) Membership?
A:In order to be assigned to a FA51 LTC position or higher, the acquisition certification for AAC Membership must be met. While these requirements do not need to be met at the time of accession, they must be met within 24 months of assignment to a LTC or higher position.
Q: What is the difference between a Critical Acquisition Position (CAP) and a Key Leadership Position (KLP)?
A:Per 10 USC Chapter 87 Section 1733, a Critical Acquisition Position may be filled only be a member of the AAC. All FA51 LTCs and higher positions are designated as CAPs unless waived by the appropriate authority. The statutory tenure for all CAPs is three years.
KLPs are a subset of CAPs that identify positions requiring special Army Acquisition Executive (AAE) and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD(AT&L)) attention regarding assignment qualifications, accountability, mobility, and tenure. The AAE designates KLPs and the USD(AT&L) approves them.
See the attached memorandum for more information on CAPs and KLPs.
Q: How do I apply for AAC Membership?
A:Officers can request AAC membership once they meet all of the following requirements:
- A baccalaureate degree at an accredited educational institution with one of the following:
- 24 semester credit hours in business related disciplines from an accredited college or university (courses must be on a transcript); or
- 24 semester credit hours in the current ACF or the ACF tentatively selected for AND 12 semester credit hours in business related disciplines; or
- As an exception of education requirement, possess ten years of acquisition experience before 01 October 1991
- Be in the grade of Major and above
- Have at least four years of experience in an acquisition position in the DOD or in a comparable position in industry or government
- Minimum of DAWIA Level II certified in one of the five ACFs
Once they meet these requirements listed above, Active Army, USAR, and ARNG acquisition officers should request AAC Membership through the Army Acquisition Corps Management System (AAC MS). Detailed instructions can be found within the AAC MS Portal at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp.
Q: How do I become an Army Acquisition Officer (Active Component)?
A:There are two primary method of entry to become an Army Acquisition officer. (1) AAC Career Field Designation (CFD) Board. Officers are normally accessed into Functional Area (FA) 51 at their 6th or 7th year of service. For Active Army officers, this is prior to their cohort year group’s respective Functional Designation Board. The CFD board is held annually for eligible captains (CPTs), who can submit their requests for transfer into FA51. Foundational to accession as a FA51 officer is demonstrated outstanding performance in the appropriate Key Developmental position in the grade of CPT and completion of the Captains’ Career Course.
(2) Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program (MILPER Message 10-082). A new branch transfer process, quarterly panel is convened to evaluate and access officers who missed the AAC Functional Designation Board for their year group. The year groups and branches/functional areas identified for transfer in or out is based on strength. There is a three year Active Duty Service Obligation for officers accepting the voluntary transfer.
Q:How do I become an Army Reserve Acquisition Officer?
A: Interested USAR officers, in the grades of captain through colonel, may apply for entry into the Army Reserve Acquisition Workforce/Corps. Individuals must have previous experience or currently hold civilian employment in this field. This includes those who hold program management, software development and systems engineering positions at their civilian companies. Soldiers with the required experience will need to complete an Acquisition Access packet found on the HRC website at https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/protect/Reserve/download/index.htm and forward it to the USAR POC for processing. Accession packets are boarded on a continual basis and soldiers are approved or disapproved for entry based on the needs of the Army Reserves.