• Acquisition Education and Training Corner: April 2012

    Training with Industry (TWI)

    TWI is a 10- to 12-month rotational opportunity for acquisition officers (O-3 to O-5) to work side by side with industry. Current participating companies for Army acquisition in FY12 are: Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Coca-Cola Co., Cisco Systems Inc., EADS North America Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Computer Sciences Corp., Intel Corp., General Dynamics Corp., and Boeing Co.

    The U.S. Army Acquisition Corps (AAC) participates in TWI so that our officers can actively experience best practices through one-year assignments with leading industry partners. As a result, they can apply lessons learned and effect positive change in AAC. Increased leadership focus has led to expanded participation in the TWI program, from five acquisition quotas in FY11 to 10 in FY12. AAC expanded the focus of the FY12 program beyond defense companies to include innovative, cutting-edge leaders such as Coca-Cola, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel in the TWI portfolio. Moving beyond solely traditional defense-based companies such as Boeing, General Dynamics Land Systems, and Lockheed Martin will allow AAC officers to garner insight and implement creative solutions in an environment that is quite different than the traditional Army program management office.

    Each officer will submit a final paper to the Director, Acquisition Career Management (DACM) detailing the TWI experience and how he or she will take important lessons from the time spent with industry and use those new skills and best practices to improve acquisition outcomes. On May 17, the DACM will welcome the new FY12 class of 10 officers into the program at our TWI Orientation in Arlington, VA, where outgoing officers, incoming officers, and executives from each company will meet with one another. For more information, contact your assignment officer; contact information is at https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/protect/branches/officer/FS/Acquisition/Acquisition_Contact_Information.htm.

    Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellowship Graduation

    The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) hosted the Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellowship (CDG/AAF) Program’s 12th annual Orientation, Induction, and Graduation March 22 in Huntsville, AL. The CDG/AAF Program is a three-year leadership opportunity that offers competitively selected candidates in grade GS-12 or -13 (or broad/pay band equivalent) expanded leadership training and experience. The 70-person annual event consists of Year Group (YG) 12 orientation and YG09-12 training sessions, followed by a dinner and a graduation and induction ceremony. The event allows the acquisition community to welcome the incoming YG1) as well as to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating YG09. Following are the members of each class and where they participated:

    INCOMING YG12

    Aladrian Crowder (Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD)

    Chenxi Dong-O’Malley (Natick)

    Timothy Hoy (Aberdeen)

    Adam Morse (National Capital Region)

    Craig Riedel (Warren)

    Stephen Roberts (Huntsville)

    Karen Short (Huntsville)

    Matthew Whitworth (Huntsville)

    GRADUATING YG09

    Tamera Balch (Huntsville)

    Alvin Bing (Warren)

    Jeff Burgess (Huntsville)

    Danny Davis (Huntsville)

    Peter Degenaar (Huntsville)

    Gloria Hemphill (Huntsville)

    Jeff Hensley (Huntsville)

    Ryan Johnson (Picatinny)

    Darold McCloud (Huntsville)

    Phillip McDonald (Huntsville)

    Joel Price (Huntsville)

    Defense Acquisition University Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF)

    The Defense Acquisition University – Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF) Program is a 10-month educational opportunity conducted under the auspices of the DAU in Huntsville, AL; Warren, MI; and Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. The purpose of the SSCF Program is to provide leadership and acquisition training to prepare senior-level civilians for senior leadership roles such as product and project managers, program executive officers, and other key acquisition positions. DAU will host graduation at the following locations:

    Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: May 16, 11 a.m.

    Huntsville, AL: May 23, 2 p.m.

    Warren, MI: May 30, 10 a.m.

    The graduating class of 2011-12:

    ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND

    Debra R. Abbruzzese

    Ira James Hines II

    Patrick J. Layden

    Robert C. Lyons

    Thomas E. Mikolinis

    Stanley M. Niemiec

    Undra Robinson

    Thomas J. Stadterman

    HUNTSVILLE

    Willie L. Brazile

    Scott C. Dolloff

    David J. Hargett

    Michael R. Huettel

    Joshua S. Kennedy

    Peggy Corcoran Maxwell

    Cynthia D. McCrary

    Martin L. Sargent

    Ray K. Sellers Jr.

    Michael Robert Switzer

    WARREN

    Suzanne Archer

    Jennifer L. Beffrey

    Ronald J. Bokoch

    Teresa Gonda

    Christopher D. Miles

    Nancy L Saxon

    Cassandra C. Smith

    David W. Marck

    School of Choice

    The School of Choice announcement is open through May 7 to full-time career civilian Army Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Workforce members in grades GS-11 through -15 and equivalent pay bands within a demonstration project who have met their position certification requirements. The announcement, at http://usaascinfo.info/career-development/programs/school-of-choice, provides additional information and details on how to apply for this opportunity.

    Naval Postgraduate School Master of Science in Program Management

    The Naval Postgraduate School – Master of Science in Program Management announcement is open through June 17 to all eligible personnel in grades GS-11 through GS-15 or broadband/pay band equivalent who have met their current position certification requirement. For more information, visit http://usaascinfo.info/career-development/programs/naval-postgraduate-school-master-of-science-in-program-management/accmouncements/.

    Federal Executive Institute Leadership for a Democratic Society

    The Federal Executive Institute (FEI) Leadership for a Democratic Society announcement is open through June 13. Any interested GS-15s who have met their position certification requirement should read the announcement at http://usaascinfo.info/career-development/programs/federal-executive-institute-leadership-for-a-democractic-society/ for additional information and details on specific offerings and submission requirements. Starting this fiscal year, any applicant for FEI must have either completed the Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course or received equivalency or constructive credit before submitting an FEI application. Interested applicants should visit the website on CES course credit at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/chrtas/help/CES_Course_Credit/asp.

    Defense Acquisition University Training

    The FY13 DAU class schedule will be available for registration on May 17. Students are highly encouraged to plan and apply for DAU training as soon as the schedule opens. Applying early will afford them a better chance of obtaining a class in the timeframe requested. Students should encourage their supervisors to approve training requests as soon as they apply. Applications cannot be processed by the Army registrar office until the training has the supervisor’s approval. Please apply through the Army Training Requirements (ATRRS) and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrss.army.mil/channels/aitas. For more information on DAU training to include, systematic instructions, training priority definition and frequently asked questions, please see the link at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/default.cfm. After receiving a confirmed reservation in the requested class, students should ensure that they attend the class as scheduled.

    The timeframe for DAU course cancellations is 30 calendar days from the date the student receives a reservation. Cancellations for a confirmed reservation must be requested at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or by the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier. Cancellations submitted after that deadline must have general officer or Senior Executive Service member approval, per DA DAU Training Policy and Procedures signed Dec. 9, 2011, online at http://asc.army.mil/docs/programs/dau/DAU_Training_Policy_&_Procedures.pdf. Students placed on wait status should revisit their class wait(s) and cancel as necessary. If a student rolls into a reservation from a wait within 30 days from the class start date, the student will be held to the 30-calendar-day cancellation policy.

    USAASC has been working with the G-1, ATRRS to transfer DAU equivalent and fulfillment training data from the Acquisition Career Record Brief (ACRB) within CAMP/CAPPMIS into ATRRS and on the DAU transcript. The first batch file was successfully loaded on April 17. This process will recur on a weekly basis to upload new records posted to the ACRB. More than 7,000 training records were added to ATRRS. DAU provides a listing of equivalencies for all courses delivered by DAU and/or predecessor courses, which are considered acceptable toward meeting current acquisition career field certification requirements. To document equivalencies accepted by DAU that are obtained from non-Army schools, open a help desk ticket at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/index.cfm?fuseaction=support.helpRequest and ask that your ACRB be updated to reflect completion of DAU equivalent courses.

    DAU has successfully procured a commercial-off-the-shelf new Student Information System (SIS) to replace the current distinct DAU registration systems for the four services. PORTICO, the official name of this acquisition workforce initiative, is a Web-based system that integrates critical capabilities including career training management, schedule development, course registration, and Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act transcripts and reporting. PORTICO will interface with DAU and sister DoD systems, ATRRS, and CAMP/CAPPMIS. It will standardize functionality and capability for all services. For Army students, the system will completely replace the current AITAS student registration system at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. It will allow for a better user experience, and more transparency and up-to-date status information for students applying for DAU courses. Army workforce members will be able to authenticate using a DoD common access card. PORTICO is projected to be released in 2nd quarter 2013. For more information on PORTICO and the latest PORTICO newsletter, please visit http://www.dau.mil/sis.

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  • MICC Program Offers Acquisition Career Road Map

    Daniel P. Elkins

    The Acquisition Workforce Civilian Leadership Development Program takes a four-phase approach to ensure that all aspects of an employee’s career are considered, to maximize professional development. (U.S. Army illustration.)

    Officials at Fort Sam Houston, TX, have developed an Acquisition Workforce Civilian Leadership Development Program, offering contracting professionals a structured, detailed road map for career management.

    The program was created for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command (MICC) workforce, but officials from the U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) exploring a similar program recognized its value to the broader Army acquisition community. The program is scheduled to launch this spring.

    “The Army is committed to replenishing and growing our professional acquisition workforce through the enhancement of career development programs and training opportunities,” said BG Stephen Leisenring, then MICC Commanding General. “Professional development serves as a powerful tool in defending this Nation and provides the processes to acquire needed capabilities.”

    The overarching objective of the program is to build a cadre of acquisition workforce members using various tools and developmental opportunities with an eye to future leadership roles, said Wiley Cox, a Procurement Analyst with the MICC Acquisition Workforce Development and Training Branch. He said an assessment of the organization revealed a gap in aligning the workforce with professional development.

    “We realized there was a disconnect between individual aspirations and decision makers who can match individuals to opportunities,” said Cox, who drew on his previous Air Force experience as one of the architects of the MICC program. “The Acquisition Workforce Development and Training Team designed a program within the MICC that will develop our future leaders.”

    The program, fashioned after the Army Workforce Development Roadmap for the contracting and acquisition career programs, uses a four-phase approach, starting with establishing career development road maps.

    “Contracting career field members who elect to participate will now have the unprecedented ability to directly communicate their career aspirations to senior leaders, who will then provide a strategic perspective on individual career paths,” Cox said. “This new avenue of communication will serve to identify future leaders and also arm individuals with recommendations that allow them to maximize their growth potential.”

    Members who complete a road map should highlight functional competencies and significant business, professional, and leadership skills. Senior leaders then review the road maps, taking into consideration technical competencies, business acumen, leadership skills, and training and education accomplishments that they want to encourage at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

    We realized there was a disconnect between individual aspirations and decision makers who can match individuals to opportunities.”

    The second phase entails completion of a contracting career development plan, consisting of an employee’s present and past experience as well as short- and long-range goals, according to Lorraine Massie, MICC Contract Operations Division Chief. This step also includes an assessment and recommendation by an individual’s supervisor.

    Following completion of the road map and submission of a development plan, the third phase entails a review by the Acquisition Workforce Civilian Leadership Development Board, consisting of a panel of senior leaders who will analyze experiential and educational accomplishments as well as the immediate supervisor’s input using specific criteria and a structured feedback approach to ensure consistency. Cox said the board will provide a recommendation for at least one follow-on assignment, along with training and educational recommendations, in feedback that takes into account individual accomplishments, career goals, and attributes that may lead to continued professional growth and career progression.

    The final phase of the Acquisition Workforce Civilian Leadership Development Program is to match developmental opportunities to the employee based on recommendations by the board. This phase also serves as a tool for succession planning, Massie said. Managing the development program at MICC is the Acquisition Workforce Development and Training Team in the Contract Support Plans and Operations Directorate.

    Following the launch of the program, officials from the MICC and ACC will continue to work closely to ensure individuals in the non-acquisition workforce are also folded into the career and leadership development process in the near future.


    • DANIEL P. ELKINS is Deputy Director of Public Affairs for MICC. He has served more than 23 years in support of public affairs for the Army and the Air Force. Elkins holds a B.S. in communications from Louisiana Tech University and an M.A. in communications from St. Mary’s University.

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  • Careerist Awarded Certificate of Achievement

    On March 2, Kim D. Denver, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Procurement (DASA (P)), recognized Marilyn Shortle from U.S. Army Contracting Command – Aberdeen Proving Ground Belvoir Division with a Certificate of Achievement. Shortle successfully completed a six-month developmental assignment with the Office of the DASA(P) Policy and Oversight Directorate. During her assignment, she developed and implemented end user certificates, justifications and approvals, congressional notifications, and head of contracting appointment letters, which greatly enhanced many Army contracting best practices. Shortle is the second careerist selected for this program.

    The Contracting and Acquisition Career Program (CP-14) accomplishes its primary objective through the Developmental Assignment Program. This program provides competitive training assignments at the Office of the DASA(P), which improve individuals’ capabilities by giving them an opportunity to perform at the HQDA level and thus prepare careerists for future key leadership positions.

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  • Graduates Recognized, New Fellows Enrolled at CDG/AAF Capstone Event

    Mr. Craig Spisak, Director, U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center, addresses members of the Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellows (CDG/AAF) Program during the second day of the CDG/AAF Orientation, Induction, and Graduation event March 20-22.

    HUNTSVILLE, AL—Eight civilian members of the Army acquisition corps were introduced to the Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellowship (CDG/AAF) program during the CDG/AAF Orientation, Induction, and Graduation hosted by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) March 20-22. The event served as the capstone event for the 11 members graduating from the program, as well as orientation for the newest fellows.

    “I did not realize how reputable the program is and how many CDG graduates are in such high visible positions within the Army,” said Chenxi Dong-O’Malley, a Year Group 2012 (YG12) CDG/AAF fellow and assistant product manager for Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier.

    “The week exceeded my expectations. I learned so much about the CDG program that I truly believe that the possibilities for exceptional professional develop for the next three years is endless,” said Karen Short, also a YG12 CDG/AAF fellow and assistant product manager for PEO Missiles and Space.

    CDG/AAF is a three-year program that offers developmental assignments in PEOs, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) offices, U.S. Army Materiel Command Headquarters, and functional organizations. The program provides expanded training, leadership, experiential, and other career development opportunities.

    “I finished my MBA last year and realized I needed to continue to grow professionally and put myself in the best position possible for a promotion and future meaningful assignments. I think the CDG program can help me with this goal,” explained Short.

    “I felt that CDG/AAF was the vehicle for me to get exposure at a higher level and have the leadership training opportunities that I wouldn’t be able to have without the CDG fellowship,” said Dong-O’Malley.

    The three-day event opened with the orientation for YG12 members, covering basic administrative topics and expectations of the program. Mr. Craig Spisak, director of USAASC, opened the second day of the event, which was highlighted by a program management panel discussion. The final day of the event featured a Q&A panel consisting of previous members of the CDG/AAF program, remarks from BG Joseph L. Bass, commanding general of the Expeditionary Contracting Command, and a senior leader dialogue panel. A dinner reception was held the final evening, which included the official induction and graduation ceremony.

    The YG09 CDG/AAF graduates include:

    • Tamera A. Balch
    • Alvin Bing III
    • Jeffery D. Burgess
    • Danny W. Davis
    • Peter L. Degenaar
    • Gloria J. Hemphill
    • Jeffrey A. Hensley
    • Ryan S. Johnson
    • Darold V. McCloud
    • Phillip K. McDonald
    • Joel A. Price

    YG12 CDG/AAF inductees are as follows:

    • Aladrian Crowder
    • Chenxi Dong-O’Malley
    • Timothy Hoy
    • Adam Morse
    • Craig Riedel
    • Stephen Roberts
    • Karen Short
    • Matthew Whitworth

      • The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) supports Army Soldier readiness by developing a world-class professional acquisition workforce, effectively acquiring and stewarding resources and providing customers with the best possible products and services. For more information about USAASC, visit http://asc.army.mil.

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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner: January 2012

    Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program

    We are piloting the new Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program (ALCP), a 2½-day course focusing on developing better civilian leadership. FY12 offerings will be available for courses running from February through July. Contact your command Acquisition Career Management Advocate if you are interested in attending. The two levels of ALCP, with areas of focus, are:

    ALCP I (GS-12/13, O-3/O-4)

    • Personal leadership strengths and weaknesses.
    • Preferred leadership styles.
    • Modeling leadership challenges.
    • Using power to increase productivity.
    • Cultural traits that affect organizational performance.
    • Practical solutions to personnel issues.
    • Setting and achieving goals.

    ALCP II (GS-14/15, O-5/O-6)

    • Comprehensive look at personal leadership strengths, weaknesses, preferences, styles, and behaviors.
    • Leadership styles and their effects on individual and team performance.
    • Dynamics of conflict: sources, nature, and techniques to influence outcomes.
    • Improving group communication.
    • Collaborative teamwork.
    • Effective enterprise leadership.
    • Supports and barriers to success in the acquisition environment.
    • Setting goals and developing practical strategies to reach them.

    Training with Industry

    This is a 10-to-12-month rotational opportunity for Acquisition Officers (O-3 to O-5) to work side by side with industry. Current participating companies for Army acquisition in FY12 are: Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Coca-Cola Co., Cisco Systems Inc., EADS North America Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Computer Sciences Corp., Intel Corp., General Dynamics Corp., and Boeing Co.  For more information, please contact your assignment officer. Contact information is at https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/protect/branches/officer/FS/Acquisition/Acquistion_Contact__Information.htm.

    DAU Senior Service College Fellowship

    The 2012-13 Defense Acquisition University – Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF) announcement is open through March 15, 2012, to all eligible GS-14s and 15s who have met their current position certification requirements. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-senior-service-college/announcement/.

    Federal Executive Institute Announcement

    The Federal Executive Institute (FEI) Leadership for a Democratic Society announcement is open through June 13. Any interested GS-15s who have met their position certification requirement should read the announcement at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/federal-executive-institute-leadership-for-a-democratic-society/ for additional information and details on specific offerings and submission requirements. Starting this fiscal year, any applicant for FEI must have either completed the Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course or received equivalency or constructive credit before submitting an FEI application. Interested applicants should visit the website on CES course credit at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/chrtas/help/CES_Course_Credit.asp.

    School of Choice

    The School of Choice announcement will be open from March 12 through May 7 to full-time career civilian Army Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology workforce members in GS-11 through -15 and equivalent pay bands within a demonstration project  who have met their position certification requirements. The announcement at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/school-of-choice/ provides additional information and details on how to apply for this opportunity.

    Naval Postgraduate School – Master of Science in Program Management

    The Naval Postgraduate School – Master of Science in Program Management announcement will be open from March 19 through May 21 to all eligible personnel in GS-11 through GS-15 or broadband/pay band equivalent who have met their current position certification requirement. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/naval-postgraduate-school-master-of-science-in-program-management/announcements/.

    Defense Acquisition University Training

    • The FY13 Defense Acquisition University (DAU) class schedule will be available for registration beginning May 17. Students are encouraged to plan and apply early for DAU training. Applying early will improve their chances of getting the class in the timeframe requested. Please apply through the Army Training Requirements and Resources System (ATRRS) Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. For more information on DAU training, including step-by-step instructions, definition of training priorities, or frequently asked questions, please visit http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/default.cfm. Once you receive a confirmed reservation in the requested class, be sure you attend the class as planned.
    • The timeframe for DAU course cancellations is 30 calendar days from the date the student receives a reservation. Cancellations for a confirmed reservation must be received at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or by the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier. Cancellations submitted after that deadline must have general officer or Senior Executive Service member approval, per Department of the Army DAU Training Policy and Procedures signed Dec. 9, 2011, online at http://asc.army.mil/docs/programs/dau/DAU_Training_Policy_&_Procedures.pdf. Students placed on wait status should revisit the class wait(s) and cancel as necessary. If a student rolls into a reservation from a wait within 30 days of the class start date, the student will be held to the 30-calendar-day cancellation policy.
    • To address the shortfall in Level II contracting classes, six commercial vendors and four universities offer equivalent classes. The vendors continue to teach the FY11 Contracting courses in FY12, and the courses are valid predecessors to the new FY12 courses until Sept. 30, 2013. More information on equivalencies is at the DAU website http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx. If you are unable to obtain CON 280 or CON 290 during FY12 and would like to use Section 852 funds to pay for an equivalent provider, please request approval from your command to attend training. If approved for training by the command, the Section 852/Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund program manager for that command will request funding from the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Section 852 manager by submitting a Program Request Form for FY11, found at https://www.usaasc.info/section852_cms. The point of contact is Jack Kendall at john.f.kendall.civ@mail.mil.
    • On Dec. 12, 2011, DAU released CON 170E, Fundamentals of Cost and Price Analysis Equivalency Examination. CON 170E allows students to test out of taking the two-week resident CON 170 course. If a person does not meet the Deputy Director, Acquisition Career Management waiver requirements for CON 170, he or she has the option to fulfill CON 170 by passing the exam. Students opting to take the equivalent exam must receive a grade of at least 80 percent. Prerequisite CLC 058 (in the DAU Digital Library) is required for entry to take the exam. Students interested in taking the exam in lieu of attending the resident CON 170 portion may apply at ATRRS AITAS: https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. For more information on the CON 170E exam, the concept card has more information: http://icatalog.dau.mil/onlinecatalog/courses.aspx?crs_id=1898.
    • To address the shortfall in Level II business, cost, and financial management (BCFM) courses, the Army is placing only first-priority students into available BCFM classes. Level II courses are available on the FY12 schedule. DAU has expanded classroom size from 24 to 28-30 in 4th-quarter FY11 and all FY12 course offerings, specifically the following courses: BCF 203, BCF 205, BCF 206, BCF 211, and BCF 215. An additional 680 seats were added to the FY12 schedule in light of additional offerings and an increase in class size. The demand is due to a temporary surge of BCFM certification requirements, along with an increase in BCFM workforce members needing certification. The Army will continue to request that more seats be added to the FY12 schedule. For experienced BCFM personnel, fulfillment of the course is recommended. For more information, go to http://icatalog.dau.mil/DAUFulfillmentPgm.aspx.
    •  DAU has successfully procured a commercial-off-the-shelf new Student Information System to replace the current distinct DAU registration systems for the four services. The web-based system, named PORTICO, will interface with DAU and DoD systems, AITAS, and CAMP/CAPPMIS. Army workforce members will be able to authenticate using a DoD Common Access Card. PORTICO will standardize functionality and capability, allowing more transparency and up-to-date status information for students applying for DAU courses. The system is in the Business Requirements Review phase, with initial operating capability planned for January 2013. For more information, go to http://www.dau.mil/sis/default.aspx.

     

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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner: November 2011

    Defense Acquisition University offers various training and education programs for the AL&T Workforce. (DoD photo by Lapedra Tolson.)

    DAU Senior Service College Fellowship

    The 2012-13 Defense Acquisition University – Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF) announcement is open from Nov. 15 through March 15, 2012, to all eligible GS-14s and 15s who have met their current position certification requirements. The 2012-13 DAU-SSCF will be offered at Huntsville, AL, Warren, MI, and Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-senior-service-college/announcement/.

    Federal Executive Institute Announcement

    The Federal Executive Institute (FEI) Leadership for a Democratic Society announcement is open through June 13, 2012. Any interested GS-15s who have met their position certification requirement should read the announcement at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/federal-executive-institute-leadership-for-a-democratic-society/ for additional information and details on specific offerings and submission requirements. Starting this fiscal year, any applicant for FEI must have either completed the Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course or received equivalency or constructive credit before submitting an FEI application. Interested applicants should visit the website on CES course credit at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/chrtas/help/CES_Course_Credit.asp.

    Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program

    We are piloting the new Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program (ALCP), a 2 1/2-day course focusing on developing better civilian leadership. FY12 offerings will be available for courses running from January through July. An announcement will be sent out soon to command Acquisition Career Management Advocates to nominate appropriate personnel to participate. For more information, visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-leadership-challenge-program/. The two levels of ALCP, with areas of focus, are:

    ALCP I (GS-12/13, O-3/O-4)

    • Personal leadership strengths and weaknesses.
    • Preferred leadership styles.
    • Modeling leadership challenges.
    • Using power to increase productivity.
    • Cultural traits that affect organizational performance.
    • Practical solutions to personnel issues.
    • Setting and achieving goals.

    ALCP II (GS-14/15, O-5/O-6)

    • Comprehensive look at personal leadership strengths, weaknesses, preferences, styles, and behaviors.
    • Leadership styles and their effects on individual and team performance.
    • Dynamics of conflict: sources, nature, and techniques to influence outcomes.
    • Improving group communication.
    • Collaborative teamwork.
    • Effective enterprise leadership.
    • Supports and barriers to success in the acquisition environment.
    • Setting goals and developing practical strategies to reach them.

    Training with Industry

    This is a 10-to-12-month rotational opportunity for acquisition captains and majors to work side by side with industry. Current participating companies for Army acquisition in FY12 are: Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Coca-Cola Co., Cisco Systems Inc., EADS North America Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Computer Sciences Corp., Intel Corp., General Dynamics Corp., and Boeing Co. For more information, please contact your assignment officer. Contact information is at https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/protect/branches/officer/FS/Acquisition/Acquistion_Contact__Information.htm.

    Future Opportunities

    There are many educational and leadership opportunities available in the near term for acquisition civilian and military workforce members.  Our Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience Catalog provides in-depth information on all training and developmental opportunities. The catalog is available on the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center website at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-education-training-and-experience/. Eligible applicants may apply for all of our programs by using the Army Acquisition Professional Development System tab within the Career Acquisition Management Portal/Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAMP/CAPPMIS) at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp.

    Defense Acquisition University Highlights

    Students should continue to apply for Defense Acquisition University (DAU) training through the Army Training Requirements and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. Waiting times for Army seats and the status of pending applications can be viewed using AITAS.

    DAU’s online Learning Management System (LMS) came back online Sept. 19. The LMS is accessible only to Common Access Card (CAC) users. On Nov. 1, LMS reached full operational capability with a new security system hardened to allow login with a username and password. Students using this  functionality will be required to log in and update their passwords per DoD rules. The DAU Virtual Campus portal is at https://learn.dau.mil. For students who may continue to rely on CAC access, a password reset will be required.

    The backlog to enroll in classes has diminished; however, expect enrollments to be established 1 to 3 days from the date of successful course registration. DAU had identified issues with transactions errors between ATRRS and LMS, and 95 percent of those issues have been resolved. For the remaining 5 percent of reported problems that DAU cannot verify as fixed, DAU will remain in contact with the affected students and continue to investigate a solution. If you are experiencing issues accessing a previously enrolled course or have not received an enrollment notification from DAU to start the course, please contact the DAU Help Desk directly at dauhelp@dau.mil or DSN 655-3459 (choose Option 1).

    Because of an abundance of requests for help with new usernames and passwords, account activation, enrollments, and extensions, the DAU Help Desk is requesting patience. Each Help Desk ticket will be addressed in the order it was submitted. If you previously submitted a ticket, please do not send a duplicate one. DAU has applied an extension (until Dec. 30, 2011) to online course or module enrollments initiated during FY11. This action was taken to help reduce the impact of service interruptions to the LMS; it applies only to course or module enrollments before Oct. 1, 2011.

    The timeframe for DAU course cancellations has changed from 5 business days to 30 calendar days from the date the student receives a reservation. Cancellations for a confirmed reservation must be received at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or by the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier. Cancellations submitted after that deadline must have general officer or Senior Executive Service member approval, per Department of the Army DAU Training Policy and Procedures signed April 18, 2011. U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) students must cancel at least 45 calendar days before the start of the class. Please view AMC memo and DA DAU training policy and procedures at http://asc.army.mil/career/programs/dau/docs.cfm. Please send an email directly to AMC.CourseCancellations@us.army.mil (this is the correct email address, not the one addressed in the memo) for concurrence of a DAU course cancellation before submitting a cancellation request in AITAS.

    Effective Oct. 1, 2011, DAU implemented new certification standards for FY12 that apply to Army acquisition civilian and military professionals, at all three certification levels. The new standards include significant revisions to the training associated with Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act acquisition career field (ACF) certification. While most of the changes are in the contracting career field, there are also changes in four other fields: logistics; test and evaluation; business, cost estimating, and financial management; and systems planning, research, development, and engineering. A memorandum FY12 DAU Certification Standards – Army Implementation Plan, signed Oct. 5 by the Deputy Director, Acquisition Career Management, provides guidance on the new certification standards, in addition to relief for those who are not able to apply for FY11 certification standards because of the unavailability of DAU’s LMS. The memo and Frequently Asked Questions associated with it are online at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training/documents/.

    To address the shortfall in Level II contracting classes, six commercial vendors and four universities offer CON 280 and CON 290 equivalent classes. The vendors continue to teach the FY11 courses in FY12, and the courses are valid predecessors to the new FY12 courses until Sept. 30, 2013. More information on equivalencies is at the DAU website http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx. If you are unable to obtain CON 280 or CON 290 during FY12 and would like to use Section 852 funds to pay for an equivalent provider, please request approval from your command to attend training. If approved for training by the command, the Section 852/Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund program manager for that command will request funding from the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Section 852 manager by submitting a Program Request Form for FY11, found at https://www.usaasc.info/section852_cms. The point of contact is Jack Kendall at john.f.kendall.civ@mail.mil.

    To address the shortfall in Level II business, cost, and financial management (BCFM) courses, the Army is placing only first-priority students into available BCFM classes. Level II courses are available on the FY12 schedule. DAU has expanded classroom size from 24 to 28-30 for current FY11 and all FY12 course offerings, specifically the following courses: BCF 203, BCF 205, BCF 206, BCF 211, and BCF 215. An additional 680 seats were added to the FY12 schedule due to additional offerings and increase in class size. The demand is due to a temporary surge of BCFM certification requirements, along with an increase in BCFM workforce members needing certification. The Army will continue to request that more seats be added to the FY12 schedule. For experienced BCFM personnel, fulfillment of the course is recommended. For more information, go to http://icatalog.dau.mil/DAUFulfillmentPgm.aspx.

    DAU has successfully procured a commercial-off-the-shelf New Student Information System to replace the current distinct DAU registration systems for the four services. The web-based system, named PORTICO, will interface with DAU and DoD systems, AITAS, and CAMP/CAPPMIS. Army workforce members will be able to authenticate with a DoD CAC. PORTICO will standardize functionality and capability, allowing more transparency and up-to-date status information for students applying for DAU courses. The system is in the Business Requirements Review phase, with initial operating capability planned for August 2012 and full operating capability targeted for January 2013. For more information, go to http://www.dau.mil/sis/default.aspx.

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  • Briefing on Competitive Development Group Offered for DC Area Career Acquisition Employees

    FORT BELVOIR–Army acquisition employees in the national capital region are invited to learn about the Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellow (CDG/AAF) Program at a brown bag lunch on  Nov. 8 at building 213 from 1130-1300.

    “We will be discussing the CDG/AAF vision and mission, as well as program details, eligibility, benefits, fellowship opportunities, and what is required to complete it,” said Brian Cole, Acquisition Career Manager for the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC).

    “The brown bag lunch will be a briefing outlining the details of the program and explaining who qualifies for the program.  It will also give potential applicants the opportunity to ask questions and address any of their concerns,” added Chandra Evans-Mitchell, CDG/AAF Program Manager for USAASC.

    The CDG/AAF program is a three-year program managed by USAASC that offers developmental assignments in program executive offices, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA(AL&T)) offices, U.S. Army Materiel Command Headquarters, and functional organizations.

    “It is no cost to individuals or organizations and provides a flexible learning environment, mentoring, experience in Department of Army-level offices, leadership exposure, networking opportunity, accessibility to executive leadership education, and has personal and career growth potential,” Cole explained.

    “CDG/AAF members are offered training that might not otherwise be available to them. This training includes developmental assignments selected from the acquisition community representing various developmental experiential opportunities in program management offices, program executive offices, systems acquisition offices, as well as senior staff offices,” said Evans-Mitchell.

    Applicants to the CDG/AAF program must be current Army AL&T Workforce members; GS-12/13 or an equivalent converted Personnel Demonstration Project broadband/pay-band level (whose pay equals that of a GS-13, Step 1); and certified at Level III in any acquisition career field.

    Those interested in attending the brown bag lunch can contact Evans-Mitchell at (703) 805-1247 or email at chandra.evansmitchel@us.army.mil; or contact Cole at (703) 805-9430 or https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp/index.cfm?fuseaction=support.helpRequest.  The deadline for registration is Nov. 4.

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  • Acquisition Education and Training Corner: October 2011

    New Requirement for Federal Executive Institute and Defense Acquisition University – Senior Service College Fellowship

    Starting this fiscal year, any applicant for the Federal Executive Institute (FEI) or Defense Acquisition University – Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF) must have either completed the Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course or received equivalency or constructive credit before submitting an application. Applicants who apply for the 2011-12 DAU-SSCF program must have completed the CES Advanced course or an approved equivalent, or received constructive credit for it. Interested applicants should visit the Army Management Staff College website https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/chrtas/help/CES_Course_Credit.asp. The DAU-SSCF announcement is open Nov. 15 through March 15, 2012. The FEI announcement is being sent out to the applicable GS-15 workforce in late October.

    Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program

    The new Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program (ALCP), a 2.5-day course focusing on developing better civilian leadership, is currently in the pilot stage. FY12 offerings will be available for courses running from January through July. An announcement will be sent out in November. Eligible groups and program focus areas are as follows:

    ALCP I (GS-12/13, O-3/O-4)

    • Personal leadership strengths and weaknesses.
    • Preferred leadership styles.
    • Modeling leadership challenges.
    • Using power to increase productivity.
    • Cultural traits that affect organizational performance.
    • Practical solutions to personnel issues.
    • Setting and achieving goals.

    ALCP II (GS-14/15, O-5/O-6)

    • Comprehensive look at personal leadership strengths, weaknesses, preferences, styles, and behaviors.
    • Leadership styles’ effects on individual and team performance.
    • Dynamics of conflict—sources, nature, and techniques to influence outcomes.
    • Improving group communication.
    • Collaborative teamwork.
    • Effective enterprise leadership.
    • Supports and barriers to success in the acquisition environment.
    • Setting goals and developing practical strategies to reach them.

    Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellows Program

    The Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellows (CDG/AAF) Program is a three-year program that offers developmental assignments in program executive offices, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) offices, U.S. Army Materiel Command Headquarters, and functional organizations. In addition, the program provides expanded training, leadership, experiential, and other career development opportunities. Applicants must be current Department of the Army AL&T Workforce members; GS-12/13 or an equivalent converted Personnel Demonstration Project broadband/pay-band level (whose pay equals that of a GS-13, Step 1); and certified at Level III in any acquisition career field.

    This is a developmental leadership opportunity managed by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC). For administrative questions about this action, contact the CDG/AAF Program Manager Chandra Evans-Mitchell at 703-805-1247, DSN 655-1247, or chandra.l.evansmitchell.civ@mail.mil. The announcement is open until Nov. 30. Additional information is at http://asc.army.mil/docs/programs/cdg/YG12_Announcement.pdf.

    Training with Industry

    This is a rotational opportunity (for 10-12 months) for acquisition captains and majors to work side by side with industry. FY12 companies are: Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Coca-Cola Co., EADS North America Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Computer Sciences Corp., General Dynamics Corp., and Boeing Co. Officers interested in this program should contact their assignment officers. For more information, go to https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/protect/branches/officer/FS/Acquisition/Acquistion_Contact__Information.htm (login required).

    Future AETE Opportunities

    Many educational and leadership opportunities are available in the near term. The Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience Catalog, available at the USAASC website http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/acquisition-education-training-and-experience/, provides in-depth information on all training and developmental opportunities for acquisition civilian and military workforce members. Applicants may apply for any of the programs by using the Army Acquisition Professional Development System tab within the Career Acquisition Management Portal/Career Acquisition Personnel and Position Management Information System (CAMP/CAPPMIS) at https://rda.altess.army.mil/camp.

    Defense Acquisition University Training

    Registration is open for FY12 Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses. Students should apply through the Army Training Requirements and Resources Internet Training Application System (AITAS) at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas.

    The DAU Online Learning Management System (LMS) came back online Sept. 19. The LMS is accessible by CAC users only. By January, LMS will reach full capability with security-hardened username and password login. The DAU Virtual Campus website is at https://learn.dau.mil. DAU experienced two bottleneck areas after the LMS came back online because of an abundance of course enrollments. The backlog has since been depleted, and enrollments are available again in real time. DAU has identified an issue with transaction errors between the Army Training Requirements and Resources system (ATRRS) and LMS. The error is tied to unprocessed course registrations made between July 13 and Sept. 30 for the DAU/Federal Acquisition Institute Web and Continuous Learning Courses. Registration for courses made between the identified dates has been canceled; students were notified via email by ATRRS. If you fall in this category, please reapply to the course using AITAS at https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/aitas. If you are experiencing issues accessing a previously enrolled course or have not received an enrollment notification from DAU to start the course, please email the DAU help desk directly at dauhelp@dau.mil or call 866-568-6924 (toll-free), 703-805-3459, or DSN 655-3459 and choose Option 1.

    The timeframe for DAU course cancellations has changed from five business days to 30 calendar days from the date the student receives a reservation. Cancellations for a confirmed reservation must be received at least 30 calendar days before the class starts or by the reservation cutoff date, whichever is earlier. Cancellations submitted after that deadline must have general officer or Senior Executive Service member approval, per Department of the Army DAU Training Policy and Procedures signed April 18, 2011. U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) students must cancel at least 45 calendar days from the start of the class. The AMC memo and DA DAU training policy and procedures are at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training/documents. Please send an email directly to AMC.CourseCancellations@us.army.mil (this is the correct email address, not the one addressed in the memo) for concurrence of a DAU course cancellation before submitting a cancellation request in AITAS.

    Effective Oct. 1, DAU implemented new certification standards for FY12 that apply to Army acquisition civilian and military professionals at all three certification levels. The new standards include significant revisions to the training associated with Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act acquisition career field (ACF) certification. Not all ACFs have implemented changes in FY12, but the changes that have taken effect are significant. The memorandum, FY12 DAU Certification Standards – Army Implementation Plan, signed Oct. 5 by the Deputy Director, Acquisition Career Management, provides guidance on the new certification standards, in addition to relief provided to those who cannot apply for FY11 certification standards because of DAU LMS unavailability. To view the memo and FAQs associated with it, go to http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training/documents/.

    On March 25, the Director for Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy released a memorandum on “Upcoming Changes to the Contracting Curriculum in Fiscal Year 2012.” The changes affect the certification requirements for acquisition workforce members in contracting-coded positions. The changes and recommendations are at http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-training/fy12-new-contracting-changes/.

    To address the shortfall in Level II contracting classes, six commercial vendors and four universities offer CON 280 and CON 290 equivalent classes. The vendors will continue to teach the FY11 courses in FY12. The courses are valid predecessors to the new FY12 courses until Sept. 30, 2013. For more information on equivalencies, please visit the DAU website http://icatalog.dau.mil/appg.aspx. If you are unable to obtain CON 280 or CON 290 during FY12 and would like to use Section 852 funds to pay for an equivalent provider, please request approval from your command to attend training. If approved for training by the command, the Section 852/ Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund program manager for that command will request funding from the USAASC Section 852 manager by submitting a Program Request Form, found at https://www.usaasc.info/section852_cms. The point of contact is Chandra Evans-Mitchell at chandra.l.evansmitchell.civ@mail.mil.

    To address the shortfall in Level II business, cost, and financial management (BCFM) courses, the Army is placing only first-priority students into available BCFM classes. There is Level II course availability on the FY12 schedule. DAU has expanded classroom size from 24 to 28-30 for all FY12 course offerings, specifically in the following courses: BCF 203, BCF 205, BCF 206, BCF 211, and BCF 215. An additional 680 seats were added to the FY12 schedule because of additional offerings and increased class size. The demand is due to a temporary surge of BCFM certification requirements, along with an increase in the BCFM workforce that needs certification. For experienced BCFM personnel, fulfillment of the course is recommended. For more information, go to http://icatalog.dau.mil/DAUFulfillmentPgm.aspx.

    DAU has successfully procured a commercial-off-the-shelf new Student Information System to replace the current distinct DAU registration systems for the four services. The system, named PORTICO, is web-based and will interface with DAU and DOD systems, AITAS, and CAMP/CAPPMIS. Army workforce members will be able to authenticate via a DOD CAC. PORTICO will standardize functionality and capability for all services. It will allow more transparency and up-to-date status information for students applying for DAU courses. The system is in the Business Requirements Review phase, with initial operating capability planned for July 2012 and full operating capability targeted for January 2013. For more information, go to http://www.dau.mil/sis/default.aspx.

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  • Acquisition Career Counselors Kept Busy at AUSA Annual Meeting

    WASHINGTON, DC—Hundreds of military and civilian acquisition workforce personnel received career counseling and advice at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) booth at the 2011 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition Oct. 10-12 in Washington, D.C.  Career counselors answered questions covering a wide spectrum of topics, from entering the acquisition workforce to improving the chances of commanding.

    Yves Jackson, USAASC Acquisition Career Manager, offered career advice at the USAASC booth during the 2011 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition. (Photo by McArthur Newell, BRTRC/USAASC.)

    “We are covering the gambit,” said LTC David Hosna, Chief, Acquisition Management Branch and Human Resources Command, Fort Knox, Ky.  “By the end of the expo, we will have personally interviewed around 120 officers, which is phenomenal.”

    The civilian counselors were also meeting with several workforce members.

    “I’m thinking we’ve seen probably 40 or 50 people.  Today [October 12] has been about 15 or more,” said Yves Jackson, Acquisition Career Manager for USAASC.

    In addition to offering the advice to current members of the Army Acquisition Corps (AAC), counselors had the opportunity to speak to those outside of the acquisition workforce interested in joining.

    “I brought assignment officers from the Majors, Lieutenant Colonel, and Colonel assignment desks to ensure that we have 100 percent coverage, given that we know how many people are here at AUSA.  We wanted to maximize this as a target of opportunity,” said Hosna.

    Hosna advised those interested in joining the acquisition career field to regularly read the Military Personnel Messages, which are quarterly messages providing the most up-to-date information to the military community.  Personnel interested in transferring to the acquisition corps should also become familiar with the Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program, which is the Army’s primary branch transfer mechanism.

    For those who were not able to attend the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition and want career counseling and advice, both the military and civilian counselors are available at any time.

    “We have a very aggressive travel and engagement plans within the regions that assignment officers cover.  If any officer was unable to be here at AUSA, we will be throughout the regions doing a branch brief and then interviewing the officers.  And they are always available for one-on-one counseling and mentorship by the phone,” said Hosna.

    “We offer page on the website called ‘Ask an ACM.’ So, at any time at any point when they have questions that they need to ask, they can go there and we will answer them or email them back.  We also have a help desk phone line that they can call for the same reason,” said Jackson.

    The acquisition workforce management points of contact, including the “Ask an ACM” information, can be found at USAASC’s website at http://asc.army.mil/web/contact/poc/acquisition-workforce-management-pocs/.


      • USAASC supports Army warfighter readiness by developing a world-class professional acquisition workforce, effectively acquiring and stewarding resources and providing customers with the best possible products and services. For more information about USAASC, visit http://asc.army.mil.

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  • DACM Corner: Selecting, Mentoring, and Developing Interns

    As I look around at my fellow professionals in the Army acquisition, logistics, and technology (AL&T) community, I see a dedicated, seasoned workforce—and I wonder, who will take the place of these experienced professionals when they decide to retire?

    This is something that leadership throughout AL&T should be thinking about: Where do we find the best and the brightest young people to bring into government service, and how do we help them develop into future AL&T leaders? Fortunately, we have some very successful internship programs to guide us.

    Nealie Page, an operations research analyst intern attending PEO STRI’s Acquisition Academy, jumped from the 34-foot tower at Fort Benning’s Airborne School Sept. 8. She, along with the other interns from the Academy, had the opportunity to jump from the famed tower as part of their “day in the life of a U.S. Soldier” experience, a professional development opportunity for the new federal government interns at PEO STRI. (Photos by PEO STRI/Thomas Kehr.)

    Experience has shown us that, despite the advantages that private industry may have over government in hiring, many talented college graduates want careers in which they can serve their country. We can harness that talent and commitment without necessarily having to pay the higher salaries that industry may offer. A number of intern programs across the AL&T Workforce have succeeded in doing just that.

    ‘Hire for Life’

    The key, program leaders say, is to make the interns feel like part of the AL&T Workforce from the start, or as I like to call it, “hire for life.” Several organizations have created a boot camp program that builds a bond between the intern and Soldier to serve just that purpose.

    The Program Executive Office Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) has seen firsthand the value of this team ethic. PEO STRI’s Acquisition Academy, now in its fifth year, is a highly competitive program with a 96 percent retention rate that needs no advertising, apart from the required posting of new openings.

    For the Academy course that began in July, PEO STRI received almost 1,700 applicants for a dozen openings. The candidates are screened through online testing and interviews with senior personnel. The competition allows PEO STRI to take only the brightest candidates, the self-starters, and then introduce them to the AL&T Workforce.

    Sarah Weston, a systems engineering intern attending PEO STRI’s Acquisition Academy, had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity Sept. 8 to jump out of a plane with the Fort Benning’s Silver Wings precision parachute team.

    Every candidate has a bachelor’s degree, and many have master’s degrees. While some have prior military service, they all share an appreciation for Army values and a desire to be part of a team with the critical mission of serving the warfighter.

    But bringing good interns onboard is only the first step. Helping them map and meet their career goals should be the next major focus. This means establishing Individual Development Plans (IDPs) and then providing each intern with a variety of challenging assignments and continuous learning opportunities.

    Of course, this systematic training, mentorship, and follow-up take time out of already hectic schedules. But it is time well spent. If we want our young professionals to be all that they can be, we have to put some sweat equity into it. We must serve as mentors and advisors and guide these young individuals who are so eager to learn and contribute.

    Structure Leads to Success

    A successful internship program is very structured in this regard. PEO STRI’s Acquisition Academy, for instance, starts with 11 weeks of classroom training by senior personnel. It serves as the intern’s introduction to how the Army is structured and how the Acquisition Corps is organized. It also introduces the Defense Acquisition University courses that are needed to develop an understanding of their field, be it contracting, engineering, or some other specialty.

    By far, one of the most rewarding aspects of the interns’ experience is working directly with Soldiers who use the equipment that their organization provides. Acquisition Academy interns, for example, have the opportunity to visit Fort Benning, GA, during Tower Week, a U.S. Army Airborne School event that validates jumpers’ individual skill training in properly and safely exiting an aircraft. The interns can jump from the 34-foot tower, and some even jump in tandem with the Silver Wings precision para­chute team. They also see how Soldiers use the Close Combat Tactical Trainer and the Digital Multi-Purpose Range Complex that PEO STRI procures.

    Shi Deng, a budget analyst intern attending PEO STRI’s Acquisition Academy, had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity Sept. 8 to jump out of a plane with the Fort Benning’s Silver Wings precision parachute team.

    PEO STRI’s interns are in two- to three-year programs from which they become journeymen. Though not every intern training program needs to be this comprehensive, the driving elements remain the same: Army Team values, senior-level involvement, individual attention to include an IDP, challenging work, and regular follow-up. The goal is mission success, and everyone has a role in that accomplishment.

    Top-Level Attention

    The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command’s (CECOM) Command-Sponsored Intern Orientation Program has taken a slightly different approach, starting with 3½ days devoted to educating new interns on the CECOM mission; the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Materiel Enterprise team; and military protocol and traditions.

    The CECOM Commanding General (CG), or another senior leader in the CG’s absence, addresses incoming interns on the role they will play in the Army’s mission and support of the warfighter. Since interns are typically new to the Army, the orientation program addresses topics such as the Army’s rank structure; financial planning information; work personality assessment and team building; use of C4ISR Materiel Enterprise collaboration tools; unique characteristics of the enterprise’s diverse, multigenerational environment; the culture of communication and cooperation in the workplace; personal accountability; and juggling work and life priorities.

    One of the CG’s top priorities, Human Capital, includes the development of a workforce that is forward-thinking and conscious of the impact they have in the field. This effort has multiple elements, including:

    • Specialized training courses for interns to complement their respective career programs. For example, interns have the opportunity to sharpen their communications skills to include business writing, oral presentation and organization skills, and how to deal with and resolve conflicts in the workplace.
    • Intern Professional Development Day, an annual event that provides interns the opportunity to interact with senior leaders and each other.
    • Greening, which consists of a variety of activities set up to provide insights into the CECOM and C4ISR Materiel Enterprise mission and the life of a Soldier.

    Getting Started

    So where does the money come from to pay for a successful intern recruitment and development program? As you know, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order in December (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/12/27/executive-order-recruiting-and-hiring-students-and-recent-graduates), ending the Federal Career Intern Program as of March 1, 2011, and establishing the Internship Program and the Recent Graduates Program. Along with the Presidential Management Fellows Program, those initiatives are collectively called the Pathways Programs.

    Additionally, section 852 funding, named after Section 852 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, can help pay for some intern costs; see http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/852-program for more details.

    As you look around at what you can do to bring in and retain young talent, I hope you’ll find the special ingredients that will make your organization an attractive, fun, and rewarding place to work. Your efforts will pay off for the entire Army, and especially our warfighters.

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