• Faces of the Force

    Template for Faces of the Force

    Tracking Career Development

     

    By Susan L. Follett

     

    FOTF: What do you do for the Army? Why is it important?

    FOSTER: I am part of the Acquisition Career Development Division, which has a mission to serve as advocates for the Army Acquisition Workforce on behalf of the Director/Deputy Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM/DDACM). Specifically, I am the Proponency Officer for Contracting, one of 14 acquisition career fields. I am responsible for writing and updating Army acquisition workforce policies and procedures. I also serve as the DACM/DDACM office principal advisor on all matters related to the Contracting Acquisition workforce. As of Dec. 31, 2012, our acquisition workforce includes roughly 8,800 contracting professionals, and I make sure that they have received the training required for certification under the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA).

    I also support the Functional Area 51C Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Reclassification Board, providing an Order of Merit List to select best-qualified candidates to serve as Contracting Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs). Our efforts are important because they ensure we have qualified contracting personnel here and in theater so our Soldiers have access to the equipment they need for mission success.

    FOTF Editor’s Note: MOS 51C classification is an acquisition, logistics, and technology designation for contracting NCOs. It was established in 2006 to meet the Army’s increasing need for contingency contracting officers in the modular force. The primary mission for MOS 51C NCOs is to deploy as contingency contracting officers and serve as members of the early entry contingency contracting team.

    FOTF: What’s your biggest challenge? How is it overcome?

    FOSTER: One of my responsibilities is to represent the Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) at Contracting Functional Integrated Product Team (FIPT) meetings, which are held quarterly, and to advise Contracting Functional Leaders on career field competencies, DAWIA requirements, and workforce development. Senior functional leaders designated by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology lead these FIPTs and discuss a variety of topics affecting the workforce. An example of a discussion topic might be whether to add classes to a certification requirement. Service and 4th Estate Agency DACM representatives as well as functional leaders attend the FIPTs as subject matter experts. My role is to ensure the Army DACM’s viewpoint is represented during these discussions.

    The biggest hurdle I face is making sure that I accurately represent the DACM’s point of view at FIPT meetings. It’s my job to ensure that all defense acquisition workforce initiatives and proponency issues are properly vetted, communicated, and addressed with our stakeholders and accurately communicated during the FIPT meetings. To ensure that happens, we hold weekly meetings within our organization to share information and discuss issues, and we closely follow DOD regulations to be sure we are up to speed on issues that affect our mission.

    FOTF: What do you enjoy most about your work?

    FOSTER: I really enjoy the opportunity to help Soldiers reclassify to MOS 51C. This is a very competitive field. The work is challenging and the promotion potential is good. To reclassify, NCOs need to meet a rigorous list of requirements, and to see that work pay off for them is very gratifying.

    FOTF: What do you do when you’re not at work? How do those activities dovetail with your job?

    FOSTER: I coach a junior varsity girls’ basketball team, and so far, we’re having a great season. Our record is 15-7. Both work and coaching involve a great deal of mentorship, and I really enjoy that aspect of it. On the court, I spend a lot of time mentoring my players, and at work we try to encourage Soldiers and civilians to get the most out of a career in Army acquisition.

    FOTF: Why did you join the Army? What is your greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army?

    FOSTER: I became an Army Civilian because I wanted to contribute to the well-being of Soldiers. My greatest satisfaction in being part of the Army is the opportunity to impact the lives of others in a positive way.

    51C applications are being accepted throughout the year. For more information, please visit http://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/military-nco/active-component-reclass-program/.
     


    • “Faces of the Force” is an online feature highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce. Produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication Division, and working closely with public affairs officers, Soldiers and Civilians currently serving in a variety of AL&T disciplines are featured every other week. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.

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