Acquisition Corps FA 51 officers are centrally managed by the Acquisition Management Branch within the Force Sustainment Division, Officer Personnel Management Directorate, Human Resources Command (HRC). The Acquisition Management Branch provides U.S. Army Reserve career and assignments management. Army Reserve FA 51 officers are centrally managed by the Acquisition Management Branch at HRC, regardless of basic branch affiliation.
Army National Guard Career and Assignments Management. Army National Guard Title 10 FA 51 officers are managed by the Army National Guard Human Capital Management Office and the Army National Guard Acquisition Career Management Office. Title 32 officers are managed by state adjutants general.
Officer development model. The foundation of FA 51 officer professional development is the experience, education and training required to obtain Defense Acquisition Workforce Initiative Act (DAWIA) certification for the assigned certified acquisition position. All acquisition officers can expect to have ample opportunities to serve in diverse assignments and receive the training required to attain DAWIA certification. Professional military schooling, acquisition-unique training and experience as well as a strong performance over time help officers to be competitive for subsequent positions with increasing responsibilities and challenges.
Policy And law on Acquisition Career Field Certification. Officers are required to obtain a professional certification in accordance with the DAWIA, Public Law 101–510, 10 USC Chapter 87 and other DOD directives and instructions. Certification levels are assigned to each acquisition position: Level I, captain; Level II, major; Level III, lieutenant colonel or colonel. The different levels of certification build upon acquisition skills and competencies gained at each level, including education, training and experience against established criteria. Certification levels are reflected on the officer’s official DA Form 4037. Information on current certification requirements can be found in the DAU catalog at http:// icatalog.dau.edu.
Steps to Certification
The Officer Records Brief (ORB) is an automated, authenticated record of your education, training, and acquisition assignment history. Many of the fields in the ORB 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 ORB can be accessed from CAPPMIS. Select CAPPMIS on the navigation bar, and then select the ORB tab. CAPPMIS is an integrated set of tools to help serve and manage your acquisition career. It provides access to theERB or ORB, Individual Development Plan (IDP) and the ATRRS Internet Training Application System (AITAS). All three are important to you as an acquisition workforce member.
The DefenseAcquisition 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 DAU icatalog (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).
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. 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. TED IDP entries will then flow immediately into CAPPMIS.
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 are 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 CAPPMIS, 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
After your IDP is approved by your supervisor, you may apply for DAU courses at ATRRS. 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.
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. 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. Please see the Acquisition Workforce Strategy Map for a detailed DAWIA certification roadmap.
Once you are certified…
At the time of accession, commissioned officers are designated as FA 51 officers and become acquisition workforce candidates. Only officers at the grade of major or above who meet all of the following requirements may be considered for Acquisition Corps membership: 24 semesters of business credit; at least 4 years of experience in an acquisition position in DOD; and DAWIA Level II certification in at least one area of concentration.
The Army Acquisition Executive designates critical acquisition positions based on the criticality of the position to the acquisition program, effort or function supported. All military acquisition positions in the grade of lieutenant colonel and higher are designated as critical acquisition positions, and officers assigned to such positions must be Army Acquisition Corps members upon entering the position. With the exception of key leadership positions, officers must be Level III certified in the acquisition career field designated for the position within 24 months of assignment or possess an approved waiver. In addition, CAPs are assigned the position code of “Z,” which indicates that the position can be filled by acquisition officers with either a predominantly program management (Area of Concentration A) or contracting (Area of Concentration C) background at the grade of lieutenant colonel and above. The statutory tenure for all critical acquisition positions is three years; however, project managers of Acquisition Category I programs will have a four-year tenure.
A Headquarters, Department of the Army board centrally selects a limited number of high-performing officers and civilians for CSL key billets. The CSL process identifies the most critical organizations that require centrally selected leaders to meet their leadership and management needs. This process selects the best-qualified officers, with the right skills and experiences, to lead Army professionals, prepare for the full spectrum of military operations and manage the Army’s resources. The Army’s Centralized Command/Key Billet Selection System designates all the Army’s CSL positions into one of two categories: CSL Command or CSL Key Billet. All Army Acquisition Corps CSL positions are designated as Key Billets and include project manager, product manager, contracting brigade commander, contracting battalion commander and acquisition director (both at the colonel and lieutenant colonel level).
Operational assignments provide an officer the opportunity to use, hone and build on what they learned through the formal education process as well as experience gained through on-the-job training. Operational assignments develop the officer’s core competencies and are directly related to the officer’s acquisition career field. Operational assignments normally exist at the tactical and operational levels. There are two types of operational assignments:
A Key Developmental (KD) Position is one that is deemed fundamental to the development of an officer’s primary AOC competencies or deemed critical by the senior Army acquisition leadership to provide experience across the Army’s core acquisition mission. Officers should expect to serve in only one KD assignment for 18-24 months. A small percentage of officers will either serve longer than 24 months within their KD assignment or serve in two KD assignments The KD assignments are:
(a) Assistant Program Manager
(b) Contracting Team Leader (Faces of the Force: Maj. Tom Cayia)
(c) Contract Management Officer
Centralized Selection List – Key Billet (CSL-KB) is a duty assignment at the lieutenant colonel or colonel rank (or civilian equivalent) requiring specific, highly developed skills and experience, and is deemed so critical to a unit’s mission that an individual is selected for assignment by Headquarters, Department of the Army. Officers selected for CSL-KB must complete all prescribed pre-command courses and complete CSL position statutory requirements. Examples of CSL-KB assignments are:
(a) Product or Project Manager
(b) Contracting Battalion or Brigade Commander
(c) Acquisition Director
Broadening Assignments develop an officer’s capability to see, work, learn and contribute outside one’s own perspective or individual level of understanding for the betterment of both the individual officer and the institution. Broadening opportunities may vary in scope, responsibility and developmental outcomes, and typically fall in one of four major categories: Functional/Institutional; Academia and Civilian Enterprise; Joint or Multinational; and Interagency or Intergovernmental. There are also nominative positions within the broadening domain that will be filled through the applicable nomination process. Broadening opportunities provide exposure to experiences inside and outside of Army organizations, characterized by different organizational cultures and practices. Broadening opportunities can be found within many organizations to include but not limited to: Headquarters, Department of the Army; Office of the Secretary of Defense; Joint Staff; program executive offices; Army Test and Evaluation Command; Army Materiel Command; Army Training and Doctrine Command; defense agencies, Army Corps of Engineers; special mission units; and service in a cross-component billet. Acquisition broadening assignments can be categorized as:
High-Value Position (HVP) deemed as highly mission critical and require an officer who has successfully completed their O6 CSL. Examples of HVP positions include but are not limited to:
(a) Military Assistant to the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
(b) Military Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Army
(c) Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT))
(d) Chief of Staff for a Program Executive Officer
(e) Chief of Staff for the Army Contracting Command
(f) Executive Officer to ASA(ALT) Principal Official
Functional Broadening is an assignment that provides a developmental opportunity directly related to an officer’s primary area of concentration. Examples include but are not limited to:
(a) Test and Evaluation Officer
(b) Science and Technology Advisor
(c) Assistant TRADOC Capabilities Manager
(d) Acquisition Officer
(e) Brigade Contract Management Officer
(f) Expeditionary Contracting Command or Army Contracting Command Staff Officer
(g) Research and Development Contracting Officer
(h) Experimental Test Pilot
(i) Worldwide Individual Augmentation Tasking
(j) Assistant or Service Portfolio Manager
Institutional Broadening: an assignment that provides a developmental opportunity that may or may not directly relate to an officer’s area of concentration but increases the officer’s understanding of how the Army operates as an institution. Examples include but are not limited to:
(a) Department of the Army Systems Coordinator
(b) ASA(ALT) Action Officer
(c) Action Officer for HQDA G-Staff
(d) Liaison Officer for the Office of the Chief of Legislative Affairs
(e) Investigation Officer for the Office of the Inspector General
Academia And Civilian Enterprise: An assignment with industry or within a community of students, scholars and instructors at institutes of higher learning where an officer can gain new perspectives as well as knowledge, skills and abilities not generally obtained from organic experiences, training or education. Examples include Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS) and Training with Industry (TWI). All FA 51 officers may apply for the opportunity to participate in the ACS or TWI programs. Selection is contingent upon the needs of the Army, the officers’ promotion potential, their potential for academic success, and their career timeline.
Joint or multinational Broadening: An assignment with a significant interaction with other services, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), defense agencies or partner nation military organizations at the operational and strategic level. Examples include but are not limited to assignments at:
(a) OSD or Joint Staff
(b) Defense Contract Management Agency
c) Missile Defense Agency
(d) Defense Logistics Agency
(e) Defense Information Systems Agency
(f) National Reconnaissance Office
(g) Unified combatant commands
An assignment or experience at U.S government agencies outside DOD, or with partner nation governmental agencies. Examples are assignments at the Office of Defense Cooperation, NATO and the Office of the Program Manager, Saudi Arabian National Guard.
Professional and Self Development
The Joint Qualification System acknowledges designated joint billets as well as experience-based joint duty assignments in contributing to the development of joint qualified officers. These assignments, along with the necessary Joint Professional Military Education, culminate with an officer being identified as a fully Joint Qualified Officer and the receipt of the 3L Skill Identifier. Additional information can be found in DODI 1300.19 or by asking your assignments officer.
Mentorship is a powerful tool that can help build competence, leadership skills, self-awareness and morale. FA 51 officers are strongly encouraged to pursue mentorship opportunities at all levels. Senior acquisition officers should actively serve as mentors to junior acquisition officers, to offer their perspective on what it takes to succeed in the Army Acquisition Corps and pass on their knowledge and experience. It is be critical for key leaders to support mentoring efforts publicly. Military leaders must take care to avoid micromanaging mentors and requiring participation in formal mentoring programs. When developing formal mentoring programs, planners should consider vetting mentors and deliberately select those with demonstrated efficacy in other interpersonal relationships. Some of these key interpersonal skills are communication ability, empathy, listening and emotional intelligence. These skills will help to ensure greater success in the mentor role. Supervising and mentoring junior leaders is an integral component of an effective professional development program, while on-the-job experience will fulfill some of the requisites for acquiring tactical and technical proficiency. Leaders must establish a sound process for subordinate development that furnishes the guidelines and establishes the parameters for arming and infusing our subordinates with honed leadership capabilities. Using this knowledge, junior officers as mentees can advance their confidence, skills and capabilities, and grow as leaders.
All officers are encouraged to complete the following education during their time as captains or majors:
(1) The goal is that all officers will have an acquisition relevant master’s degree before entering the Acquisition Corps or will participate in the Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS) program to attain an advanced degree.
(2) All acquisition officers en route to their first acquisition assignment will meet the training requirements needed for their next assignment. This curriculum is offered at two institutions: The Army Acquisition Professional Course, a 9-week course at the Army Acquisition Center of Excellence in Huntsville, Alabama; and at the Naval Postgraduate School’s 522 Program in Monterey, California. Officers must apply for these programs and should read the current military personnel message for guidance.
(3) Upon completion of training, newly trained captains and majors will be assigned to a position designed to develop their functional understanding in either program management or contracting. FA 51 officers with a primary AOC of program management can expect their first assignment to be an assistant program manager (APM) within an Army program executive office. Experimental test pilots will complete their APM assignment after their first assignment. Army National Guard officers with a primary AOC of program management can expect their first assignment to be an assistant portfolio manager or an assistant program manager. Here, officers must be groomed to receive a range experience to cover vital aspects of program management. FA 51 officers with a primary AOC of contracting can expect their first assignment to be as a contract management officer or team leader within a contracting team for at least 24 months. This will serve as their key developmental assignment. Upon completion of the team assignment, FA 51 officers with a primary AOC of contracting will either be assigned to a broadening assignment or a second contracting team position based on the needs of the Army.
(4) To be competitive for promotion to lieutenant colonel, officers should achieve Military Education Level 4, which for most officers includes satellite Intermediate Level Education and the acquisition Intermediate Qualification Course at the Army Acquisition Center of Excellence. More information can be found at: https://asc.army.mil.
(5) Careful planning and attention to an individual’s qualifications and expertise are essential in facilitating an officer’s growth to a high level of technical proficiency. Officers in the program management AOC should pay close attention to gaining the necessary experience in not only program management skills, but also science and technology, test and evaluation and contracting. A key developmental assignment with multiple broadening opportunities in a single area of concentration best achieves this goal and facilitates Level III certification before promotion to lieutenant colonel.
The career development goal for a lieutenant colonel is to leverage acquired acquisition skills in CSL and other critical acquisition positions. Selection to a CSL position represents the pinnacle of service at the lieutenant colonel level, and successful performance in a CSL position serves as an indicator of potential for promotion to colonel and selection to attend SSC. Officers who do not serve in a CSL position will continue to serve an essential role in the success of the Acquisition Corps by providing leadership in critical acquisition position billets. All lieutenant colonels should progressively seek challenging CSL and non-CSL positions, including product manager, contracting battalion commander, acquisition director, product director, Joint and HQDA staff positions, and other key positions. FA 51 officers compete for Senior Service College (SSC) (Military Education Level 1) along with other branches and functional areas. SSC is the highest military educational program available to prepare officers for the positions of greatest responsibility in the DOD.
The career development goal for a colonel is to serve in a FA 51 CSL Key Billet as project manager, contracting support brigade commander or acquisition director with the objective of developing the knowledge, skills and abilities to influence acquisition outcomes at the strategic level. Colonels successfully completing a CSL assignment are assigned to senior leadership positions with significant and strategic importance to the future of the Army and DOD.
The Defense Acquisition University created a Credentialing Program that provides Defense Acquisition Workforce professionals with an opportunity to develop their skills through professional learning experiences, course work, and the direct application of knowledge to a specific skillset.
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