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Commissioned officers make up the Army Acquisition Corps and can also serve in the Army Acquisition Workforce. In this role, officers strive to meet the needs of the Soldier throughout the full spectrum of operations by incorporating technical solutions to respond to the rapidly evolving threat environment. Officers ensure the delivery of quality capabilities, providing the right product or service to the right place, at the right time to ensure the Army is equipped for the 21st century. Officers work with joint and international partners as well as those in industry and academia, to develop, acquire, deliver, sustain and safely dispose of weapons systems and provide contracting services to Soldiers in all military operations. They work closely with these partners to continually improve Army capabilities and ensure their interoperability. The final responsibility is to the American public: The Army Acquisition Corps must be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars and work to continuously achieve the highest levels of effectiveness and efficiency in business decisions while maintaining strict adherence to acquisition ethics policies, regulations and laws.

Military Eligible Acquisition Career Field Military Specialties

The Army Acquisition Workforce is composed of approximately 40,000 civilian and military professionals who support the various phases of the acquisition life cycle. Below is a representation of what acquisition career fields the military are eligible for.

Image - 40k Army Acquisition Workforce, 95% civilian and 5% military
Image - 88% of the Army acquisition workforce has earned a higher level degree
Image - Army Acquisition Workforce career field composition

Program Management (FA 51A)

Program Management assignments focus on the management of materiel systems or services across all phases of life cycle management. The life cycle includes planning and refining the initial requirements; development and maturation of technology through a disciplined engineering process; producing and deploying a materiel capability; supporting a fielded capability in the operational force; and disposal. A system may include but is not limited to weapon systems, individual equipment, aircraft and vehicle platforms, information technology (IT), and command and control capabilities. A service may include but is not limited to portfolios related to installation, knowledge management, medicine and logistics. FA 51 officers assigned to Area of Concentration (AOC) A positions may perform work related to program management; IT; test and evaluation; systems planning; research, development and engineering; and science and technology management. AOC A responsibilities include the government’s management of program cost, schedule, performance, risk, test and evaluation. Other AOC A responsibilities include managing supply chains and science and technology projects. Officers coordinate with warfighters and TRADOC capability managers (the warfighter’s representative) to assist in determining requirements. Throughout the life cycle, AOC A officers manage the efforts of the government and our industry partners. A position normally includes assignments in a program executive office, the government organization responsible for managing Army systems. Other AOC A positions include test and evaluation activities with the task of ensuring materiel and technology-based solutions adequately address operational effectiveness, suitability and safety criteria. Management of IT programs are unique in their cost, schedule and performance due to rapid changes in science and technology. Program management of IT-based solutions often involves knowledge management of the collaboration between laboratories, academia and Soldiers. Those acquisition officers assigned to a program management position are required to earn and maintain DAWIA certification standards specific to that acquisition career field. The certification standards are in the DAU catalog.

Contracting (FA 51C)

Contracting assignments focus on officers leading teams that enable the Army Contracting Command to provide contracting support worldwide to expeditionary operations throughout the entire spectrum of military operations. These officers lead contracting teams, contracting efforts for installations, military construction and weapon systems procurement. They execute contract awards and contract administration, and provide industrial management and oversight at contractor facilities worldwide. Officers coordinate the appropriate contracting action with the supported warfighter or program manager to address requiring activity needs. These officers are responsible for making determinations on contract awards and supporting the development of acquisition plans and instructions. Assignments with a contracting focus may include contracting support to the warfighter; assisting contract support planning at all levels of Army operations; and systems and service contracting in major purchasing commands. Other contracting positions are located within Army Corps of Engineers, the Defense Contract Management Agency and the Defense Logistics Agency. Duties may include determining best contract types and agreements; negotiating contract terms and conditions; obligating funds; awarding contracts; leading post-award actions; monitoring performance and production; providing contract surveillance; performing risk analysis; and advising warfighters, program managers and industry.

An acquisition officer assigned to a Contracting position is required to earn and maintain DAWIA certification standards specific to that acquisition career field.

51XP Test and Evaluation

Limited to Test Pilots only.

Pilots and Leaders interested in the Experimental Test Pilot Program should review the supporting recruiting brief for information about the available opportunities. Selected personnel will test new and emerging technologies designed to enhance warfighting capability, ensuring that the Army maintains the leading edge of that capability over its enemies around the world. For more details on the program, contact the Acquisition Management Branch.

An acquisition officer assigned to a Test Pilot position is required to earn and maintain DAWIA certification standards specific to that acquisition career field.


Limited to Test Pilots only.

Active Component Officer Accession Process

Human Resources Command (HRC) executes two primary methods of accession into the Army Acquisition Corps. Ideally, officers are accessed into Functional Area (FA) 51 through a semi-annual Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program (VTIP) board at their sixth or seventh year of service. Select officers are also accessed through the Experimental Test Pilot Program selection process. Critical to accession as a FA 51 officer is demonstrated, successful leadership performance in the appropriate key developmental position in the grade of captain as outlined in the officer’s basic branch of this Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-3. Officers interested in the Army Acquisition Corps are strongly encouraged to read current military personnel messages to ensure that sufficient time is allocated to prepare for the accession processes.

U.S. Army Reserve Acquisition Officer Accessions

HRC executes FA 51 accessions for officers in the Guard and Reserve, Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) officers and Troop Program Unit (TPU) officers. Army Guard and Reserve officers may also request accession through the VTIP but they may not participate in the Experimental Test Pilot program. TPU and IMA officers may not participate in VTIP or the Experimental Test Pilot program.

Army National Guard Acquisition Officer Accessions

The Army National Guard FA 51 officers are managed by state adjutants general in coordination with the Army National Guard Acquisition Career Management Office and the Army National Guard Human Capital Management Office. Newly accessed officers will normally complete their current tour in their basic branch before being trained and assigned to their first acquisition assignment.

Officer Faces of the Force


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