Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS)
Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS) gives Army officers a chance to pursue advanced degrees in STEM, acquisition, or business-related disciplines at civilian universities on a full-time, fully funded basis. The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) Army Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) Office fully funds board-selected officers enrolled in advanced education programs.
The Naval Postgraduate School is the preferred institution for ACS students and all officers must apply. There is a new NPS program, the Director of Army Acquisition Corps (DAAC) now sponsors Program 522, a Master’s of Science in Systems Engineering Management (MS-SEM), at Naval Postgraduate School. The creation of this program is part of a larger initiative to revitalize education for newly assessed officers and is tied to Acquisition Reform, spearheaded by Lieutenant General Paul A. Ostrowski, the DAAC, redefining education for newly assessed acquisition officers. MS-SEM is a new, non-calculus and non-physics requiring advanced degree program, and is designed to assist our workforce in interacting with program technical experts, such as engineers, test and evaluation personnel, and contracting staff. More information is available in the NPS Catalog Update pages, attached here: Resident-MSSEM-CatalogDescription
On this page you will find information to help you launch into a fully funded graduate degree program, stay connected while in the program, and ease your transition back into the workforce once you’ve completed your schooling.
For more information on how to apply, please visit the HRC website and the Officer Personnel Management Directorate Advanced Education Programs website.
1. Decide where to apply.
Note: You can often reduce tuition costs by negotiating directly with the school, securing a scholarship or fellowship, or applying to a range of schools. Tuition is divided into three categories: High, $43,001 to $55,000; Medium, $26,001 to $43,000; and Low, $26,000 and below. Officers applying to a school with tuition in the High or Medium categories must also apply to a school in the Low tuition category, such as the Naval Postgraduate School.
2. Take appropriate admissions tests (e.g., the GMAT or GRE), if required
3. Secure letters of recommendation for civilian schools
4. Apply to schools
5. Receive conditional acceptance letter
6. Receive movers message from ATS Management Board
7. Prepare Advanced Civilian Schooling application (HRC POC: Michelle Houston)
8. Submit packet to ACS Board
9. Receive results
10. Start school
Congratulations to the following recent graduates in completing their advanced degrees at the Naval Postgraduate School:
- Maj. Steven Cusack
- Maj. Steve Settembre
- Maj. Jonathon Swan
- Capt. Stephen Kirouac
Over the years, we have sent hundreds of acquisition officers to schools all over the country for acquisition-related degrees. Here are a few of their stories:
“The education I received at the Naval Postgraduate School directly applied to my follow-on assignment as an administrative contracting officer with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA). Specifically, my managerial accounting class taught me how to distinguish between indirect and direct costs, as well as the difference between fixed, variable and semi-variable costs. My contract cost and price analysis class continued to build upon these concepts by teaching me what methods to use for allocating overhead, what costs are allowable and unallowable per the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation), and when cost accounting standards apply.”
“Learning these lessons during Advanced Civil Schooling enabled me to have an immediate impact on my team here at DCMA and further contribute to the agency’s mission of delivering actionable acquisition insight.”
—Maj. Amy Saal (51C); Naval Postgraduate School MBA Program, 2016
“My systems engineering degree prepared me to sit in a roomful of my program’s engineers and speak smartly.”
“My understanding of mechanical physics allows for an interaction with engineers where I can question their design assumptions and influence them to better meet the government program’s cost, schedule and performance goals. The process of writing my thesis and strategically analyzing best-value acquisitions directly applied to my follow-on assigned program, as we now are working toward including this concept into our acquisition strategy.”
—Maj. Michael Flint (51A); Naval Postgraduate School Master of Systems Engineering Program, 2016
“Unique to attending a civilian program, such as the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, is the opportunity to connect and learn from companies that are representative of those that form the defense industrial base.”
“I’m not sure I could have found a better way to intimately understand the challenges faced by small businesses than to have developed a complete business plan in my entrepreneurship class where I was able to take an idea from concept to actual implementation as a ‘startup.’”
“In my experience, the MBA curriculum uniquely redesigned the way I approach and analyze problems. It challenged me with complexities, in a business context, that enhanced my ability to develop better solutions in a more efficient manner. The Army immediately benefited from my enhanced ability to provide sound business advice to a diverse group of customers in the National Capital Region and to develop comprehensive courses of action for my (operational supported) commander(s) that immediately withstood the screening tests for validity.”
—Maj. George Kloppenburg (51C); University of Georgia Terry College of Business MBA Program, 2015
“There had been several events in my life since joining the Army that challenged me physically and mentally, but as long as I could push my mind and body through It, I knew I would be successful. Going back to school—especially a school with the name Johns Hopkins—was scary to me, because I knew it was not going to be easy, and I couldn’t just force my body through it. I wanted a new challenge, and I knew I needed to be a full-time student to be successful at such a prestigious institution.”
“The Johns Hopkins MBA degree met my expectations: It was the toughest thing I had ever done academically. The day I walked across the stage and received my diploma from Johns Hopkins was a day that my family and I will never forget.”
—Lt. Col. Alex Babington (51A); Johns Hopkins University MBA, 2013
I am new to the Acquisition Corps. How can I start onboarding while in school?
The Army DACM Office, through its Army Acquisition Center of Excellence, will be hosting an onboarding session to welcome you into the career field and set you up with the standards and skills needed for your career, before your first assignment.
Does the Army DACM fund special projects while I am participating in ACS?
The Army DACM provides limited funding for travel related to defense-specific research and thesis topics. Additionally, based on availability of funds, the Army DACM provides funding for defense-related certifications. Contact the ACS program manager at your school or at the Army DACM office for more information.
Who is my CAPPMIS / IDP supervisor while I am out of the force?
Please contact the ACS program manager to assist in switching your IDP to the Army DACM ACS point of contact.
How can I reintegrate into an assignment after graduation?
The Army DACM Office also sponsors out-briefs and exit surveys to ensure a smooth transition from classroom to workplace.
HRC ACS Fellowships POC
AHRC-OPC-P (ATTN: Michelle Houston)
1600 Spearhead Division Road
Fort Knox, KY 40121