The Competitive Development Group/Army Acquisition Fellowship (CDG/AAF) program is a premier three-year leadership development program offering expanded training through a series of education, leader development and broadening assignments to build skills required for positions of greater responsibility. Managed by the USAASC Army DACM office, the program is designed to enhance the leadership acumen of the Army’s civilian acquisition workforce. Fellows are provided centrally funded leadership training and developmental assignments within the acquisition community.
While this program does not guarantee a promotion, it does strengthen desired skills, providing a competitive edge for those who compete for senior acquisition leader positions. Since the first class in 1997, 70% of participants have been promoted to at least GS-14. Program participants are encouraged to seek promotion opportunities during their tenure in the program by applying for vacancies through the competitive process.
- The selection process contains two phases: Phase I, all eligible applicants are reviewed by the Selection Board which will determine the “Referral List” for Phase II in person interviews.
- Fellows will be assigned to a centrally-funded developmental leadership position on the U. S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) Table of Distribution and Allowances (TDA).
- CDG/AAF Fellows, along with their Command and assistance from the CDG/AAF Program Manager, are responsible for finding mentors to assist in career development and provide guidance throughout the assignment period. A senior (GS-15 or SES) mentor is required.
- There are two distinct tracks for CDG/AAFs: Program Management (PM) and Acquisition Leader. Program Management offers fellows an opportunity to participate in developmental assignments as an Assistant Product Manager, Department of the Army Systems Coordinator, and other similar developmental assignment PM positions. The Acquisition Leader track offers fellows largely broadening assignments within their ACF and opportunities to gain experience in other ACFs.
- The U.S. Army acquisition community provides six-month to one-year developmental assignment opportunities for the CDG/AAF Fellows.
- Fellows have the opportunity to attend a variety of mid- to senior-level leadership courses as approved by the Program Manager.
- At least one extended TDY assignment (Not to Exceed 179 days at a time), will be required and centrally-funded by USAASC.
- Be a current Department of the Army Acquisition workforce member serving in a Career or Career Conditional appointment.
- Be a GS-13 (or high performing GS-12) or broadband equivalent
NOTE: Applicants not already participating in the DoD Civilian Acquisition Workforce Demonstration Project will be converted to it upon placement on the USAASC TDA if selected.
- At the time of application, applicants must have met their current acquisition certification requirement. In addition, applicants must be certified at Level III in at least one Acquisition Career Field (ACF).
“The CDG/AAF program demonstrates that a carefully planned combination of training, education, and experience is instrumental in building future Army Acquisition leaders. Not only is there a high promotion rate among the graduates, they have had the opportunity to use the knowledge and experience gained from the program to make great contributions to their respective organizations.” – Lt. Gen. Michael E. Williamson, Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)) and Director, Acquisition Career Management (DACM)
“The CDG program expanded my experience with all phases of the acquisition life cycle and tiers of U.S. Army and joint acquisition management, by exposing me to multiple programs with different ACAT [acquisition category] levels, phases of acquisition and management constructs.”
“Life after CDG – I left the CDG program and accepted a GS-14 position within Joint PM Guardian, JPEO CBD [Joint Project Manager Guardian, Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense] as the director for engineering and acquisition. This challenging position included a mixture of Army and joint programs of record as well as urgent capability requirements. Approximately three years later, I was offered and accepted the position as deputy program manager for the direct reporting Program Manager for Positioning, Navigation and Timing [PM PNT].” – Michael Trzeciak, deputy program manager, PNT
“The CDG program provided me an opportunity to really ‘see’ the Army. The required DA headquarters developmental assignment allowed me to engage with senior leaders one on one – there was perhaps no better way to learn about leadership and how the Army runs. The ability to go into almost any area, assignment or organization to fill in my knowledge gaps was truly a plus! Just before graduating from the CDG program, I began interviewing for promotion op¬portunities. I successfully obtained multiple opportunities shortly before finishing my tenure as a CDG, and ended up transitioning into an assistant product manager position at the next level (NH-04). I have continued to leverage my experiences and leadership training along with the network of mentors I obtained throughout the years of rotating through the different PEOs and PM organizations. This has been very beneficial in carrying out my day-to-day duties as a program integrator/officer, allowing me to bring a broader view to the table from the many different areas I was exposed to during my tenure as a CDG.” – Alvin Bing, program officer, Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support
Application Best Practices:
For helpful hints on preparing your application, please visit the following link:
- Ms. Chenxi Dong-O’Malley
- CDG/AAF Program Manager
- Army DACM Office
- Comm: 703-664-5708
- DSN: 654-5708