Investing in People

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By valuing individual and group potential, the Human Capital Strategic Plan points the way to success for the Army Acquisition Workforce

From the Director, U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center

Craig Spisak Director, U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center

Craig Spisak
Director, U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center

Human capital, talent, human resources, personnel, staff—these are all names that we use to describe the workforce inside an organization. But what’s in a name? It’s not so much the terminology but rather the evolving mindset behind the organization’s operations that count. That mindset must take a more holistic view of the workforce, individually and collectively. It must consider their knowledge, talent, skills, abilities, experience, intelligence, training, judgment and wisdom.

When people are valued and treated as assets rather than expenses, and teams do everything possible to develop employees to their maximum potential and contribution, then the language used to describe the process is not so important. But it takes more than just changing what you call the workforce to achieve success; it takes a plan—a well-conceived, inclusive, innovative, detailed, continuous plan to recruit, maintain, develop and retain world-class professionals. In this case, I’m referring to the Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW).

A major part of the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) is the Army Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) Office. We have the tremendous responsibility of providing everything acquisition career-related for approximately 37,000 Army acquisition civilian and military leaders and professionals located worldwide in Army staff offices, Army commands, Army service component commands, program executive offices and direct reporting units.

We collaborate with the Defense Acquisition University, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (USD(AT&L)) and the USD(AT&L) Human Capital Initiatives Office to enable acquisition workforce initiatives and to serve as advocates for the AAW. We are constantly evaluating, monitoring, researching, innovating and fine-tuning the policies and procedures that help us train, educate and cultivate the AAW. To continue to do our job well, we must further our efforts and commitment by developing, updating and implementing the five-year AAW Human Capital Strategic Plan (HCSP).

The HCSP is USAASC’s systematic and collaborative process for anticipating workforce capability gaps and providing solutions to recruit, develop, maintain and retain a highly skilled, engaged AAW of program managers, scientists, engineers, information technologists, contracting specialists and other acquisition professionals who are experienced, high-performing and committed to providing world-class capabilities to our Soldiers. In short, this is our piece of supporting Army readiness. As a community, we must remain ready to provide the equipment and services Soldiers need to win across multiple missions, conditions and geographies.

Grounded in the Army values—­loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage—as its guiding principles, this plan fosters a collaborative decision-making process based on trust, transparency, accountability, deliberation and ethics. The plan is a reflection of our commitment to the workforce to develop the next generation of leaders and advance the Army acquisition profession.

The HCSP has five goals: communication and collaboration, workforce shaping, employee engagement, professional development and leadership development. The goals are the result of a collaborative process that brought together representatives from across Army Acquisition Workforce organizations, stakeholders and members.

Lt. Gen. Michael E. Williamson, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology and the Army DACM, wants implementation of the HCSP to involve everyone, from acquisition senior leaders to the individual AAW member. That voice of the people comes mostly from his Acquisition Workforce Advisory Board, a consortium of acquisition professionals at all levels and organizations brought together to support candid discussions and honest feedback on acquisition-specific career development challenges for the Army DACM.

A key to the success of this strategic planning effort will be formalized governance via steering committees, councils, and specific integration and project teams.

As the HCSP unfolds, we will continue to refine the goals and objectives, and draft initiatives and metrics to measure our progress and success. Using this as our guide, we will prioritize our resources, focus our efforts each year and track our progress.

To keep the plan current and relevant, we will conduct periodic reviews and will need continuous input from our acquisition professionals, managers and leaders throughout the Army. I invite you to join us in our progressive quest of putting people first by submitting suggestions, comments or questions to usaarmy.­, or go to

For a closer look at the goals and some of the initiatives on the horizon, read “A Ready Acquisition Workforce.”


The HCSP helps to develop and equip acquisition professionals with the skills, training and experiences to be successful in their jobs and, ultimately, in the acquisition mission. It drives how strategic initiatives are shaped to realize that focus, while engaging workforce stakeholders. (Image courtesy of the Army DACM Office)

This article was originally published in the October – December 2016 issue of Army AL&T magazine.

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