Military Corner: What is the MAPL anyway?

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By Maj. Sheila L. Howell

What is the MAPL? Can I see a copy of the MAPL? Why is it a secret?

These are questions we hear when it comes to the Military Acquisition Position List, or MAPL. The MAPL process is a few things, but it is also not what most people believe it is. The MAPL process is transparent and fair, and gives you the opportunity to have a voice. And once you venture inside the walls of the MAPL, it will no longer hold the same mystery.

The MAPL is the Army’s process to comply with DAWIA Section 1722, which requires a report be submitted to the secretary of defense that lists each acquisition position, in order of priority, that can only be filled by acquisition military officers. In order for a position to be set aside as military only, it must be validated within the MAPL process. Each fiscal year, the Army DACM Office conducts a review of all active duty FA51 positions in the grades of captain through colonel. Because today’s environment is marked by constrained and declining resources, it is extremely important that acquisition officer positions are aligned with and support both the organization’s and the Army’s highest priorities. Thus begins the MAPL process.

How does it work? Do we have any input? Does my survey matter? Just keep reading, and we will answer all of these questions.

The MAPL review process happens twice a year, in the winter and spring. Winter reviews are for positions outside the direct purview of the program executive office (PEO) and the ASA(ALT). Spring reviews are for Centralized Selection Lists (CSLs) and MAPL positions within the PEO and ASA(ALT) structure.

The process begins with the commands. Each command has a MAPL point of contact who is responsible for reviewing and updating the MAPL in accordance with the latest force structure documents for their organization. That would be either a table of distribution and allowances (TDA) or modified table of organization and equipment (MTOE). MAPL positions must be accounted for on a TDA or MTOE. The MAPL cannot add to what is already there; MAPL positions must be authorized on the force structure documents.

Yes, you do have input. And, better yet, it only takes about five minutes of your time—we promise. Once a year, as an acquisition military officer, you will receive an email notification from the Career Acquisition Management Portal indicating that your MAPL survey is available for completion. Commands and organizations have to ensure that MAPL and CSL positions contain specific, significant and challenging duties and responsibilities that are both grade appropriate and acquisition career field relevant. This is why your survey input is key: You are the subject matter expert for your position. Make sure your survey is completed and accurate. Your position description should clearly outline your duties and responsibilities; the content of the position description continues to have a significant influence on the decision to support a MAPL position, along with structure documents. Officers should meet with their organization’s MAPL point of contact to ensure that their duty descriptions accurately reflect their duties and responsibilities. All officers are strongly encouraged to complete their MAPL survey before the deadline. Your feedback helps the board when scoring positions for priority of fill.

The next phase in the process involves the DACM Office. Once the commands complete their review of the MAPL, analysts within the DACM Office review and verify the position descriptions and the survey question responses. The analysts validate input from the commands and send the positions to the MAPL/CSL Review Board.

The final phase involves the MAPL/CSL Review Board. Its mission is to review each command’s submission and score each MAPL/CSL position based on the scoring construct for the board. The MAPL/CSL Review Board’s deliberations will result in a prioritized, 1-N type list of all approved positions.

So why can’t you see the MAPL? Because it is a force structure document and not an assignment list; we retain the right to keep the MAPL for its intended use. And—drumroll please—officers do see the listing of positions approved to be filled on their assignment preference sheet. Once the MAPL has been constructed into the 1-N list and manning guidance has been approved, the Human Resource Command’s Acquisition Management Branch (AMB) uses this list to determine which positions will be filled. Other positions may be on the MAPL, but they did not score high enough on the priority list to have an officer assigned. Again, this is why we need input from you and the commands.

An Acquisition Force Structure Message will codify the MAPL results no later than 45 days after each review. This message goes out to all commands, the AMB and the ASA(ALT). By this time, the review is complete … and then we start all over again!

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