In early July, I joined Dr. Roy Wood, acting vice president of the Defense Acquisition University (DAU), for a signing ceremony to initiate one of our newest APUS partnerships at their Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, offices. The DAU mission to develop qualified acquisition professionals who deliver and sustain effective and affordable warfighting capabilities fully aligns with our own to educate those who serve, and we’re proud to work with them in this exciting new joint endeavor. In this week’s guest post, APUS Corporate and Strategic Relationships Manager DeAnn Wandler explains how we will support DAU in helping close the acquisition skills gap hurdle by providing enhanced online education opportunities for the Defense Acquisition Workforce.
Guest Post by DeAnn Wandler
As the largest purchaser of goods and services to meet mission needs, the federal government spends approximately $530 billion annually. Yet, federal agencies are currently facing unparalleled demands in acquisition execution. Fiscal reform, coupled with a demand for increased effectiveness, has forced the government to re-evaluate its spending approach. Consequently, procurement needs to be more agile and cost-efficient.
To achieve that goal, a variety of results-oriented policy initiatives have been established. Current priorities are intended to provide for a better skilled and more agile workforce through Better Buying Power (BBP) initiatives, while also focusing on improving the demonstrated qualifications of the acquisition workforce.
While the federal acquisition profession is evolving, there’s the added challenge that 50 percent of the acquisition workforce could retire in the next 10 years. Although there have been warnings of the pending “silver tsunami” among public employees— the mass exodus of baby boomers could potentially cripple the workforce.
Recognizing this dynamic situation, the Government Accountability Office has identified acquisition as one of six mission-critical skills gaps to be mitigated. As a result, agencies have focused on finding the right acquisition personnel with the necessary knowledge and skills, as well as ensuring that current personnel have the appropriate mix of training, experience and certifications.
As part of the FY 1991 National Defense Authorization Act, the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA), was enacted to require the Department of Defense to institute a process to recognize the acquisition workforce for having achieved professional status. The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) was subsequently established to serve as the primary training organization for the Defense Acquisition Workforce (DAW).
Because the acquisition system (civilian and military) has acquisition duties that fall into 14 career fields, DAU established 14 career-field certifications to identify an individual’s level of experience and expertise. Additionally, three certification levels were established for each career field: Level I Basic or Entry (GS5-9), Level II Intermediate or Journeyman (GS9-12), and Level III Advanced or Senior (GS 13 and above).
APUS supports DAU’s mission to develop qualified acquisition, requirements and contingency professionals who deliver and sustain effective and affordable warfighting capabilities. We recently announced a partnership that addresses the acquisition skills gap hurdle by providing enhanced online education opportunities for the DAW.
- Though the Strategic Partnership, DAW members can maximize academic accomplishments by receiving credit for DAU courses toward an APUS undergraduate, graduate, or certificate program.
- Through the Excelerate program , DAW members are eligible to receive credit toward master’s degrees and certificates for achievement of Level II and Level III DAWIA certification. DAU credits will be applied toward major or concentration requirements for an MBA or Master’s in Government Contracting, Management, Defense Management, Transportation & Logistics Management or Information Technology with either American Military University or American Public University.
This partnership is a testament to our core mission of educating those who serve, and we’re very proud to work with DAU to support those working to oversee and enhance America’s global defense capabilities.
DeAnn Wandler has more than 20 years of experience in working with universities and military affiliations working in admissions retention, enrollment management, education outreach and military & veteran verticals. Currently, she is the Manager of Corporate & Strategic Relationships, Government Contractors, and Professional & Technical Services at American Public University System. Prior to her role at APUS, she was a Higher Education Management Consultant with EduTroops where she specialized in strategic military enrollment management and planning.