Thursday, January 19, 2012

Your Time: Acquisition Training

While everyone has an opinion on major DoD acquisition programs, like the F-35 or the Littoral Combat Ship, most people don't have an INFORMED opinion because they have no idea how the DoD actually buys major pieces of equipment. I've been asked on more than a few occasions as a war fighter to provide input so that an acquisition professional could write a paper to justify buying something or upgrading a piece of software.

This stuff isn't cheap...the particular program I helped recommended a 500,000 dollar upgrade, and that was considered low end. Most people won't go into acquisitions, and many are bored by it. However, I think it's important for war fighters, especially officers, to have a basic understanding of how we buy equipment and what it means to them.

The Defense Acquisition University has a number of online courses available via distance learning that do just that. My recommendation is to first start at their certification website, located here. Look at the Level I certification in an area that you can see yourself working at in the future. If you're not sure, go with Program Management.

Then, go to the distance learning login, located here. After you login, click on I Need Training on the left, then Apply for a Course, and then Navy/Marine Corp. You'll be redirected to the eDACM website, where you can CAC login. Then on the top menu bar, select Manage Career->Training->Search for Training. Select the button for Order by Course Number under DAU Resident and Web Offering.

So what courses do you take?
- Start with Acquisition 101. It will take you a while, but it's a great introduction to the entire acquisition process. It also counts as a Service School on your record.
- If you're working cyber/information warfare, I recommend SAM 101: Basic Software Acquisition Management.
- If you're unrestricted line, CLC 011 (Contracting for the rest of us), CLL 008 (Designing for Supportability in DoD Systems), and LOG 101 (Acquisition Logistics Fundamentals) would be useful.
- Currently the number one items for O-6 boards is financial management. The BCF courses offered can give you both the knowledge and credit to meet this wicket.

There are lots of courses there, so select courses that align with what you are doing. The knowledge I gained from ACQ 101 has already helped me when I work with program offices getting computer and equipment upgrades.

After you take a course, you'll want to get credit for it. See if the course has a Service School Code. The codes are located here. If it does, send an email to with your certificate, the code, and your name. They will put a ticket into their system to update you in NSIPS. After that goes through, in a week the database synchronizes with BUPERS, and it'll appear on your record in BOL.