Army Civilian Training, Education, and Development System Plan
CP-14 - Contracting and Acquisition Career Program


A. Overview Members aspiring to attain senior positions of responsibility and authority in CP-14 need to understand the critical role of key positions in providing the experience and opportunities for demonstrated performance in contracting. This ACTEDS Plan provides a roadmap for employees and supervisors. A variety of positions in CP-14 are identified as key positions, which serve as benchmarks on the roadmap that career program members may aspire to attain. These key positions involve increased responsibility and most have criteria established either in law or regulation associated with eligibility for selection to the position. The additional responsibilities and demanding eligibility requirements associated with these key positions assist to ensure Contracting and Acquisition professionals are well prepared to meet the Army's needs. All Critical Acquisition Positions (CAPs), described below, in CP-14 are considered key positions. Key positions in CP-14 are further categorized as a key management position, key technical position, or key developmental position; each of these is described below. Key technical positions and key developmental positions are not necessarily CAPs. Figure 4 below notionally portrays the relationship between various key positions.

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B. Critical Acquisition Positions (CAP). CAPs are acquisition positions graded GS-14 or higher. DAWIA establishes special eligibility criteria for individuals proposed to occupy a CAP. In addition to these educational, training, and experience criteria, membership in the AAC is required (see DoD 5000.52-M).

C. Key Management Positions.

  1. Senior Procurement Executive (SPE). The SPE is the senior official appointed pursuant to Section 16(3) of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 414 (3)). The SPE is responsible for management direction of the Army's procurement system, including implementation of unique procurement policies, regulations, and standards. The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology) serves as the SPE for the Army.
  2. Senior Contracting Official (SCO). A SCO, in accordance with DAWIA, is a director of contracting, or a principal deputy to a director of contracting, serving in the office of the Secretary of a Military Department, the headquarters of a Military Department, a subordinate command headquarters, or in a major systems or logistics contracting activity in the Department of Army. The Army uses the designation Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting (PARC). All PARCs, grade GS-14 and above, are considered to be SCOs who should have at least one year of experience as a contracting officer with a warrant above the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT), and, as required by Sec 1735 (e) of DAWIA, must have at least four years experience in contracting.
  3. Chief of the Contracting Office. Those positions designated as a Director of Contracting (DOC), Acquisition Center Director, or Director of Procurement at any organizational level in the Army, e.g., field operating agencies, separate activities, installations, MACOM/MSC, that are grade GS-14 or higher, are considered key management positions in CP-14. Also included in this category are GS-14 or higher, CP-14 personnel serving as Industrial Base Advocates, Competition Advocates, and Chiefs of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.
  4. Program Management Oversight. CP-14 personnel serving in positions that are designated as the Acquisition Position Category (APC) of Program Management Oversight (V) are key management positions. Program Management Oversight positions are only at the GS-15 level and are positions found generally within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology), Program Executive Officer's staff, or the headquarters of an acquisition command. Personnel in these positions perform oversight and/or direct management or staff support of the acquisition system, or formulate policy for the support of the acquisition system. These positions require individuals with a broad background and perspective in acquisition.

D. Key Technical Positions. All warranted contracting officer positions above the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) are designated as key technical positions, and serve as an initial stepping stone to Key Management Positions in CP-14.

E. Key Developmental Positions. These are positions that are managed by the DACM or the FCR to facilitate career broadening of AAC civilians and to facilitate the rotation of AAC members across CAPs and functional areas. The Army Career Management Office (ASC) manages a small group of acquisition personnel who are selected annually for the Competitive Development Group (CDG). Individuals interested in this program should contact the Contracting proponency representative in the ASC or their regional ACM. AL&TWF personnel who are GS-12, GS-13 or an equivalent converted DoD Civilian Acquisition Personnel Demonstration Project broadband/payband level, are Level III certified, and validated as "Corps Eligible" (CE) or a GS-13 member of the AAC may apply for selection into the CDG. (See Section V Career Progression for more information on the Corps Eligible program.)

F. Management of Key Positions

  1. Selection of GS-15s. The FCR will review CP-14, GS-15 (or equivalent grade) proposed selections before an offer is made.
  2. Special Qualifications.
    1. Qualifications Applicable to All Members of CP-14. Special requirements exist for: personnel occupying any Contracting (GS-1102) position; those appointed to be Contracting Officers with authority above the SAT in accordance with DFARS 201.603-2 and AFARS 5101.603; those appointed to positions designated as SCOs; accession into the Army Acquisition Corps; and, selection for a CAP. DoD 5000.52-M, Appendix 13 provides additional details on assignment qualifications and procedural guidance for waivers to the eligibility requirements for those positions. Sample waiver forms are in DoDI 5000.55 and are available from DoD on the World Wide Web (WWW) at
    2. Qualifications Applicable to Contracting Officers and the GS-1102 Series.
      1. Section 1724 of DAWIA, as amended by Section 808 of the FY 2001 National Defense Authorization Act and Section 824 of the FY 2002 National Defense Authorization Act, mandates minimum educational requirements for new entrants into GS-1102 occupational series positions within the Department of Defense on or after 1 October 2000. These educational requirements also apply to the appointment of contracting officers with authority to award or administer contracts for amounts above the simplified acquisition threshold referred to in section 2304(g) of title 10.
      2. In order to qualify to serve in an acquisition position as a contracting officer with authority to award or administer contracts above the simplified acquisition threshold, or a GS-1102, an employee of the Department of Defense must have received a baccalaureate degree from an accredited educational institution authorized to grant baccalaureate degrees, and have completed at least 24 semester credit hours (or the equivalent) of study from an accredited institution of higher education in any of the following disciplines: accounting, business, finance, law, contracts, purchasing, economics, industrial management, marketing, quantitative methods, or organization and management.
      3. There is no longer an examination option to satisfy educational requirements. Neither is there a "grandfather" provision. However, there is an "exception" provision. This provision states that the educational requirements (baccalaureate degree and 24 semester credit hours in business disciplines) shall not apply to an employee of the Department of Defense or member of the armed forces who served, on or before 30 September 2000, (a) as a contracting officer with authority to award or administer contracts in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold, or (b) in a position either as an employee in the GS-1102 series or as a member of the armed forces in a similar occupational specialty.
      4. In accordance with guidance issued by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), these educational requirements constitute a qualification standard versus a quality ranking factor. This means that a person must meet the educational requirements to be considered basically qualified. Thus, a person who does not meet the qualification standard requirements cannot be hired or assigned into a GS-1102 position, or appointed a contracting officer, without first meeting the educational requirement, qualifying for an exception, or being granted a waiver pursuant to 10 USC 1724(d). The exception and waiver provisions are further addressed in Appendix C.
      5. DAWIA, as amended, also authorizes the Secretary of Defense to establish developmental programs for the purpose of recruiting, selecting, appointing, educating, qualifying, and developing the careers of individuals to meet the full educational requirements. As of the writing of this ACTEDS Plan, OSD is still developing the guidance necessary to authorize and implement this provision. However, in accordance with 10 USC 1724(e), the minimum qualifications for appointment to such programs is (a) a baccalaureate degree, with a grade point average of at least 3.0 or equivalent, from an accredited institution of higher education authorized to grant baccalaureate degrees or (b) completion of at least 24 semester credit hours or the equivalent of study from an accredited institution of higher education in any of the disciplines cited in b. (2) above. Individuals who do not meet the full educational requirements may be terminated from the civil service three years after appointment to such programs.
  3. Assignment to Critical Acquisition Positions (CAP)
    1. Designation of CAPs. CAPs are senior positions designated by the Army Acquisition Executive (AAE) and include SCOs and any acquisition position required to be filled by an employee in the civilian grade of GS-14 or above, as discussed above.
    2. Assignment Policy.
      1. Individuals may not be assigned to CAP unless they are members of the AAC. Although RESUMIX does not screen for AAC membership, if the position is a CAP, the notification letter forwarded to the careerist states that the person selected for this position will be required to become a member of the AAC and sign a tenure agreement and a mobility agreement.
      2. Individuals selected for a CAP who are not members of the AAC, must be accessed into the AAC prior to their assignment to the CAP. If the individual, tentatively selected, is not in the AAC and lacks a qualification for AAC membership, they must possess a waiver prior to occupying the position or being rendered a permanent offer for the position. (See paragraph B. 4. of "Department of the Army Procedures for Selection and Placement of Civilians in Acquisition and Technology Workforce Positions", dated June 4, 2002.)
    3. Assignment Periods.
      1. Effective 1 October 1993, any person who is assigned to a CAP shall be assigned to the position for not fewer than three years. (See paragraph F. 3. d. below regarding waivers.)
      2. A person may not be assigned to a critical position unless the person executes a written agreement to remain in federal service at least three years.
    4. Waiver Provisions. DAWIA grants discretionary authority to management to waive various provisions on a case-by-case basis. Waivers may be granted only in exceptional circumstances for specific situations. Appendix C provides a description of the categories of waivers that apply to CP-14 and identifies the appropriate requesting officials, approval authority, required forms, and necessary supporting documentation. All requests for waivers affecting CP-14 personnel should be submitted to the Contracting Career Program Office for administrative processing through the FCR to the AACPB/ACPB-FWG or the DACM. Once a decision is reached by the AACPB or the DACM, the waiver forms will be returned to the requesting official. A copy should be maintained by the DACM and a copy provided to the FCR, and the pertinent information from the form should be input into the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System (DCPDS), and DAU maintains a database of all approved waivers. Detailed procedures for processing waivers may be found in DoD 5000.52-M, Chapter 2 and Appendix 13 will be approved only in exceptional circumstances. Waiver form formats and samples are available in DoDI 5000.55 and from DAU on the Internet.

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