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

SECTION V - CAREER PROGRESSION

A. General. Career progression opportunities in CP-14 exist from the entry level to the Senior Executive Service. Basically, career progression depends upon the individual acquiring the essential training, education, and experience required by DAWIA, DoD implementing regulations, and the Master Training Plan in this ACTEDS Plan. Career progression occurs within three distinct, but related, career fields that fall within the domain of CP-14: contracting, industrial property, and production. Progression is marked by promotion through Acquisition Career Levels (ACL). The principal template for career progression in CP-14 is the career ladder described for the 1102/1103/1150 occupational series (see Table 3). Individuals in other career fields may move laterally to the 1102 career path by first meeting the education qualifications required. (See DoDI 5000.58, DoD 5000.52-M.)

B. Certification. Certification is a management process, which determines that an individual meets all the mandatory standards established for an ACL in an acquisition career field (ACF). The purpose of certification is to assure that acquisition personnel are qualified in terms of education, experience, and training to perform the duties of the acquisition position to which they are assigned. Certification documents employee qualifications for their current position; documents employee qualifications for future positions; serves as a quality ranking factor; and promotes quality improvement of the acquisition workforce. The Army certification program requires that individuals assigned to acquisition positions meet the applicable mandatory education, training, and experience standards established in DoD 5000.52-M, Appendix 13 and Appendix I of this ACTEDS Plan. Each contracting and acquisition position shall have a certification standard established for it. The education, training, and experience standards for the career level assigned to a position are the standards the incumbent of the position must meet.

  1. Certification Standards. Certification standards consist of two elements: the acquisition career level (ACL) and the acquisition position category (APC). The specific CP-14 certification requirements of a position are ascertained by: (1) determining the appropriate acquisition career field (C, D, E, or H); (2) determining the career level (I, II, or III); and, (3) referring to DoD 5000.52-M and matching the career field and career level. Each acquisition position is associated with an appropriate ACL, which is a grouping of education, training, and experience standards that provide the framework for progression in the career field. There are three career levels: Level I requires entry-level achievement and is normally GS-5 to GS-8; Level II is intermediate and is normally GS-9 to GS-12; and Level III is senior level and is generally GS-13 and above. (See Appendix I for specifics for each ACF.) There are two acquisition position categories that do not have a corresponding acquisition career field: (1) program management oversight (V), and (2) education, training and career development (X). Incumbents of these two categories will have a certification standard from the most appropriate acquisition career field. For example, an instructor teaching contracting courses may be in an APC X, but his or her ACF would be C (contracting).
  2. Acquisition Career Record Brief (ACRB). The ACRB documents, for the AL&TWF, training, work experience, education, awards, acquisition status, current position information, and acquisition career field certification. It is mandatory and is the most important document for an acquisition professional. This automated historical document is required for all competitive boards. The ACRB is augmented by a detailed work history document such as a resume. AL&TWF members are responsible for keeping their ACRBs updated. Updates may only be made by an ACM. Exceptions are the e-mail address, which may be changed by using the IDP, and the CL points which may be changed by the supervisor. Detailed instructions for completing the ACRB may be found on the ASC Homepage, as well as, links to the individual's ACRB. A sample copy of the ACRB is provided in Appendix K.
  3. Certification Certificates. A certification certificate is provided by the ACM to the certifying official for signature and is provided to the requesting individual upon verification of certification.

C. Career Ladder for 1102/1103/1150 Series. A career ladder for the principal occupational series within CP-14 is provided at Table 3. This ladder illustrates a generic career path for CP-14 personnel less the 1105 occupational series. The career ladder illustrates positions associated with grades that would support career progression within an organizational level. In general, for those who aspire to a senior level (Level III) specialist position, it is advisable to get as much experience at the various levels within an organization as possible. First, the experience should be in hands-on operational Contracting, Industrial Property Management, or Manufacturing/Production/Quality Assurance. Entry level contracting careerists should have experience acquiring a broad range of commodities and services (e.g., supplies, services, A-E contracts, R&D contracts, and major systems acquisitions). The emphasis here is on technical skills and proficiency where the individual acquires the basic technical expertise of the profession. Later, at the intermediate level, the employee refines the particular specialty area of choice (pricing, policy, etc.). Also at the intermediate level, the employee should begin acquiring multi-specialty, career-broadening experiences. Experience at more than one organizational level will support career progression, both from the perspective of position availability, as well as career-broadening, to enhance individual competitiveness. At the intermediate level careerists are encouraged to begin to advance their prowess as contracting business management professionals, if they have not already done so; graduate level course work leading to a masters degree in any of the following disciplines: accounting, business, finance, law, contracts, purchasing, economics, industrial management, marketing, quantitative methods, or organization and management is strongly encouraged. Now the careerist is prepared to move into staff positions, such as procurement analyst, in which he or she may develop policies and oversee the delivery of services. The careerist must also meet the requirements for accession into the Army Acquisition Corps (AAC) (see DoD 5000.52-M, AP 13.12.) to be eligible for selection to Critical Acquisition Positions at the GS-14 or higher level. A recommended set of desired experience(s) is described in the Master Training Plan. The Knowledges, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) described here in terms of experience are really a combination of education, training, and experience; for example, it is highly desirable that 1102's selected for CAPs have two years of experience as a warranted contracting officer above the SAT, but there are educational and training requirements that must be met as well. The role of education, training, and experience is discussed further in Section VI.

GRADE CERT. LEVEL INSTALLATION MACOM/MSC/FOA HQDA/FOA
SES III   PARC
Asst. Dep. Chief of Staff (Acq).
DASA (P&P)
Director, Proc. Policy & Reform
15 III DOC PARC
Deputy Director
Division Chief
Competition Advocate
Chief, Small Business
Industrial Base Advocate
Ombudsman
Procurement Analyst
Division Chief
Team Leader
Senior Analyst
Industrial Specialist / Industrial Analyst
14 III DOC
Industrial Base Advocate
PARC
Competition Advocate
Chief, Small Business
Division Chief
Branch Chief
PCO, ACO
Procurement Analyst
Industrial Specialist
Team Leader
Senior Analyst
Industrial Specialist / Industrial Analyst
13 III DOC
Division Chief
Branch Chief
PCO, ACO
Industrial Base Advocate
Branch Chief
Team Leader
Division Chief
Procurement Analyst
PCO
Industrial Specialist
Senior Procurement or Cost/Price Analyst
Senior Contract Specialist
12 II Division /Branch Chief
PCO, ACO
Procurement Analyst
Contract Specialist
Intern
Team Leader
Procurement Analyst
Cost/Price Analyst
Industrial Specialist
Contract Specialist
Intern
 
11 II Contract Specialist
Procurement Analyst
Cost/Price Analyst
Industrial Property Management Specialist
Intern
Contract Specialist
Industrial Specialist
Intern
 
9 II Intern Intern  
7 I Intern Intern  
TABLE 3 - CAREER LADDER

D. Career Progression in CP-14

  1. Figure 5 notionally depicts career progression to the most senior levels in the CP-14 career program. This figure portrays the various occupational series covered by CP-14 and the range of grades generally associated with the series. Possessing a baccalaureate degree is a key element supporting migration from other occupational series to the 1102 series. A baccalaureate plus 24 semester credit hours of courses in specific business related disciplines (see paragraph C of this section) is required for selection to an 1102 position. A preference will be given to intern candidates from the Outstanding Scholar Program, but a variety of sources will be used to acquire interns.


    (Click to enlarge image, then click Back to return)

  2. Career progression within some occupational series is limited because of the grade ceilings in those series. For example, Purchasing (Simplified Acquisition Specialist), 1105, peaks at the GS-10 level. Those occupying positions in the 1105 occupational series with aspirations of attaining positions at the GS-11 and higher level should review the requirements for the 1102 series and incorporate the training and education requirements to support migration to the 1102 series into their IDPs.
  3. The same concept applies to the 1103 and 1150 series, although the grade structure is higher. Those in Industrial Property Management, 1103, will find positions from GS-9 to GS-13, but to progress to GS-15 they must look at the qualifications required to be competitive for 1150 series, Industrial Specialists. The 1103s or the 1150s who aspire to SES level positions, must obtain the qualifications (education, training, and experience) necessary to be competitive for 1102 positions.
  4. Progression to Critical Acquisition Positions (CAPs), grades GS-14/equivalent acquisition personnel demonstration or above, requires that the careerist meet the requirements for accession into the Army Acquisition Corps.
    1. Obtaining Corps Eligible (CE) status reduces the time needed to determine AAC eligibility for those who are selected for a CAP. The statutory and regulatory requirements for obtaining CE status are identical to those for AAC membership with the exception of the grade requirement. Individuals become Corps Eligible by having their records screened to ensure they meet the criteria for accession into the AAC. The primary tool for validating qualifications for accession into the AAC is the Acquisition Civilian Record Brief (ACRB).
    2. The CE program also prepares Level II or III certified GS-12s and GS-13s for CAPs. The CEs will be afforded several competitive and non-competitive career-enhancing opportunities. Many of the career development opportunities listed in the ASC's Acquisition, Education, Training, and Experience (AETE) catalogue are available only to AL&TWF members with AAC or CE status. The most prestigious of these is the opportunity to apply for the Competitive Development Group (CDG). Only GS-12 or GS-13 CEs and all current GS-13 AAC members may compete for the CDG. Additional information on the CE program is available from the ASC.




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