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


A. General. Education, training, and experience are the three different, yet interrelated elements of career development. The career paths found in the Master Training Plan (discussed below) recognize the unique and distinctive contributions of each element to career development.

B. Education. Education has a central and distinctive role in career development. Education provides the basic intellectual tools and habits for effective training, competent job performance, and professional growth. Besides providing basic mental tools, education presents the basic body of knowledge of the CP-14 career program to the careerist. Education also connotes continuous learning by applying various intellectual activities to specific situations and changed conditions. Education is dynamic, reflecting the accelerating pace of change in society in general and in the continued growth of specialization as a discipline or body of knowledge thickens. Education finally includes more than the accretion of knowledge, the ability to think, and the development of inquisitiveness; it is also value-laden and reflects the ethical context of decision-making. Education is thus fundamental to the growth of an empowered and entrepreneurial profession. Education is the necessary condition for training.

C. Training.

  1. Overview.
    1. Training complements both education and experience in career development. Whereas education is generally long-term and conveys a general application, training is short-term and focused on the immediate and practical. The emphasis in training is on practical action: what to do and how to do it. Training focuses on acquiring limited, job-related skills to meet organizational goals. While education deals with a complex set of attitudes, skills and values, training deals with specific tasks or competencies.
    2. CP-14 training is organized into three distinctive, interrelated and mutually reinforcing categories: technical training, Army Leader-Development training, and executive/management training attained through the AAC and CP-14 Competitive Professional Development (CPD) opportunities. The training relationships between technical training, Army Leader-Development training (discussed in Section VII), and executive and management training are graphically portrayed in Figure 6.

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    3. At the beginning of a career, technical training is paramount. Technical training, consisting of mandatory training (certification training and assignment-specific training) and desirable contracting and acquisition training, is the primary focus of the training effort from entry-level up through initial Level III certification. This training provides the core competencies required to do our work. Core competencies narrowly focus on the expert skills of contracting and are represented by the technical competencies detailed in Appendices F, G, and H. Army Leader-Development training complements the technical training and becomes increasingly important at higher levels of responsibility. Both the leader-development and technical training are augmented by desirable executive and management training which are offered competitively by the AAC and the CP-14 CPD programs. The AAC annually provides opportunities for executive and management training for AAC members. CP-14 careerists in the AAC are eligible for this training. The CPD program offers short-term focused executive training in best commercial practices and cutting-edge management practices at premier universities and executive training institutions. Through many of these courses the CP-14 members have the opportunity to refine or further develop their contracting business management professional skills and expertise. The leader-development and executive/management training are distributed competencies that are diffused throughout the Army and all large organizations; these competencies are represented by the General Professional Business competencies listed in Appendix F and by those discussed in detail in Appendix L, Acquisition Leadership Effectiveness Inventory (ALEI). A limited number of outstanding CP-14 professionals may be competitively selected for the Senior Acquisition Course (SAC) at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF). HQDA sponsored Acquisition Excellence training, which is a subset of the CPD executive and management training, is also provided to re-skill the contracting and acquisition workforce.
  2. Technical Training. Within the contracting career field there are a number of contracting specialties, identified in the GS-1102 qualification standards: contract specialist, contract administrator, procurement analyst, cost and price analyst, contract negotiator, and small business specialist. Additionally, there are unique and standard requirements for individuals in each ACF covered by CP-14.
    1. Certification Training. See DoD 5000.52-M and the DAU Catalog provide the certification requirements (training, education, and experience) for each level in the acquisition workforce. These courses and their equivalencies (see Chapter 4 and Appendix D, DAU Catalog) are the appropriate sources for acquiring the mandatory training associated with certification required at the various levels. (See Section V, B., above for additional information on certification.) The DAU Catalog provides course descriptions in Chapter 4, and instructions for registering for classes are provided in Chapter 2. Class schedules are maintained in the Army Training Requirements and Resources System (ATRRS) and individuals may submit applications by accessing the ATRRS Internet Training Application System (AITAS), but classes requested must be reflected as approved by the employee's supervisor on the automated IDP. Up-to-date class schedules are also made available on the DAU World Wide Web Homepage (
    2. Assignment-Specific Training.
      1. Specific courses are identified by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology as integral to the education and training of acquisition workforce personnel. These courses are offered by the DAU to provide unique acquisition knowledge required for a specific assignment, job or position; to maintain technical proficiency; and to remain current with legislation, regulation and policy. This training can span several functional areas and is mandatory for selected individuals within a job series or position category. DAU provides funds for course delivery and student travel costs for assignment-specific courses in the same manner as its other courses.
      2. Appendix C of the DAU Catalog lists the Assignment-Specific courses and describes the types of positions, which require the various courses. A matrix of assignment-specific courses relevant to CP-14 is provided in Appendix D of this ACTEDS Plan. Instructions for registering for classes are the same as in paragraph C.2.a. above.
  3. Leader-Development Training. Civilian leadership (leader-development) training common core (See Figure 10, Section VII) is either Priority I or Priority II (see Appendix I, Master Training Plan). Descriptions of both the types of training and who is required to attend which types of training are found in AR 690-400, Chapters 410 and 413. Summary descriptions of the training, who should attend, and when they should attend are available on the World Wide Web on the Training and Leader Development section of the Civilian Personnel OnLine (CPOL) website at For example, all interns are required to complete the Intern Leadership Development Course (ILDC) and Action Officer Development Course (AODC) (which can be taken on-line) prior to completing their intern training program; both of these are Priority I courses.
  4. Competitive Professional Development Program. The Competitive Professional Development (CPD) program for the Contracting and Acquisition career program (CP-14) rests on seven distinct, program elements discussed in detail in Appendix E. The CPD emphasizes maximum use of limited funds across a wide spectrum of training, education, and developmental activities to prepare our workforce for the contracting business management professional challenges of the future. It seeks to build on existing programs available to our contracting and acquisition careerists, e.g., the Army Acquisition Tuition Assistance Program (ATAP) and Army Acquisition Corps executive training. The mix of education, training, and development activities supports Army Leader-Development model (discussed in Section VII); policies for continuing education, Acquisition Excellence, and management education established by the Department of Defense for contracting personnel. Appendix E of this ACTEDS Plan provides a detailed description of the CP-14 Competitive Professional Development Program. Career Program members are encouraged to also review and consider additional competitive and non-competitive professional development opportunities that may be available from the ASC by visiting their website and reviewing options in the "Acquisition Education, Training, and Experience (AETE) Catalogue" at the ASC site: ".
  5. Universal Training. Universal training requirements provide standardized competencies (see Appendices F, G, and H of this ACTEDS Plan) across the occupational area to all individuals who have similar duties and responsibilities. Universal requirements are prioritized in Appendix I, Master Training Plan, to assist managers and commanders in planning and programming for ACTEDS funding. Universal training priorities are described in Table 4 below.

    I Training that is typically a condition of employment, must be successfully completed within a specified time period, and meets one or more of the following criteria:
    Employee must have for acceptable performance.
    Training is essential for mission accomplishment.
    Training is mandated by higher authority (law or Department of Defense) or is required for certification, health, or safety reasons.
    Training is mandated by the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) as an ACTEDS leader-development core course.
    Training is essential, functional intern training.
    Simplified Acquisition Procedures (CON 237)
    DAU Assignment-Specific Courses
    DAU Courses for Certification
    Continuous Learning Points
    Supervisor Development Course, Leadership Education and Development
    Intern Leadership Development Course, MITP prescribed training
    II Training must be needed for effective performance and to improve the quality of mission accomplishment. It is recommended that training mandated or specified in an approved training plan for enhancement of performance resulting in the improvement in the quality of mission accomplishment should be completed within a specified time period. Organizational Leadership for Executives, Personnel Management for Executives I & II
    Continuous Learning Points
    Acquisition Excellence Training
    Competitive Professional Development (selected opportunities)
    III This training is recommended for all individuals to improve or enhance knowledge, skills, and abilities needed on the job. DAU courses leading to additional certification(s)
    Continuing Education Units

    D. Experience. Experience is the concrete application of education and training to specific situations to accomplish organizational tasks. It validates the training and enhances the knowledge acquired. Experience is characterized by action, by doing. It reinforces, explicitly and practically, what one has learned intellectually. Thus, experience reinforces learning and also validates the learning process. Experience is the key ingredient to career progression. Resting on a solid educational base, training and experience are inextricably linked. At the beginning of career progression, training to do the work is of greater importance than experience. Over the course of career progression, experience, which reinforces training and revalidates education, becomes more important to competency and career progression.

    E. Master Training Plan (MTP)

    1. The Master Training Plan (MTP) (see Appendix I) is a vital tool in career progression. The MTP provides the following five functions: (1) it identifies the DoD acquisition certification requirements in terms of education, training and experience; (2) it incorporates the Army Leader-Development training into a coherent, integrated career path; (3) it integrates executive training, assignment-specific training, and cross-training in support of the AAC precept; (4) it identifies self-development activities and desired education at various stages of career development; and (5) it provides a framework and guide for the development of the IDP.
    2. The MTP sets forth the career progression within CP-14 in a logical, sequential, building block manner.
      1. At the entry-level within each career field, the initial focus is on the technical training, reinforced by the assignments and specific experience required to acquire proficiency (marked by Level I certification) in that career field. Some positions have requirements for assignment-specific courses that may be required before assuming the position or, in some cases, shortly after assignment to the position. Upon completing certification requirements at Level I in the primary ACF, the individual is encouraged to pursue courses in other ACFs at Level I after completing mandatory training supporting Level II certification in the primary ACF.
      2. The same pattern continues at Level II. The careerist who is certified at Level II next concentrates on courses at Level III in the primary ACF, followed by Level II courses in other ACFs. This would be supplemented by cross-training / developmental assignments / rotations in these career fields. The result would be Level III certification in the primary ACF and possibly an additional ACF.
      3. At Level III the individual should be certified at Level III in the primary ACF followed shortly thereafter by Level II (and eventually Level III) certification in another ACF. Once individuals complete the necessary requirements for Level III certification in their primary ACF, they (for those at the GS-12 or 13 grade level) should seek to have their records screened to determine if they are Corps Eligible. Once identified as Corps Eligible, individuals may apply to be considered for the Competitive Development Group (CDG) during an open announcement period. Upon entry into the AAC, the individual should continue to pursue additional multiple certification opportunities. Also, upon attaining Level III certification in the primary ACF, attention should be given to acquiring or reinforcing the technical, business, managerial, leadership, and executive competencies as discussed in Competencies, Appendix F, G, and H and the Acquisition Leadership Effectiveness Inventory in Appendix L. At each Level, there should also be efforts for continued professional and self-development, as well as obtaining continuing education units as part of a continuous learning program. (See Section VIII.)
    3. ACTEDS is a competency based system, and the MTP provides the careerist with a career path, plan of education, training, and experience to acquire the competencies supporting career progression in CP-14. Appendices F, G, and H provide the technical competencies (or Knowledges, Skills, and Abilities) associated with the occupational series and acquisition career fields of CP-14. The competencies provided in these appendices are used by employees, supervisors, and managers to ensure that individuals have the skills necessary to perform satisfactorily at a given level. The competencies are organized in a logical, sequential, and building block fashion. Initial basic level competencies establish fundamental qualifications and expertise in the career field, with a combination of specialization and broadening of skills in the competencies required at Levels II and III. Appendix F identifies the professional business management and executive competencies that transcend the career program, but are vital to progression in the career program; these competencies are embedded in the curriculum of the leader-development courses prescribed in the MTP. Figure 7 portrays this concept of a building-block accumulation of the technical, leadership, and executive skills required for contracting professionals and where they are introduced.

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    4. DoD 5000.52-M, Acquisition Career Development Program (Appendices AP3 and AP6) together with the DAU Catalog comprise the basis for the Master Training Plan for the Contracting and Acquisition career program. If there is any apparent discrepancy between DOD 5000.52-M and the DAU catalog, the Manual takes precedence. Appendices A-L of the Manual cite the education, experience, and training required for certification at each level; the MTP reiterates these DoD requirements. Training in the manual is characterized as either Mandatory or Desired. Mandatory training in the Manual is considered Mandatory, Priority I, and Desired is considered Recommended, Priority III, for the purposes of this ACTEDS Plan. All training, education or experience identified as Mandatory in the MTP are either required for certification purposes, or directed by Army regulation. Additionally, the MTP provides some illustrative self-development activities, which may be considered for inclusion in the IDP. Self-development training does not have a universal training priority category.

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