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


A. Purpose. Career planning is the process of systematically matching an individual's aspirations with opportunities for achieving them. Using the ACTEDS Plan, career planning is documented on the IDP. The IDP serves as a contract between the supervisor and the employee. The IDP is a tool to enhance performance and prepare the employee for assignments at higher levels. It supplements annual career appraisals by identifying and forecasting training, education, and other developmental activities. IDPs are progressive and sequential and should address the training, education, and career development activities that ultimately will result in required ACF certification(s), support leader development, achieve continuous learning requirements, and enhance competitiveness for career advancement. The supervisor and employee jointly develop the IDP by honestly and candidly reviewing past performance to highlight competencies needing improvement or development. Based on this analysis, plans can be developed that are consistent with long-term functional needs and employee career goals. The IDP should focus first on achieving certification at the appropriate level and next on supporting continuous learning as discussed in Section V of this ACTEDS Plan. The IDP should be reviewed and revised as necessary, but at least annually in conjunction with the performance appraisal process.

B. Policy. IDPs are required by DoD for all acquisition workforce employees through certification at Level III. IDPs are required for all Army civilian acquisition workforce personnel, regardless of certification level, by Army Acquisition Corps/Workforce (AAC/AAW) Policy Memorandum 96-01, Subject: Career Development as a Mission, dated 1 April, 1996 and SARD-ZAC Memorandum for Members of the Army Acquisition Workforce, Subject: Individual Development Plans, dated 26 January, 1999. The IDP will be developed to cover a five-year period. A copy of the IDP form is provided as Appendix K to this plan and is available on the ASC Homepage (

C. Self-Evaluation. The employee's own self-evaluation must play a role in IDP preparation and development. The individual's ambitions and aspirations should be considered and factored into the IDP.

  1. Contract Specialist Training Blueprints. An excellent tool, which may be used by the contracting professional to assess progress towards professional development objectives and competency, is the "Contract Specialist Training Blueprints" (previously titled the Contract Specialists Workbook) developed by the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI). The Contract Specialist Training Blueprints list duties performed in Federal contracting, and for each duty, general conditions under which the duty would be required or performed are stated. A list of specific tasks associated with the duty is provided and the standards for accomplishing the tasks are delineated. Almost every unit of instruction in the Blueprints matches a corresponding competency listed in "Policy & Process / Knowledge of Contracting Fundamentals" Annex 2 to Appendix F of this ACTEDS. Thus, the format of these Blueprints supports individual self-evaluation of technical contracting competencies.
  2. The Acquisition Leadership Effectiveness Inventory. --> The ALEI is adapted from a Leadership Effectiveness Inventory found in wide use within the Federal sector for the development and evaluation of senior personnel. The tool provides a self-assessment of leadership competencies; supports prioritizing leadership development needs; and assists in laying out a detailed guide to meet the individual's developmental needs.

D. IDP Preparation. IDPs are produced by the supervisor and employee and define the developmental needs of the employee based upon previous records of experience and training, the appraisal of potential, and career goals. Figure 13 indicates, conceptually, factors that should be considered when an IDP is developed by the supervisor and the employee. The supervisor should seek the assistance of the ACPM and civilian personnel specialists in developing the IDP. Preparation of the IDP is a joint venture with input from the employee and supervisor; and with advice and assistance of the MCPM, ACPM, Regional Directors, Regional Acquisition Career Manager (formerly known as Acquisition Workforce Support Specialists -AWSS), ACMA, Acquisition Career Field Representative, and/or civilian personnel training specialist. Documentation of the IDP follows a discussion between the employee and supervisor to assess previous training, education, and experience, and to evaluate realistic future career goals, and may include appropriate self-development activities such as those mentioned in the MTP.

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E. IDP and Other Tools. The IDP is one of three important tools (IDP, ACRB, and the performance appraisal), which must be used together to support career development. The IDP should be reviewed and updated annually in conjunction with the annual performance appraisal, and should be attached to the appraisal support form. The importance of this is reinforced in Policy Memorandum 96-01 that was signed jointly by the ASA(ALT) and the ASA(M&RA); supervisors and managers of acquisition workforce personnel must be evaluated on their effectiveness in implementing career development as a mission. Effectiveness is gauged by supervisors' support for implementing IDPs. Supervisors' accomplishments in this area will be assessed and the results reflected on their annual performance appraisal report. The third tool is the Acquisition Career Record Brief (ACRB). The ACRB should be distributed by the ASC to AL&TWF members during their birth month. The ACRB should provide a clear summary of the ACF certification qualifications. Instructions for updating the ACRB or obtaining a copy are available on the AAC Homepage. The ACRB identifies the training, education, and experience the AL&TWF member has. The differences in training, education, and experience detailed in the Master Training Plan (Appendix I) of this ACTEDS Plan and those found on the ACRB should provide the starting point for completing the IDP. An illustrative sample of a completed IDP and a blank copy of the ACRB are provided in Appendix K. Additionally, mastering or refreshing the competencies provided in Appendix L of this ACTEDS Plan should be considered when developing the IDP.

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