DOD will overhaul its acquisition training to fit students' needs

DOD will overhaul its acquisition training to fit students' needs

BY DAWN S. ONLEY | GCN STAFF

The Defense Department's director of procurement announced plans to overhaul the agency's acquisition training for contractors later this year by increasing the number of courses that are customized to fit an employee's area of expertise.

Deidre A. Lee said her office and officials at the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) are working together to refresh courses offered at the 11-year-old school, which trains more than 110,000 people in the Defense acquisition work force. The effort will allow students to tailor a subject area to their technology background, Lee said.

'Traditionally, you took three classes here and three classes there and then you were certified Level 3,' Lee said. 'As we relook at our classes, we recognize that we haven't necessarily kept them as current as we should have. The first thing we've got to do is refresh what we have.'

Then, Lee said, the partnership will look for ways to allow students to get more out of the classes.

'How do we provide people with the kind of the core fundamental information'you have to know the law'but then provide more of an elective kind of activity?' Lee asked. 'I'd like to see us take the fundamentals of contracting and then say to somebody, 'You have to take three electives.' '

Courses that fit

Those electives will foster a more knowledgeable work force, with classes tailored for each person's background, Lee said. There are more than 85 acquisition courses offered to entry-, intermediate- and senior-level civilian and uniformed employees in about a dozen Defense acquisition fields.

'If you're working in the services, you probably want to take the electives on service contracting. If you're primarily working on information technology, you probably need to take some electives on IT and then maybe the [government-wide acquisition contract] and [multiple-awards contracts], so you know how to properly use it,' Lee said. 'So [this will] let people tailor their education more.'

A few components of the new training focus at DAU will be rolled out at the end of the year, Lee said. The rest will fall into place next year.

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