Preference for user experience on the part of Army FA 97 contracting officers
Walsh, Damon T.
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There is an apparent contradiction within the U. S. Army Acquisition Corps between the stated intent to capitalize on the operational experience of the military members of the Corps, and the philosophy used in distributing officers within the Corps. Following enactment of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act in 1990 the Army created the Army Acquisition Corps (AAC). A review of the billets available for Functional Area 97 contracting officers, however, reveals that well over half of the positions are coded for branch immaterial officers, meaning any officer from any branch can fill the slot. The objective of this thesis is to examine the rationale behind the current organization of contracting personnel in an attempt to determine whether there should be more FA 97 positions coded to require branch, or branch-type, specific officers, as well as to identify where the billets should be. A survey of 175 senior officers in the AAC was conducted in order to gauge the level of command preference for user experience on the part of contracting officers. Respondents indicated that: an increase in the level of emphasis placed on branch coding FA 97 billets should be beneficial but that a determination as to the cost of an increased reliance must first be made; the best level for branch coding decisions is at the organizational level; and there does exist a relationship between the Career Management Fields and the AMC MACOM commodity group organization. Additionally, the research indicated that there are no existing prohibitions in place that prevent, or bar, the assignment of contracting officers with user experience to FA 97 billets
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