Acquisition workers get chance to change

www.acq.osd.mil/dp/dars

The Defense Department expects to launch a rotational assignment programtoday for acquisition professionals.

The Defense Procurement Acquisition Exchange Program is aimed at GS-11through GS-15 professionals who seek a change of pace. Participants willbe assigned to a Defense procurement directorate to work on projects thatrange from electronic business to major systems acquisition. DOD military,civilian, and even other government employees can apply for the program.

The assignments will last from three months to one year, and will giveparticipants exposure to new business methods and fresh ideas, said MarciaRichard, procurement analyst at the Defense Acquisition Regulations Directorate,who is getting the program up and running. "We have people who stay in thesame job for hundreds of years it feels like," she said. "I'm sure theyare very good at what they do, but their perspective becomes so limited."

The Procurement Executives Council — which launched a rotational assignmentprogram last month — and other agencies are throwing their weight behindsuch programs.

As part of its career development program, the Energy Department sincelast year has offered its acquisition personnel two rotational programswith industry. The second group of "students" will begin their assignmentsthis fall.

Although the Energy programs are designed for the contracting community,"We want to bring it to other agencies and other specialties" and expandit governmentwide, said Cynthia Yee, director of Energy's acquisition careerdevelopment program.

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