From the early 1990’s through 2009, the Defense Acquisition Workforce significantly decreased in size due to the reduction of government personnel and outsourcing of tasks to contractors. This trend continued, despite an increasing acquisition workload, until 2009 when it became apparent that the acquisition workforce lacked the capacity and capability to adequately meet its growing demands.
In 2008, 57% of the acquisition workforce was eligible to retire within 10 years, yet the number of early career professionals were not sufficient to replace the capacity and capability of those professionals nearing or eligible for retirement.
Faced with this human capital situation, the Executive Branch and Members of Congress consequently recognized the need to restore DoD’s Acquisition Workforce. In order to restore, responsibly sustain, and continuously improve the quality of the acquisition workforce, sufficient and stable dedicated funding was required. To do this, Congress established the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund (DAWDF) with the FY 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The DAWDF provides funds, in addition to other funds that may already be available, for the recruitment, training, and retention of DoD acquisition personnel. The purpose of the Fund is to ensure the Department’s acquisition workforce has the capacity, in both personnel and skills, needed to properly perform its mission, provide appropriate oversight of contractor performance, and ensure the Department receives the best value for the expenditure of public resources.
The DAWDF can be used for a variety of initiatives to improve the acquisition workforce including hiring; training and career development; and recruiting, recognition and retention initiatives. Specific program details can be found in the DAWDF Desk Operating Guide.
The FY 2016 NDAA changes the DAWDF from a temporary fund to a permanent fund solidifying a tool that continues to help DoD sustain the high quality acquisition workforce needed to support the Warfighter.
Title 10 U.S.C. 1705 requires the Secretary of Defense to submit an annual report of the operation of the DAWDF; FY2008-2015 Annual Reports can be found on the HCI Policy page.