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Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition,
Technology and Logistics – Human Capital Initiatives


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.

Bathtub Chart

Overall Defense Acquisition Workforce (DAWF) – Civilian Retirement Eligibility Distribution End-FY08 versus End-FY17 Q1. 

The x-axis shows the number of years to retirement and the y-axis is civilian workforce count.  The chart is additionally broken down by three larger sections: early career (20+ years to retirement eligibility), mid-career (11-20 years to retirement eligibility), and senior career (within 10 years to retirement eligibility).

Overall Early career states for FY08 at 19.8% and for FY17 Q1 at 26% of civilian workforce.
The civilian workforce is narrowed down further, the graph shows: 25 years to Retirement at 14,464 (13%) for FY08, and at 17,907 (12.3%) for FY17 Q1, while 21-25 years to retirement is at 7,461 (6.7%) for FY08 and at 20,058 (13.7%) for FY17 Q1, furthermore 16-20 years to retirement is at 9,539 (8.6%) for FY08 and at 18,281 (12.5%) for FY17 Q1. 

Overall Mid-career states FY08 at 23.2% and FY17 Q1 at 24.8% of civilian workforce.
The civilian workforce is narrowed down further, the graph shows: 11-20 years to retirement eligibility at 16,182 (14.6%) for FY08 and 17,944 (12.3%) for FY17 Q1, while the 6-10 years to Retirement is at 22,982 (20.7%) for FY08 and at 21,171 (14.5%) for FY17 Q1.

Overall senior career states FY08 at 57.1% and FY17 Q1 at 49.2% of civilian workforce. 
The civilian workforce is narrowed down further, the graph shows: 1-5 years to retirement at 21,315 (19.2%) for FY08 and at 25,894 (17.7%) for FY17 Q1, while retirement eligible is at 19,051 (17.2%) for FY08 and at 24,719 (16.9%) for FY17 Q1.

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.