DoD Civilian Acquisition Career
Start your career by doing something meaningful. Work alongside the best and brightest minds in the Department of Defense to innovate, challenge, inspire, and deliver products that support America's armed forces and sustains America's influence abroad. Define your future with a civilian acquisition career in the DoD.
What is Acquisition?
DoD Acquisition is explained as the mission and process involved in the procurement of weapons, systems, supplies, or services to satisfy DoD needs and support military operations. The acquisition process encompasses a range of phases such as: research, design, engineering, manufacturing, technology, testing, deployment, sustainment, operation, and disposal. To execute the acquisition and sustainment mission, members of the acquisition workforce require the education, skills and knowledge to perform many occupations, i.e. program manager, engineer, digital technology, financial manager, contract officer, logistician, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is defense acquisition?
Defense acquisition professionals manage the investments of the United States in technologies, programs, products and services necessary to achieve the National Defense Strategy and to support the United States Armed Forces - Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen. Across 15 career fields, over 174,000 professionals "make a difference" working with the private sector to design, develop, test, produce, deploy, sustain, and modify all the systems, supplies, and services necessary to meet mission needs across the Department of Defense.
If I apply for a job with the Department of Defense, does that mean I need to go to boot camp?
Nope! The Department of Defense acquisition workforce employs nearly 150,000 civilians in non-military jobs, ranging from engineering and IT to program management, contracting and business. No boot camp required.
I’m getting a Liberal Arts degree. Is there an acquisition career in the Department of Defense for me?
Absolutely! There are fifteen different career fields in defense acquisition. While some of them, like engineering, are geared toward STEM fields, others like business—financial management and life cycle logistics are open to all degree fields.
How do I apply for Federal jobs with the Department of Defense?
USAJOBS.gov is your one-stop shop for applying for jobs with the Federal government, including the Department of Defense.
What basic qualifications are required to apply?
The basic qualifications statement on each job announcement describes the type of credentials and experience a candidate is required to have in order to be considered for that particular opportunity. When completing your application, make sure your resume accurately reflects the skills and requirements listed.
How long after submitting my application should I expect to wait before hearing from someone?
Each agency varies, but you’ll typically hear back within 15-30 days after the job announcement closes. If you haven’t heard back from the agency after 30 days, reach out to the point of contact listed in the job announcement.
Do you offer paid internships?
While the Department of Defense currently doesn’t have a centralized internship program, we do offer paid internship opportunities through the various acquisition commands, labs, and warfare centers. Check out USAJOBS.gov to see the latest internship position openings across the Department of Defense.
How will my career progress if I start off in an entry-level position?
Typically all Acquisition Career Development Program positions start at the General Schedule-7 (GS-7) level with promotion potential to the GS-12 level. Individuals with directly-related advanced educational degrees or specialized experience may be eligible to start at the GS-9 level. Learn more on our Entry-Level Career Ladder info sheet.
Does the Department of Defense offer tuition assistance or student loan repayment?
Yes, the Department of Defense offers the potential for federal student loan repayment and/or reimbursement for graduate school tuition. These are typically offered as a recruitment incentive, so be sure to check the job specifications and ask!
Do I need to be a U.S. Citizen?
Yes, Department of Defense civilian positions are only open to U.S. citizens.
Do I need to get a security clearance?
The interests of national security require that all persons privileged to be employed in the departments and agencies of the government shall be reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and of complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States. This means that the appointment of each civilian employee in any department or agency of the government is subject to investigation. The scope of the investigation will vary, depending on the nature of the position and the degree of harm that an individual in that position could cause. The requirement to be investigated applies whether or not the position requires a security clearance (in order to have access to classified national security information). Read more about the National Background Investigations Bureau at NBIB.OPM.GOV.