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Improving CBP’s Acquisition Workforce, Pt. 1

I was hired into CBP’s SBI program office in July of 2010, without any real idea of what “acquisition” meant or how it was practiced. My supervisor told me that I was the “acquisition workforce development officer,” a title that I later discovered existed only in his head.

I do have to make a disclaimer: I spent about five years as a junior officer in the Army, so I considered all training to be “training.” I quickly found out that I was very, very wrong. Not only did I manage to upset our admin division, I also discovered that the acquisition workforce is a special subset of the federal workforce, with its own needs, goals, and terminology.

So if I’m still a relative newbie, why write this blog? Well, now that I know a few things, I’m working with a team of acquisition professionals from all offices in CBP (with a lot of help from DHS) to help improve our acquisition workforce. We’ve agreed that we all need to work together to make CBP’s acquisition community the shining example for the rest of DHS…and maybe the the best of the non-DoD acquisition community.

So there’s two reasons for this blog: first, to share our findings with the rest of the federal community, so that you hopefully don’t have to experience the pains that we’re going through (you’re welcome). We also want to share our thoughts, goals, theories, and ideas with the entire community to get your feedback, which may save us from having to re-invent the wheel. After all, we’ve found that 90% of what we need is out there; we just need to corral it all into one place.

So stay tuned…next up, CBP’s structure, and the way all the key acquisition offices interact with each other.

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Profile Photo Laura Bennett

Thanks for writing this blog. I used to work for a CBP vendor and immensely enjoyed supporting the mission and our work. I also participated in the DHS VOS at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in February and am excited to see these changes in how CBP interacts with the business community. Can’t wait for the next blog!

Profile Photo Peter G. Tuttle

Good luck on your blog. My only unsolicited advice for the moment is to continue to reach out to acquisition professionals outside of DHS and also to those in industry for their perspectives as well. Obviously, you must deal with your agency’s “culture,” but you will discover that the expanded community of acquisition professionals can provide a great deal of value to any discussion/debate. Cheers. Pete