This article discusses who needs to obtain and maintain Facilities Engineering (FE) credentialing; why FE certification is necessary and provides information on how to earn the FE certifications.
In the Defense Department (DoD), acquisition professionals are required to obtain increasing levels of Defense Acquisition University certification as part of their career path. Moreover, it is a condition of employment. DAU certification has led to a more uniformed and standardized level of knowledge, skills and experience in the acquisition field.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is joining the Acquisition Work Force (AWF) program and implementing Facilities Engineering (FE) certification requirements for selected technical professionals.
The Defense Acquisition University, DAU for short, is an accredited university run by DoD. DAU offers training to DoD personnel, both military and civilian. It was founded in 1992 and specializes in acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L) training. The University is located at Fort Belvoir, Va., but many courses can be taken online or satellite locations. DAU is open to federal government employees and military, while defense contractors and international students may attend on a space-available basis.
DAWIA Creates New Career Field
The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) legislation was passed in 1990, affecting the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Tri-Service Executive Board designated a new career field requiring specific education, training and experience. DAWIA applies to all USACE employees who worked in the facilities acquisition area as an FE.
Who is Affected
USACE employees working in design, construction, life cycle maintenance or facilities may be required to obtain FE certification. Hiring officials along with civilian personnel specialists will add FE Certification levels to position descriptions and add this as a condition of employment for future hiring actions.
Why FE Certification is Important
According to Brigadier General Mark Toy, the former Commander of South Pacific Division, "FE certification will arm USACE professionals with the tools and agility to deal with today's challenges and prepare for tomorrow in our mission to strengthen the Nation's security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters. Just one more way we are building strong and taking care of people across the entire USACE Enterprise!"
There are benefits of being in an FE-coded position. USACE has expedited hiring authority for AWF members. AWF members can also tap into Defense Acquisition Workforce Development funds for training. These benefits can include: tuition assistance, master's degree programs at the Naval Postgraduate School, Federal Executive Institute, Leadership for a Democratic Society, White House fellowships and Senior Service College opportunities, as well as access to the student loan repayment program.
Levels of FE Certification
There are three levels of FE certification: Level I is the lowest level and focuses on the GS-5 through GS-8 levels. Level I FE (FE-I) professionals are required to have at a minimum a bachelor's degree in engineering, architecture, physics, chemistry, mathematics, community planning, business or a related field. For DAWAIA certification, the minimum standard is successful completion of ACQ 101 (Fundamentals of Systems Acquisition Management) and one year of acquisition experience in the facilities engineering field.
GS-9 through GS-12 employees are expected to obtain FE-II. For DAWAI certification, FE-II, the minimum standard is successful completion of FE 201 (Intermediate Facilities Engineering) and two years of acquisition experience.
GS-13 and above FE professionals are expected to obtain FE-III. The minimum standard for FE-III is the completion of the resident FE 302 (Advanced Facilities Engineering) within 24 months of assignment at this level and four years of acquisition experience in a facilities engineering field.
How to Get FE Certification
DAU offers courses, workshops, and seminars; provides consulting and gives individual one-on-one leadership development for program managers and program executive officers. Getting FE certified begins with determining if your position is coded for FE.
FE certification is critical to FE professionals. It provides a basic level of knowledge across the force as well as a pathway for continuous learning. FE certification will help USACE employees’ progress in their career fields and prepare them to provide engineering solutions for our Nation's toughest challenges now and in the future.
For more information on the career gateway for Facilities Engineering professionals visit https://dap.dau.mil/career/fe/Pages/Default.aspx. This link will help you explore the courses offered and provide additional links to the FE body of knowledge.
Stewart Fearon is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.