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DAU: Driving Efficiency Through People
Senior leadership support and commitment enabled DAU, tied for No. 2 in Chief Learning Officer magazine’s 2012 LearningElite, to meet the critical training needs of a growing workforce.
Defense Acquisition University (DAU) President Katrina McFarland (center) stands with the DAU learning team outside the DAU campus in Fort Belvoir, Va.
During a time of budget cuts, the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) defense acquisition workforce — for which the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) provides training — has stepped up hiring efforts, with a goal to increase the workforce by 20,000, in accord with a growth strategy set by senior leadership. The strategy aims to restore capability and capacity to the workforce, which has shrunk during the last decade.
“DAU played a key role in the department’s efforts to restore the defense acquisition workforce and provided critical training targeting job effectiveness and efficiency to the existing and the new members joining the workforce,” said Chris Hardy, director of the Global Learning and Technology Center at DAU.
The secretary of defense instructed all DoD components and agencies to initiate cost savings. However, DAU was exempt from initial budget reductions.
“[This was] to ensure we are fully invested in the training and education of the very people we depend on to find savings and efficiencies in our acquisition programs every day,” Hardy said. “With quality training, we can save the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars and still provide our war fighter with the best equipment and services in the world.”
The workforce has become increasingly dependent on DAU to perform its jobs at a high level. Hardy said learning technologies, tools and methodologies continue to evolve rapidly, and DAU’s learning on demand assets have been integrated into its culture. This is critical because the stakes are so high — DAU’s bottom line is the country’s security.
“The DoD acquisition mission represents the largest buying enterprise in the world,” Hardy said. “Today there are 102 major defense acquisition programs with an investment of more than $1.6 trillion that keep our military second to none [because] in this business we cannot afford to be second. Thus, DAU’s learning and development success will not only have a huge financial impact through smart workforce business process and savings, but will also impact the United States’ capability to defend the free world.”
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