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-RDA > Acquisition Workforce > Certification Levels
Certification Levels

There are several factors to consider when determining the certification level for acquisition positions. Certification levels should not be based solely on the position’s grade or rank, but on the direct influence and accountability for Defense acquisition programs. Table 8-1, provides guidance for determining certification levels. Note: With the exception of KLPs, military certification levels are still tied to the grade of the position to which assigned.

  • Level III (Advanced)
    • Military Positions - This level is required for all KLPs, CAPs, O-5 and O-6 positions, and positions in the SPRDE-PSE career field.
    • Civilian Positions - This level is required for all KLPs, CAPs, and positions in the SPRDE-PSE career field.
    • For other positions, this level is typically assigned to positions located in organizations with a major acquisition mission, e.g. the systems commands.
    • Level III would be appropriate for acquisition technical experts whose duties require a high level of knowledge and skills associated with major defense acquisition programs. For example, a GS-12/13 working in an ACAT I and II program office may require a Level III designation whereas a GS-14 (or equivalent) working in an Echelon III or IV activity may require Level I or II.
  • Level II (Intermediate)
    • Military Positions - This level is required for all O-4 positions.
    • This may also be assigned to positions in the Naval Acquisition Contracting Officer (NACO) and the Naval Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) Developmental Programs.
    • This level (or Level I) may be assigned to Enlisted acquisition positions at the E-4 grade level and above if in Contracting, and E-6 and above if other than Contracting.
    • Civilian Positions - This level is appropriate for those in Intern development programs and journeymen or senior positions (non-KLP/CAP) that need an intermediate level of acquisition knowledge and skills.
    • For example, Level II would be appropriate for a GS-14/15 manager working in a Warfare Center or field activity who has subordinate acquisition technical experts.
  • Level I (Basic)
    • Military Positions - This level is required for all O-1 through O-3 positions (see exceptions for NACO and ILS Developmental Programs identified in Level II above).
    • This level (or Level II) may also be assigned to Enlisted positions at the E-4 grade level and above if in Contracting, and E-6 and above if other than Contracting.
    • For other positions, this level is typically assigned to positions located in organizations with a major acquisition mission, e.g. the systems commands.
    • Civilian Positions - Basic certification standards are designated to establish fundamental qualifications and expertise in the individual’s career field. It is appropriate for entry level and other positions that require a basic knowledge of the acquisition systems.
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