Good life cycle logisticians intuitively understand that we cannot successfully operate in a functionally “stove-piped” world. To be effective, we must understand the broader world in which we operate. Indeed, I would contend career broadening, interdisciplinary understanding, and cross-functional integration must be foundational tenets of our professional development. Within the broader DoD logistics domain, as a minimum, that would include understanding supply chain management, including the foundational areas of maintenance, maintenance planning, and maintenance management, as well as supply management and transportation/distribution. This, of course, is by no means a new idea: indeed, it is an integral component of the DoD Logsitics Human Capital Strategy (HCS), which very clearly articulates the need for what the strategy calls "multi-faceted Enterprise Logisticians."
Just as importantly, within the broader acquisition domain, it includes a robust understanding of DoD acquisition processes, policy, and management, as well as cognizance of areas such as systems engineering, program management, contracting, test & evaluation, cost estimating, financial management, and requirements management, among others.
So how to "put some shoe leather" on this? Seize every opportunity to learn more about these other functional domains. In the acquisition arena, life cycle logisticians are already afforded the opportunity to learn about the broader acquisition and product support world in which we must live and successfully operate:
· ACQ 101 Fundamentals of Systems Acquisition Management
· SYS 101 Fundamentals of Systems Planning, Research, Development, and Engineering
· ACQ 201A Intermediate Systems Acquisition, Part A
· ACQ 201B Intermediate Systems Acquisition, Part B
· And one of the following:
o ACQ 265 Mission-Focused Services Acquisition
o BCF 215 Operating and Support Cost Analysis
o LOG 204 Configuration Management
o RQM 110 Core Concepts for Requirements Management
But don’t stop there! While a good start, avail yourself of the plethora of other interdisciplinary, cross-functional distance learning and classroom courses , continuous learning modules, ACQuipedia articles, and communities of practices. Or consider pursuing cross-certification in one or more of another acquisition career field.
Not only will your situational awareness be improved, but you will quickly find that your professional credibility, expertise, and on-the-job effectiveness will be significantly enhanced as well. So I would encourage you to get out of your comfort zone. Go above and beyond. Make yourself invaluable. Become a recognized expert. View professional development as an opportunity rather than a requirement. Embrace interdisciplinary learning as a lifetime endeavor. Recognize DAWIA certification requirements as an important starting point -- a threshold rather than an ultimate end-state objective. You’ll be the better for it. So will your team, your organization/ program, and your Service.