DAWIA Certification Guide: Essential Tips for Success

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification is a crucial component of professional development for defense acquisition professionals. The DAWIA Certification and Development Guides offer comprehensive information on certification requirements, position category descriptions, and functional area changes, all designed to support and empower the defense acquisition workforce. These resources are provided by the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) to ensure service members and civilian personnel meet the necessary standards and requirements for their specific career fields, ultimately helping them excel in the acquisition process and deliver value to taxpayers.

Understanding the various DAWIA functional areas, such as acquisition strategy development, contracting, or logistics, is essential for those pursuing a career in defense acquisition. Consistent adherence to certification standards helps maintain a knowledgeable and skilled acquisition workforce that can effectively navigate the increasingly complex acquisition landscape. The “Back-to-Basics” approach modernized DAWIA by simplifying the certification process and reducing complexity while emphasizing critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership skills.

Key Takeaways

  • DAWIA certification guides help professionals navigate career requirements in the defense acquisition field
  • Understanding functional areas and certification standards is crucial for a skilled acquisition workforce
  • The “Back-to-Basics” approach simplifies the process and emphasizes essential skills for effective acquisition professionals

Understand DAWIA Certification

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification aims to develop and maintain a proficient and competent acquisition workforce within the United States Department of Defense (DoD). This certification ensures that individuals working in various acquisition positions have the proper training, education, and experience required to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

DAWIA certification is organized into three levels – Level I (Entry), Level II (Intermediate), and Level III (Advanced). Each level specifies the requirements and competencies expected from the acquisition professionals in their respective fields. To achieve certification, individuals must complete the mandatory training courses, meet the necessary job experience criteria, and fulfill the educational requirements.

To guide professionals through this certification process, the DAU iCatalog offers Certification & Development Guides for each functional area. These guides outline the detailed certification requirements, position category descriptions, key leadership positions, and functional area changes.

It is essential for acquisition professionals to stay up-to-date with the DAWIA certification requirements, as they are subject to change. For instance, the FY22 certification requirements took effect on February 1, 2022, replacing the previous FY21 version. Regular updates ensure that the workforce remains agile and capable of adapting to the evolving acquisition landscape.

In summary, the DAWIA certification is a critical component in maintaining a skilled and knowledgeable acquisition workforce within the DoD. By adhering to the guidelines provided by the Certification & Development Guides and staying informed about changes in requirements, professionals can effectively progress in their acquisition careers while contributing to the success of the defense acquisition system.

Dawia Functional Areas


The Engineering functional area within the DAWIA certification guide focuses on the development and application of technical solutions. It involves the design, integration, and management of systems to ensure the appropriate functionality and performance. Engineering professionals are responsible for the overall system performance, ensuring that the products delivered to the warfighters are effective, suitable, and reliable.


Contracting is another essential functional area in the DAWIA certification guide. It involves the acquisition of goods and services for the Department of Defense through various contract types and the management of these contracts. The contracting workforce must ensure that contracts are awarded and administered in compliance with laws, regulations, and policies to achieve the best value for the government and the warfighter.

Life Cycle Logistics

The Life Cycle Logistics functional area deals with the integrated management of logistical support throughout a system’s entire life cycle. It includes acquisition logistics, maintenance planning, and sustainment strategies. Professionals in this functional area coordinate and synchronize efforts to ensure efficient and effective logistics support for the warfighter, from the initial concept development through disposal.

Program Management

Program Management focuses on the strategic planning, organization, and execution of a program to deliver a capability to the warfighter. It involves the coordination of human, financial, and technical resources to achieve program objectives within the constraints of scope, cost, schedule, and performance. Program managers are responsible for leading cross-functional teams and making critical decisions related to risk management, stakeholder engagement, and performance measurement.

Test and Evaluation

The Test and Evaluation functional area ensures that defense systems and their components meet their intended performance requirements and operate in the intended environment. It involves the design, planning, execution, and reporting of test and evaluation activities to validate and verify system performance. Professionals in this functional area collaborate with other stakeholders to develop comprehensive test strategies and analyze results to inform decision-making and improve system capabilities.

Certification Standards

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification standards serve as a key component in ensuring that acquisition professionals possess the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully execute their duties. These standards, which are outlined within the DAWIA Certification & Core Plus Development Guides, are designed to align with the various acquisition career fields including Contracting, Program Management, and Engineering, among others.

Each career field has unique certification standards representing three main levels: Foundational, Practitioner, and Advanced. These levels help establish a clear progression path for professionals within the acquisition workforce. For example, professionals aiming for certification in Engineering must demonstrate competencies at the Foundational and Practitioner levels, while those in Contracting should achieve the Professional level.

In addition to the primary certification standards, DAWIA guides also highlight Core Plus development recommendations, which supplement core certification requirements with additional training and experience opportunities. While changes to certification standards generally occur on October 1st of each year, Core Plus components may be modified throughout the year.

The certification process is not solely about meeting specific training or experience requirements; it also emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and self-development. This is especially vital in an ever-evolving environment where acquisition professionals must adapt to new technologies, policies, and practices.

By adhering to DAWIA certification standards, acquisition professionals can enhance their proficiency in their respective career fields and better contribute to the overall success of defense acquisition programs. Emphasizing the importance of these standards supports the ongoing development of a highly skilled and capable workforce, ensuring that the defense acquisition community remains effective and efficient in meeting its mission-critical objectives.

Back-To-Basics Approach

The Department of Defense (DoD) introduced the Back-to-Basics (BtB) approach to modernize the implementation of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) by providing a 21st Century talent management framework. This initiative aims to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the DoD acquisition workforce by focusing on practical, experience-based training and streamlined certification processes.

The BtB approach emphasizes hands-on learning and simplifies the certification eligibility process to minimize training time while maximizing job performance. BtB Resources, available through the Defense Acquisition University (DAU), include certification eligibility tools, development guides, and functional area resources that address the up-to-date needs and requirements of the acquisition workforce.

As part of the BtB framework, the DoD began implementing the program in February 2022, offering a more targeted and time-effective approach to acquiring essential skills. This enables the acquisition workforce to focus on gaining practical experience that complements the theoretical knowledge provided during training. Moreover, the BtB approach ensures that previously earned DAWIA certifications will remain on an individual’s training history, providing a smooth transition for acquisition professionals.

In conclusion, the Back-to-Basics approach serves as a valuable asset in advancing the capabilities of the DoD acquisition workforce, offering a comprehensive and efficient framework that emphasizes hands-on learning and streamlined processes to better equip acquisition professionals.

Acquisition Workforce

The Defense Acquisition Workforce (DAW) plays a crucial role in the development, procurement, and management of military systems and technologies. Comprising both civilian and military personnel, this skilled group focuses on maintaining the United States’ defense capabilities while ensuring efficient use of resources.

One important aspect of the DAW is the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA), which mandates the establishment of education and training standards for acquisition workforce members. These standards require workforce personnel to attain specific certifications based on their career field and level. The DAWIA Certification & Core Plus Development Guides provide the necessary information for Defense Acquisition Workforce members to meet their position requirements.

These development guides outline training courses, experiential learning opportunities, and other resources tailored to each career field. Members seeking certification must master a range of knowledge, skills, and abilities pertinent to their functional area. Course offerings from the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) cater to these needs, providing up-to-date training for functional area assignments.

As a result, the acquisition workforce benefits from a comprehensive and structured professional development program that fosters expertise and competency within the defense acquisition community. By adhering to DAWIA guidelines and certification standards, these professionals ensure that the United States maintains a strong defense capability, safeguarding national security and upholding global interests.

Development and Training

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification guide focuses on providing comprehensive training and development opportunities to its workforce. The program emphasizes a combination of education, experience, and training to ensure that personnel develop the necessary skills and competencies for their career fields.

One of the main resources for DAWIA certification training is the DAU iCatalog. The iCatalog contains relevant information about certification requirements, position category descriptions, key leadership positions, and functional area changes. It offers various DAU courses and learning activities designed to meet the specific needs of different roles within the defense acquisition workforce.

DAWIA certification training includes a set of recommended courses and activities provided by the DAU. These courses cover a wide range of topics, from acquisition planning and strategy to cost estimation and financial management. In addition to DAU courses, the certification process also includes other training recommendations, such as continuous learning modules, workshops, and seminars.

Experience is another crucial component of the DAWIA certification guide. Hands-on experience in the respective career field allows individuals to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during education and training. The certification requirements often include practical experience, which further enhances competency in the relevant functional area.

In addition to training and experience, the DAWIA certification guide recognizes the importance of formal education. It encourages personnel to pursue higher education to further develop their knowledge and skills. In some cases, education may fulfill certain certification requirements or serve as a supplementary resource for enhancing expertise in specific areas.

In summary, the DAWIA certification guide focuses on a combination of education, experience, and training to develop a highly skilled and competent defense acquisition workforce. By utilizing resources like the DAU iCatalog and following the recommended training courses, personnel can meet their certification requirements and excel in their career fields.

Position Requirements

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification process requires understanding the specific position requirements in order to obtain a successful certification. Position requirements are determined by the acquisition career field and level assigned to the workforce member’s acquisition position. Meeting these requirements ensures that the individual possesses the necessary expertise and skills within their respective career fields.

DAWIA offers certification across various career fields such as program management, engineering, and contracting. These career field certification standards are dependent on the career field or path, and the level (I, II, or III) assigned to the workforce member’s acquisition position. Each level signifies a different proficiency level, with Level I representing entry-level knowledge and skills, Level II denoting intermediate expertise, and Level III indicating advanced mastery in the career field.

Functional area guides play a crucial role in providing the current certification standards needed for Defense Acquisition Workforce members to meet their position requirements. These guides also offer up-to-date training recommendations based on a specific functional area assignment type, ensuring that workforce members have access to the most relevant knowledge and training resources for their careers.

As a member of the Acquisition Workforce, individuals assigned to an acquisition designated position are responsible for meeting the DAWIA requirements of their position and maintaining currency in their career field. Regularly updating their knowledge and skills through training and certification is vital to remain competent and effective in their roles.

In summary, understanding position requirements for DAWIA certification involves a clear grasp of the acquisition career fields and levels, functional area guides, and up-to-date knowledge and skills. This ensures continuous personal development and career growth in the Defense Acquisition Workforce, contributing to the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the Department of Defense’s acquisition process.

Defense Acquisition University

The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) is a key institution responsible for the professional development of the defense acquisition workforce. They offer a vast range of training programs, including the DAWIA certification guide, which focuses on meeting the certification standards required of Defense Acquisition Workforce personnel. The DAU aims to provide a comprehensive learning environment to improve the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the acquisition field.

One of the major initiatives undertaken by DAU is the modernization of the implementation of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA). This initiative streamlines the certification framework and re-focuses training resources for the Defense Acquisition Workforce. It plays a crucial role in developing a 21st-century talent management framework that supports the needs of the Department of Defense.

The DAWIA Certification & Core Plus Development Guides offered by DAU represent the most current career field certification standards depending on the career field, path, and level assigned to a workforce member’s acquisition position. These functional area guides ensure that Defense Acquisition Workforce members meet the necessary position requirements while providing up-to-date training recommendations specific to their functional area assignments.

An additional resource provided by DAU is the Defense Acquisition Magazine, which aims to foster a greater understanding of the acquisition process while sharing knowledge and best practices within the community. The magazine offers articles, interviews, and insights from various experts, which can be beneficial for both certified professionals and those seeking to obtain their DAWIA certification.

In conclusion, the Defense Acquisition University plays a vital role in providing the necessary resources and guidance for the continuous improvement and development of the defense acquisition workforce. Through their comprehensive DAWIA certification guide, training programs, and knowledge-sharing platforms like the Defense Acquisition Magazine, DAU empowers professionals to excel in their respective fields and contribute to the overall success of defense acquisition.

Service and Support

The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) offers comprehensive services and support to its students and members of the acquisition workforce pursuing DAWIA certification. This includes access to resources like the DAWIA Certification & Core Plus Development Guides, which provide information on certification standards, training, and educational resources.

To further assist acquisition personnel, DAU maintains an easy-to-navigate platform with up-to-date information on DAWIA requirements. Within this platform, users can choose from a variety of guides covering different functional areas and career fields. These guides offer in-depth information on certification requirements, core plus training, and developmental recommendations to help individuals progress in their careers.

For those requiring additional assistance, DAU offers a responsive customer service function. This includes a Help Center where individuals can find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and submit inquiries to the support team. DAU’s dedication to providing reliable support ensures a smooth, hassle-free certification process for its users.

In conclusion , the Defense Acquisition University’s attention to service and support is essential in promoting the success of acquisition workforce members pursuing their DAWIA certifications. By providing accessible resources, up-to-date information, and responsive customer service, DAU empowers individuals to efficiently navigate the certification process and excel in their careers.

Career Fields and Recommendations

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) focuses on enhancing the skills and knowledge of acquisition professionals in various career fields. As part of this initiative, DAWIA provides certification and core plus development guides, which outline the requirements and recommendations for workforce personnel in each of these career fields.

The DAWIA Career Field Certifications are designed to address a range of functional areas, including acquisition, logistics, engineering, and program management. Each career field has specific certification standards and developmental recommendations tailored for its particular functions. These recommendations are intended to help workforce members achieve professional development and growth within their respective areas of expertise.

To meet the certification requirements in each career field, personnel must complete specific training courses and gain relevant work experience. They must also demonstrate their proficiency in various competences that are critical to the effective performance of their acquisition position. The Certification & Core Plus Development Guides provide up-to-date training recommendations for each functional area, ensuring personnel have access to the most current information and resources to further their expertise.

It is essential that acquisition workforce personnel adhere to the DAWIA certification standards, as these guides define the fundamental knowledge, skills, and abilities required for their career field. By doing so, they not only improve their individual performance but also contribute to the overall success of the defense acquisition system.

In conclusion, the DAWIA certification guide is an invaluable resource for acquisition workforce personnel who seek to enhance their expertise and advance in their chosen career fields. By following the developmental recommendations outlined in the guides, employees can gain valuable skills and knowledge, ultimately making them more effective in their positions and contributing to the success of the defense acquisition process.

Acquisition Process

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification plays a crucial role in the acquisition process, ensuring that professionals within the defense industry have the necessary knowledge and skills to manage complex projects. One of the key aspects of the acquisition process involves the participation of business advisors, who provide essential guidance on project management, cost estimation, and risk assessment.

The DAWIA certification guide outlines the requirements and standards for different career levels, ranging from entry-level to expert practitioners. These certifications help to standardize competencies and ensure that individuals meet the necessary qualifications to excel in their designated roles.

Business advisors play a pivotal role in navigating the acquisition process, ensuring that project objectives align with budget constraints and compliance requirements. Their input is invaluable in streamlining decision-making processes and providing strategic guidance on resource allocation.

Within the acquisition process, business advisors aid in the development of acquisition strategies, helping project managers identify potential risks and areas for cost savings. This involves critical analysis of project documentation, contracts, and financial data to provide informed recommendations on procurement actions.

In conclusion, the DAWIA certification guide is a comprehensive resource for individuals within the defense acquisition workforce, offering a clear roadmap for career development and upskilling. The acquisition process is a complex and multifaceted endeavor, where business advisors play a critical role in maximizing value and efficiency for defense projects. By adhering to the DAWIA certification standards, professionals are well-equipped to achieve success in their roles and contribute to the overall effectiveness of the defense acquisition process.

Utilizing Tools and Resources

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification process requires a deep understanding of the various tools and resources available to efficiently navigate the certification landscape. The iCatalog is an essential asset that provides DAWIA Certification & Development Guides for each functional area, ensuring workforce members are well-equipped with the necessary knowledge for their certification journey.

Accessing the iCatalog allows individuals to explore various Continuous Learning Points (CLPs) opportunities. CLPs play a crucial role in maintaining and enhancing acquisition professionals’ capabilities by providing training, education, and development resources. It is essential that workforce members acquire the mandated number of CLPs per certification level to demonstrate their commitment towards advancing their skillsets.

While navigating the certification process, it is vital to stay up-to-date with the DAWIA Career Field Certifications which contain information on certification requirements, position category descriptions, and functional area changes. Moreover, the Back-to-Basics initiative further streamlines and modernizes the certification process by outlining improved functionalities and introducing new functional areas.

In summary, leveraging the available tools and resources significantly assists in achieving the desired DAWIA certifications effectively. By utilizing the iCatalog, adhering to CLP requirements, and staying informed about certification updates, acquisition professionals can confidently and efficiently navigate through the certification process.

Value For Taxpayers

The DAWIA Certification Guide plays a vital role in ensuring the efficient use of taxpayer dollars in the defense acquisition process. By setting education and training standards for acquisition workforce members, the guide helps ensure that professionals responsible for managing defense-related contracts have the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively negotiate the best deals for the warfighter and the taxpayer.

One of the ways the guide promotes efficient use of taxpayer dollars is by outlining specific certification standards and core plus development recommendations for each career field within the acquisition workforce. These standards, based on relevant experience, education, and training, provide a clear path for individuals to excel in their roles, consequently ensuring the workforce remains highly skilled and capable of making sound decisions.

As contracting professionals are entrusted with leveraging taxpayer funds to support the Department of Defense (DoD) mission, the importance of the DAWIA certification cannot be overstated. Contracting professionals work as overall business advisors to DoD acquisition teams, instilling fairness and integrity in the acquisition process while upholding the principles of prudent stewardship of public money.

In conclusion, the DAWIA Certification Guide contributes significantly to the value taxpayers receive in defense acquisition. Its standards help foster a well-trained and knowledgeable workforce, resulting in efficient use of taxpayer dollars and ultimately, better support for the nation’s warfighters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process for obtaining DAWIA certification?

The process for obtaining DAWIA certification involves completing the required training courses, obtaining the necessary experience, and applying for certification. The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) has developed a Certification Eligibility Tool to help individuals determine their eligibility for DAWIA certification based on their experience and training.

What are the requirements for each certification level?

There are three certification levels within the DAWIA framework: Level I, Level II, and Level III. Level I is the basic level, where professionals meet the minimum mandatory requirements for their specific career field. Level II professionals are considered skilled in their career field, while Level III professionals are advanced experts. The requirements for each level may vary depending on the career field, but typically involve a combination of training courses, experience, and education.

How can civilians access DAU courses?

Civilians can access DAU courses by registering and creating an account through the DAU website. Once registered, individuals can search for available courses and apply for them through the DAU’s online system. Course availability and priorities may vary based on the individual’s organization and position, but many courses are open to both military and civilian personnel.

What is the role of DAU iCatalog in DAWIA certification?

The DAU iCatalog provides comprehensive information on all DAU courses, including the requirements for each DAWIA certification level. The iCatalog serves as a centralized resource for individuals seeking information on the courses and certifications needed to further their career in the defense acquisition field. It contains the most up-to-date information on course offerings, prerequisites, and certification requirements.

Are there any costs associated with the certification process?

There is generally no cost for the certification process, as DAU courses are typically funded by the Department of Defense. However, there may be associated travel or lodging expenses for attending in-person courses or workshops, which could vary depending on the individual’s organization and location.

How do I apply for equivalency or fulfill specific ‘Back-to-Basics’ requirements?

To apply for equivalency or to meet the specific ‘Back-to-Basics’ requirements, individuals should first consult the DAWIA Certification & Development Guide for their career field. This guide provides information on the required training and experience, as well as the process for applying for equivalency or fulfillment. In some cases, an individual’s previous training, education, or experience may be considered equivalent to DAU courses or requirements, allowing them to bypass certain steps in the certification process.

Helpful Resources

Navigating the scholarship landscape can often be overwhelming, but there's no need to go through it alone. Scholarship Owl offers a supportive platform that can help simplify your search by matching you with scholarships suited to your unique situation. By consolidating numerous scholarship opportunities into one place, it provides a significant time-saving benefit, allowing you to focus more on your studies and less on the search. If you're looking to streamline the scholarship application process, Scholarship Owl may be a valuable tool in your educational journey.


Leave a Comment