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Air Force Materiel Command news service (Feb 27, 2006): acquisition career track may be redirected.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- Bringing more engineers into the Air Force acquisition career field is a priority for Air Force Materiel Command's top officer.

Gen. Bruce Carlson, AFMC commander, discussed this topic and other issues with 170 people attending the 2006 U.S. Air Force Acquisition Leaders Forum. The event was held in Charlotte, N.C., Feb. 15 to 17.

The forum brought together acquisition wing and group commanders, as well as key staff, to talk about how the Air Force develops and maintains its warfighting capabilities.

Carlson said one of his goals is to get more technically qualified young people into Air Force acquisition positions.

"We need to recruit more people with technical degrees, such as mechanical or aerospace engineers," the general said. "When I walk through a program office and ask the program manager a question, I want him or her to have the technical background to be able to answer me instead of finding someone else to answer my question.

"Right now, we're lacking people who are both technically and operationally astute," he said. "Ideally, I'd like to develop a pool of young officers who begin their Air Force careers in acquisition assignments. When they become captains, they're given an operational assignment to learn that aspect of the Air Force mission. Then, a few years later, they return to acquisition positions."

Another acquisition-related point made by Carlson was the shift in terms of who has a technological advantage.

"In years past, we had a technological advantage over other countries," he said. "We don't have that luxury anymore. Other countries, such as Germany and China, are on par with us. Today the world is the market for technology. The edge goes to whoever can develop, integrate, package, and produce that technology the fastest." As the Air Force major command responsible for providing acquisition management services and logistics support necessary to keep Air Force weapon systems operational, AFMC plays a key role in providing that technological edge.

Scaggs is with Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs.
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Title Annotation:Career Development
Author:Scaggs, John
Publication:Defense AT & L
Date:Jul 1, 2006
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