By Capt Shawna Matthys and Capt Richard Hanberg

Navigating the acquisition spectrum can be a difficult endeavor. Our roadmap to success is constantly changing due to rapidly evolving mission requirements and unique leader-ship challenges, all while operating within an increasingly resource constrained environment. Succeeding in such a dynamic and uncertain environment requires us all to be experts within our own career fields, while being savvy enough to act as a bridge to our supporting career fields. Operating across the entire acquisition spectrum isn’t a task that a single person can accomplish alone.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a forum where individuals facing the same challenges could gather to discuss acquisition specific topics? A forum where we could hone our own training, tactics, and procedures applicable to the acquisitions battlefield? This is a problem set that a small group of CGO’s set out to tackle in Fall 2014. How can we, individually, contribute to success and help influence the acquisition environment? The results of these discussions led to the establishment of an informal professional organization whose purpose was to foster a community focused on professional development, information sharing, networking and innovation across the acquisitions spectrum. This small organization has quickly expanded over the past year to become the Acquisitions Officer Association (AOA), and welcomes all military and civilians in the acquisition career field.

AOA targets all military and civilian career fields that impact the acquisitions environment. The community is a diverse grouping of combat enablers whose goal is to deliver superior air, space, and cyber capabilities to our warfighters. The AOA mission is to help develop acquisitions professionals, foster innovation, and to strengthen the collaborative net-work that is unique to our mission set.

AOA provides a central forum where acquirers, across all career fields, can gather and share successes, failures, and lessons learned. What sets this organization apart from others is that it focuses on acquisitions specific issues and encourages change within the acquisition environment. Topics range from the sharing of program successes/failures, Materiel Leader guided mentorship, professional development updates, acquisition policy updates, and general topics that a particular organization or base are facing. Its sole purpose is to spur growth and innovation within our own career field by sharing ideas and expanding our communications network. In less than a year, with the support of the central AOA forum, multiple base-level chapters have sprung up across the country and AOA continues to expand.

AOA Chapters are currently operating at Eglin, Hanscom, Hill, Los Angeles AFB, Maxwell-Gunter, Robins, and Wright-Patterson. If you are interested in joining one of these Chapters as a member or mentor, interested in establishing a Chapter at a Base or Organization not currently represented, or willing to help stand up the AOA National Headquarters in the National Capital Region, please contact