Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

David Petrillo, PhD


Air Force contracting officers rely on published guidance to assist in establishing their career objectives. This thesis uses empirical data to evaluate the published Air Force career guidance. The data set is comprised of complete duty histories from all active duty colonels, colonel selects, and general officers in the contracting career field. The guidance implies a career path to an exceptional career but provides no empirical validation. This thesis follows a rigorous procedure to objectively evaluate the Air Force guidance. The guidance is translated into 18 research questions based on its main tenets. Each duty occurrence is categorized by type of position, associated MAJCOM, staff category, education level, career broadening, and leadership level. The results suggest that officers in the data set exhibit conformance to the latter intervals of the comprehensive career guidance. However, conformance with individual tenants of the guidance varies depending on when the officer came into the contracting career field and how the duty occurrences were categorized.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number