Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Paul W. Thurston, PhD


This study examined the strategic goals that were the basis for the DoDs implementation of mandatory certification for individuals serving in the contracting career field of the acquisition workforce. The study then went on to enlist panels of contracting experts to assess the extent to which two of the available certification programs meet, or fail to meet, those goals. The research method employed to gather input from experts was a Delphi discussion technique. Two separate panels, one consisting of Air Force civilian employees, the other of Air Force active duty officers, participated in eight Delphi iterations facilitated by the researcher. The initial iteration required the experts to answer seven open-ended questions regarding certification requirements. Once the researcher confirmed the experts were focusing on the strategic value of certification, the subsequent iterations were used to identify and allow comment on areas of disagreement both within and between groups. The primary impact of this study was that it identified many important issues that require attention before the certification programs will be able to fulfill the strategic objectives. Overall, the experts believed the NCMA CPCM to be a truly professional certification, indicative of an individual's professional status and level of development, while the Air Force's APDP certification process was seen as more of a tracking device for training and education rather than a program that enhances professional development.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number