Defense Acquisition University

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Defense Acquisition University
Other name
EstablishedOctober 22, 1991 (October 22, 1991)
Parent institution
US Federal Government, Department of Defense
AccreditationCOE, IAECT, ACE
Budget$220 Million
PresidentJames P. Woolsey
Vice-presidentFrank L. Kelley

The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) is a corporate university of the United States Department of Defense offering "acquisition, technology, and logistics" (AT&L) training to military and Federal civilian staff and Federal contractors.[1] DAU is headquartered in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and is accredited by the American Council on Education (ACE), International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).[2]


The University Charter was created in October 1991 by Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 5000.57. Originally a loose consortium of existing training commands, DAU worked to standardize the training courses and establish mechanisms that allowed for centralized management of training funds for the DoD workforce.

In the late 1990s, the consortium arrangement was replaced by a centralized structure, more like that of a corporate university. By 2014, DAU had grown to the point of graduating 181,970 students.[3]


DAU was headed by a Commandant until the year 2000 when it became a civilian institution, and since then the chief executive position has the title "President." DAU's Commandants and Presidents have included William L. Vincent (1991–1993), Claude M. Bolton (1993–1996), Richard A. Black (1996–1997), Leonard Vincent (1997–1999), Frank J. Anderson (1999–2010), Katrina McFarland (2011–2012), and James P. Woolsey (2013–present).[4]


DAU's Headquarters Building on the base of Fort Belvoir near Washington, DC

DAU is headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and serves the approximately 160,000 members of the defense acquisition workforce. DAU also has several other locations across the United States as well an online presence. These locations include:[5]

Admissions and costs[edit]

Applicants must have a current affiliation with the United States government in order to attend training courses offered by DAU. The United States Military Services and the DoD have internal registration and quotas for DAU instructor-led courses, while the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI) accepts applications and registers most non-DoD students.

U.S. Federal employees and defense contractors may attend DAU courses at no cost when space is available, and may enroll in DAU's Defense acquisition credential learning pathways, and in online courses. DAU charges tuition only to certain foreign students.[12]

Training and certificates[edit]

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) requires Defense Acquisition Workforce members to be certified for the positions they hold. DAU offers training courses for all Defense Acquisition Workforce members in 7 functional areas and at three certification levels.[13]

Functional Areas:

  • Auditing
  • Business:
    • Financial Management
    • Cost Estimating
  • Contracting
  • Engineering and Technical Management
  • Life Cycle Logistics
  • Program Management
  • Test and Evaluation

The American Council on Education (ACE) assigns ACE credits to various DAU courses. DAU coursework can apply toward college and university degrees and certificates at some partner institutions.[14]

Defense Acquisition Guide[edit]

The Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG) is a text developed to aid in the understanding and implementation of United States Department of Defense Acquisition practices under the DoD Directive 5000 series. This text, also available in web-accessed electronic format and web-structured HTML basis (see provides insight to a life cycle view and functional roles within the lifecycle of acquisitions.[15]

In 2002 the DOD 5000.2-R became the Interim Defense Acquisition Guidebook.[16]

Mission assistance[edit]

DAU instructors are available to consult and assist acquisition organizations in the design and review of processes and internal training when they are not teaching. They can also provide workshops and specific topic instruction in areas of interest or concern tailored to a specific organization.

Hacking incident[edit]

In July 2011 a hacking incident occurred affecting DAU's Web-based training site. This incident occurred on a vendor's network that provided the learning management system's underlying source code[17] and inhibited access to online courses for almost two months. While DAU was not hacked, U.S. Cyber Command (U.S. CYBERCOM) evaluated the risk level to DAU's system based on the incident that occurred on the vendor's network, and temporarily suspended online training courses to secure the system and protect students' personal information.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DAU Annual Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  2. ^ "DAU Accredited" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-01-12. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
  3. ^ "2014 Annual Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-23. Retrieved 2015-10-04.
  4. ^ "DAU Historical Leadership". Archived from the original on 2017-01-24. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
  5. ^ "Organization Chart" (PDF). Defense Acquisition University. 15 October 2021. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 June 2022. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Capital & Northeast Region (Fort Belvoir, VA )". Defense Acquisition University. Archived from the original on 28 September 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Defense Systems Management College (DSMC)". Defense Acquisition University. Archived from the original on 16 October 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  8. ^ "Mid-Atlantic Region (Patuxent River, MD)". Defense Acquisition University. Archived from the original on 10 August 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  9. ^ "South Region (Huntsville, AL)". Defense Acquisition University. Archived from the original on 23 September 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  10. ^ "Midwest Region (Kettering, OH)". Defense Acquisition University. Archived from the original on 23 September 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  11. ^ "West Region (San Diego, CA)". Defense Acquisition University. Archived from the original on 26 October 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  12. ^ "Eligibility and costs". Archived from the original on 2017-01-01. Retrieved 2015-10-03.
  13. ^ 10 U.S. Code Chapter 87 - DEFENSE ACQUISITION WORKFORCE
  14. ^ DAU website Archived 2010-06-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ DSMC Has Hot Topics for Everyone in Defense Acquisition!. Publications Department, Research and Information Division, Defense Systems Management College. 1992.
  16. ^ J. Ronald Fox (2011). Defense Acquisition Reform, 1960–2009 An Elusive Goal (PDF). CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY, UNITED STATES ARMY. ISBN 978-1780397887. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2020. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  17. ^ Bright, Peter (2011-07-12). "'Military Meltdown Monday' — 90K Military Usernames, Hashes Released". Wired. Retrieved 2013-10-13.

External links[edit]