May 2021 – CLEP Certification Program
The underlying purpose of CLEP is to promote professional development within the defense logistics industry. I think I’m on safe ground in writing that our community has fragmented training, and numerous ideas on what constitutes a lifecycle logistics career path. In some ways this is inevitable, considering the broad scope of defense lifecycle logistics comprising twelve disparate but inter-related elements. Some practitioners become focused in one specific element as a career path, others work across all twelve. There’s a need for both specialists and generalists career paths in this industry. But the broad sweep of skills these career paths cover makes a training task analysis challenging.
There are a number of well-established professional organizations that focus on different logistics elements, usually oriented to commercial practices. The Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) and the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Specialists (SMRP) are examples of leading organizations in their respective fields. These two organizations each focus on single elements within the defense lifecycle framework, and offer excellent training resources for practitioners specializing in a specific element. Their training programs are excellent and include formal certifications that document expertise.
Cross-Disciplinary Lifecycle Logistics Certifications
For those of us working across all elements – for example Integrated Product Support (IPS) Managers on an acquisition program – cross-disciplinary training across all the elements has been limited. We have the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) and their world-class training opportunities, focused on program management. The Department of Homeland Security is also building up their training offerings through the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI), with courses focused on their specific missions. Both organizations offer certifications and a structure for career paths within lifecycle logistics.
Yet within defense lifecycle logistics the certifications these two organizations offer are limited to Government workers specifically coded for acquisition programs. Contractors have been excluded from officially claiming a certification level even though the coursework is available. This is where CLEP is aiming to fill a vital need.
CLEP’s Defense Lifecycle Logistics Certifications
This past January, CLEP launched our Defense Lifecycle Logistics Certification Program. The focus of our program is to award formal certifications to members of the defense logistics community, recognizing their attained level of expertise. Our program is built off DAU training programs and closely mirrors their certification levels. However, we are not formally aligned or affiliated with DAU. During our planning stage, we did discuss our plans with DAU representatives to confirm there were no legal issues involved with building a certification program using their coursework. As a publicly-funded government organization, anyone who has valid access to DAU (people working for the government or as a government contractor) may take their courses.
CLEP’s role is to act as a certifying body for defense logistics workers who cannot qualify for DAU certifications. The certifications we offer recognize DAU’s coursework, and we add our own requirements for work experience and continuing education to maintain certifications. To our knowledge, CLEP is presently the only organization to offer lifecycle logistics certifications based upon DAU coursework.
Naturally, we have have a few growing pains implementing a first-of-its-kind certification program. Although our leadership team spent most of last year working on development of this program, we were hit with un-anticipated issues from the moment we launched. Almost like an actual logistics acquisition program. We’ve been working through these issues and modifying our processes as they appear. The training content on our website reflects the current state of our certification program.
The Training FAQs page on our website in particular reflects issues we’ve grappled with to date. The questions/answers here reflect information that do not fit content of other training programs webpages. Training-focused webpages have been reworked several times since January to reflect changes as we fine tune our processes. Despite our growing pains, we have already seen some positive results.
Certification Award Successes
Last month we awarded our first Defense Lifecycle Logistics Level Three Certification (the highest certification level) to Mr. Mike “Bo” Gurley. Bo has been a fixture within the Defense Logistics Industry for many years, and CLEP is very proud he chose to attain our certification. We’ve also awarded our first Defense Lifecycle Level One Certification to Mr. Jonathan Hatch. Jon is CLEP’s Administration Vice-President and recently transitioned from active duty in the US Army to civilian life. He’s chosen to build his new career in lifecycle logistics and is actively pursuing additional logistics-related training.
We’ve seen a lot of interest in our certification program, based upon inquiries and webpage hits. If you are interested, and have questions or concerns, please contact us. Our VP-Education Vijay Chachra is our primary point of contact for all issues related to our certification program. Vijay heads a small ad-hoc group composed of board members and board of advisor members who discuss and resolve all certification issues. Any questions that result in a change to implementation receive special recognition as a FAQ question/answer.
We feel we’re offering a real value to the Defense Lifecycle Logistics Community with our certification program. If you would like to check out our training programs, please start on the Training Page of our website. I look forward to seeing more members receiving CLEP certifications.