Mapping the U.S. DOD Acquisition Ecosystem

Dive deep into the defense acquisition process and the defense industrial base in this new one-day course.

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At a Glance

Course Date

September 19, 2023


CSIS Headquarters or Virtual



Registration Deadline

September 5, 2023


The Washington, D.C. defense policy community is a robust ecosystem with frequent new entrants at every level. For government personnel, there are numerous sources for training on acquisition, often focused on developing acquisition management skills on the way to formal DAWIA certification. However, these assets are not always accessible to those without U.S. government affiliation; the ecosystem lacks an overview of defense acquisition available to the broader community. Join the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group (DIIG) and Executive Education for a one-day course that fills this niche by providing an overview of acquisition, including topics such as setting contract requirements, the formal acquisition process, a historical overview of how we got to the current state of play, and timely topics which may include export controls, inflation, industrial base competition, rare earth elements, and data rights.


Foundations of Acquisition

This first session will introduce the foundations of the U.S. acquisition system: the appropriations process, acquisition regulations, and contracting mechanisms.  There will be a focus on the Planning, Programing, Budget, and Execution (PPBE) Process, relevant regulations like FAR and DFAR, and types of contract vehicles like Firm-Fixed Price. 

The Defense Industrial Base

The second session will provide an overview of the U.S. defense industrial base (DIB) with a focus on how it has evolved and how the government documents procurement through both front and back-end management. This session will also delve into the major players and primes of the DIB in addition to the challenges for small businesses entering the market. 

Putting it Into Practice

The third session will include exercises where participants can learn about the acquisition process through representing different stakeholders in the acquisition system. This session will also provide a deeper look in the history of the U.S. acquisition system including centralization and decentralization cycles. 

Current Debates

The final session will highlight the timely trends and hurdles within the U.S. acquisition system and supply chain. Topics discussed may include emerging tech, software acquisition, inflation, IP and data rights, and critical materials.

How to Register

The online application includes a short entry form, statement of interest, brief bio, and resume. Entries will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Please note that spaces are limited and the course may fill before the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered.


For more information on the course, please contact Maylene Shanbrom, Learning and Development Associateat

Cynthia Cook
Director, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group and Senior Fellow, International Security Program
Gregory Sanders
Deputy Director and Fellow, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group