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The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, the Honorable Ellen Lord, hosted the inaugural Early Career Workshop at the Pentagon recently. The goal of the workshop was to gain an operational perspective of what is working well and what can be improved by engaging a select subset of the acquisition workforce. Topics included talent mobility, attracting and retaining talent through work-life balance initiatives, and accountability.

The 19 workshop participants represents over 38,000 members of the early career acquisition workforce. The workshop will serve as a change initiative platform for the early career workforce (5-10 years in service), and launches a continuous engagement strategy that purposely involves them in shaping their role in the future of acquisition. 

The participants were “by name” selected by their Service Acquisition Executives and 4th Estate leadership to participate in the workshop. 

Feedback from this critical subset of the acquisition workforce showed that they want to play a role in shaping the future of Defense acquisition. The workshop and outbrief to the senior leadership was done with that opportunity in mind. 

Under Secretary Lord thanked the workshop participants, “Each of you represent the finest in DOD’s acquisition workforce. Your involvement in change and your recommendations are exactly what we need moving forward.”

Mr. José Gonzalez, Acquisition and Sustainment Director, Human Capital Initiatives (HCI) continued. “This workshop is only a first step, we plan to deliberately engage this sector of the workforce through additional workshops and other opportunities. The participants will continue as a cohort and an extension of the HCI office to lead change initiatives and to assess broad acquisition reforms.” 

For additional information, visit the HCI website at or contact the HCI team at