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Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)


Senior Acquisition Leadership Training (SALT)

Become a rising leader in the acquisition workforce

On this page:
About the Program  |  Timeline and Location  |  Eligibility Requirements  |  Process for Applying  |  Informational Webinar  |  Frequently Asked Questions  |  Fact Sheet  |  Video

About the Program

This cohort-based development program for supervisory 1102s is designed to move the emphasis from technical to leadership competencies, creating leaders who are agile, understand themselves and others, think critically and strategically to get results, effectively communicate, are able to manage and lead change, and can lead from where they are now while readying themselves for the future.  The program provides a multimodal experience of instructor-led courses, web-based training, social learning platforms, interactive real-world application, and culminates in a Capstone project centered on applying program content and developmental learning skills to address an existent HCA-sponsored, contracting leadership challenge.  Throughout the SALT Program, there are also numerous opportunities for cross-organizational information exchange, peer relationship-building, direct engagement with Senior Executives as teachers, and ongoing collaboration and innovation.

SALT is fully funded for those VA participants who satisfactorily complete the program and abide by the terms of the Continued Service Agreement (CSA).  For non-VA participants, tuition ($11,100) is due no later than October 1, 2018.  Travel costs for four (4) trips to VAAA will be funded by the agencies in accordance with established regulations.

Apply now to the elite SALT Program.

Get Ready to Propel Your Career Forward:  SALT Goals

  • Mission 1:  Understanding Self and Others
    Evaluate the importance of building constructive and effective relationships with people at all levels, and apply your understanding of self and others toward enhancing your leadership style and organizational reach.  Assess your EQ360© assessment results with a certified EQ360 coach to recognize your strengths and development areas as it relates to relationships with others.
  • Mission 2:  Thinking Strategically to Get Results
    Develop strategic thinking and problem solving skills in 1102 situations to effectively anticipate, manage, assess, and improve performance.  Apply new innovation and creativity techniques to expand solutions that promote one vision and mission, organizational learning among all stakeholders, and improve culture as a leader within your organization.
  • Mission 3:  Words and Strategies in Action: Turning Challenges into Opportunities
    Employ learning agility, the systems thinking approach, and emotional awareness to develop and execute communication techniques to implement solutions and manage change, while transforming negative perceptions into positive outcomes.  Enlist advocates to further cultivate opportunities and communicate across diverse stakeholders in a way that solicits buy-in and motivates others to deliver the desired change.
  • Mission 4:  Your Leadership Legacy and Capstone
    Reflect upon the program period, equipped to confidently take steps forward as a leader with actionable short-term and long-term plans to succeed in your contracting responsibilities.  The program concludes with a benchmarking expedition to model the key leadership competencies students now possess.  You will conclude your week honing your capstone presentation and paper with your team face-to-face and then present your solutions to distinguished contracting senior leaders and sponsors.

Program Outcomes:  What You’ll Walk Away With

  • An individualized EQ360© development assessment, coupled with expert coaching.  The Emotional Quotient (EQ360©) component informs the individual of their ability to recognize and manage emotions when interacting with others, a critical skillset for contracting.
  • A connection with Senior Leaders as Teachers to gain relevant leadership perspective from their real experiences.
  • A keen awareness of your leadership style and tips for working effectively with others across the organization to get results.
  • Through strategic thinking, gain deeper insights into organizational and business principles, systems, and strategies needed to drive results and create a positive culture within the contracting profession and your organization specifically.
  • A more nuanced understanding of and targeted approach to stakeholder communications and change management, aligned with broader mission-oriented goals.
  • A strategic leadership perspective characterized by leadership and learning agility, enabling you to act quickly and effectively in new, challenging leadership environments.
  • Potential to network with students from other organizations.

Apply Now:  Please download the Application Form.

SALT Classroom

Feedback from SALT Cohort Members

  • “I enjoyed sharing some of the similar problems faced in our organizations and how we go about developing solutions from our own individual vantage points.”
  • “I loved the energy and ideas on incorporating topics to actual practices.”
  • “Great to be in a program where everyone can relate to each other! This enhances the learning process!”
  • “I find the opportunity to reflect inward and the use of the EQ360© feedback very beneficial.”
  • “My learning experience was phenomenal.  My thresholds of learning were expanded and enhanced by the overall quality of instruction and classroom discussion.”
Timeline and Location of Program

SALT 2017 class standing in front of a shuttle

Two Cohorts each comprised of no more than 30 students (no hybrids allowed), running eight months (October 2018 – May 2019), totaling approximately 220 CLPs.

Onsite sessions meet at the Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA), 7485 New Horizon Way, Frederick, MD 21703.

  • Cohort 1 Onsite Sessions
    • Mission 1:  October 10, 2018 - October 19, 2018
    • Mission 2:  December 10, 2018 - December 14, 2018
    • Mission 3:  March 11, 2019 - March 15, 2019
    • Mission 4 (Capstone Presentation and Graduation):  May 20, 2019 - May 24, 2019
  • Cohort 2 Onsite Sessions
    • Mission 1:  October 31, 2018 - November 9, 2018
    • Mission 2:  January 7, 2019 - January 11, 2019
    • Mission 3:  March 25, 2019 - March 29, 2019
    • Mission 4 (Capstone Presentation and Graduation):  May 20, 2019 - May 24, 2019
  • Virtual Component
    • Intermittent virtual training between October 2018 and April 2019 may be completed from your desk
    • 40 – 60 hours total of virtual learning will be comprised of independent assignments, virtual classroom sessions, and Capstone project work outside of on-site training
Eligibility Requirements

Enrollment in SALT is open to select, high-performing GS-1102s who meet the following qualifications:

  • Minimum 1102 contracting experience of June 2016 - June 2018 at your current agency (organization could change; a minimum of two consecutive years required)
  • FAC-C Level III or Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) equivalent if Department of Defense (DOD)), attained and maintained throughout the program
  • GS Levels 13 through 15
  • Currently in an official supervisory position*

* In the event the applicant is not a supervisor, but meets all other SALT eligibility requirements, he/she may still apply to the SALT Program provided an Endorsing Official, one level above the applicant’s supervisor, recommends the candidate for approval.  For VA applicants:  If that Endorsing Official is the HCA, he/she will be identified on the application and no additional signature/commentary is required as the HCA will ultimately select the best qualified SALT applicants based on evaluation criteria.

Process for Applying and Selection
  1. Application Process
    1. Complete and compile your application package (including application form, resume and resume cover page, electronic copy of FAC-C Level III Certificate or DAWIA equivalent, supervisor recommendation, and an endorsing official recommendation if applicable).
    2. Submit the complete application package to the VAAA SALT Program Team via email (
  2. Evaluation of VA Applicants:  HCAs will make an endorsement determination.  SALT applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by late August 2018.
  3. Evaluation of non-VA Applicants:  Please follow your agency’s guidance for evaluation and selection of SALT candidates.  The SALT program will notify all selectees by late August 2018.

View the Frequently Asked Questions.

Apply Now:  Please download the Application Form.

Application Deadline

Application packages must be submitted by 4:00pm (Eastern) on Thursday, June 28, 2018 via email (

Join us for upcoming SALT Informational Webinar!

To learn more about SALT and to seek clarification on program guidelines, please join us at one of the following webinars:

Additional webinars to follow – check back here for more details!

Please download and complete the Application Form.