The American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) is excited to update the Certified Defense Financial Manager (CDFM) and CDFM with Acquisition Specialty (CDFM-A) certification examinations! Here’s a summary of the process that has taken place up to this point.

The first major step in the exam update process was to conduct a new Job Task Analysis (JTA), which is a survey of people in the profession to identify the performance domains and associated tasks, knowledge, and/or skills of the profession. The JTA is critical, because it serves as a legally-defensible foundation upon which the exam content is built.

In April and May 2023, HumRRO (the Human Resources Research Organization), ASMC’s partner in exam development, conducted Job Analysis workshops to identify significant changes to the Module 1, 2, 3, & 4 exam blueprint specifications. The updated blueprint knowledge statements were pulled into a Job Task Analysis survey (JTA).

June 21 through July 7, 2023, the JTA was distributed far and wide to capture diverse responses from all DFM stakeholders. HumRRO then updated the Module 1-4 exam blueprint specifications per the survey feedback. In late July, an Exam Blueprint Update Committee was convened to make final adjustments to the blueprints. On August 23, 2023, the ASMC Certification Commission approved the updated blueprints.

Over the course of September and October 2023, almost 60 actively-certified CDFMs and CDFM-As contributed 676 hours to write 330 new exam questions (“items”) and review over 1,100 items (800 in the current item bank plus the new items). In November 2023, new and revised items were pulled into four pilot tests–one for each module. Actively-certified CDFMs and CDFM-As took pilot tests between December 18, 2023, and January 22, 2024. The data gathered from the pilot tests was analyzed to assess item quality. The items that met certification industry performance standards were then assembled into their respective Module 1, 2, 3, & 4 exam forms.

On January 8, 2024, we posted an official announcement that the Mod 1-4 exams will be updated with an expected launch date of late spring 2024.

The Latest Scoop! — March 21, 2024

In February 2024, 50 subject matter experts each spent 9.5 to 14 hours providing feedback to help determine appropriate passing scores for the Mod 1-4 exams. HumRRO applied psychometric best practices to determine recommended passing scores for the exams. On March 11, the ASMC Certification Commission decided on the passing scores for the exams.

The final step is to prepare and upload the new exam forms to the Pearson VUE testing platform and run extensive quality assurance tests to ensure that all aspects of the exams are working properly.

The updated exams will be available on May 29, 2024. The current and updated exams will be available concurrently from May 29 – September 30, 2024. The current/old exams will be permanently retired on September 30, 2024. See our 2024 Exam Update page to view the 2024 CDFM & CDFM-A Exam Blueprints and detailed information about the transition from the old exams to the updated exams.

Questions? Please contact

We are so grateful to all the amazing subject matter experts (SMEs) who contributed their valuable time and expertise to the exam update! The contributions and collaboration of SMEs are essential to capturing a holistic picture of what it means to be a Certified Financial Manager, ensuring that the CDFM exams remain relevant, fair, and legally defensible.

Volunteer Opportunities

Job Task Analysis Survey — COMPLETED
This opportunity involves completing a 1-hour survey to rate how relevant and important each pre-developed knowledge statement is for a Defense Financial Manager. The knowledge statement ratings will be used in generating the CDFM and CDFM-A exams. Your expertise and insight will help us ensure a rigorous and high-quality examination.

Exam Blueprint Update — COMPLETED
Once the Job Task Analysis Survey is completed, there will be a 3-hour virtual workshop where SMEs will collaborate with other Defense Financial Management experts to review the CDFM and CDFM-A exam blueprints. This will ensure the questions we develop are representative and inclusive of the Certified Defense Financial Manager role.

Item Bank Review — COMPLETED
Actively-certified CDFMs and CDFM-As on the Item Bank Review Committee will review existing CDFM exam questions (“items”) to identify items that need to be revised or retired.

New Exam Question Writing — COMPLETED
Actively-certified CDFMs and CDFM-As on the Item Bank Review Committee will develop CDFM and CDFM-A exam questions (“items”). Item development will take place virtually and will include training SMEs on how to write high-quality items. Each SME will then be given writing assignments.

Exam Question Review — COMPLETED
After exam questions are developed, actively-certified CDFMs and CDFM-As on the New Item Review Committee will review the questions for accuracy, relevance, and criticality to defense FM professionals.

Pilot Testing — COMPLETED
Newly-written and revised exam questions (“items”) will be pilot tested by actively-certified CDFMs and CDFM-As. The resulting data will help us assess whether the items are working as intended before adding them to the live exams.

Form Assembly and Review — COMPLETED
Items that pass the rigorous pilot testing and review processes will be added to the exams, and items that did not meet our standards will be removed. The updated forms will be reviewed by active CDFMs and CDFM-As on our Form Review Committee as an additional measure of quality assurance.

Standard Setting — COMPLETED
HumRRO’s test development experts will guide a Standard Setting Committee, consisting of active CDFMs and CDFM-As, in evaluating an appropriate cut score for each exam form. The cut scores will then be presented to the ASMC Certification Commission for approval.

Exam Publishing (not a SME task) — IN PROGRESS

The new exam forms will be uploaded to the Pearson VUE testing platform and extensive quality assurance tests will be run to ensure that all aspects of the exams are working properly.


Importance of SMEs in Exam Development

  • It is critical to have SME collaboration throughout the CDFM certification exam development process.
  • Your time and willingness to participate is a crucial factor in ensuring that the exam adheres to a scientifically rigorous process that is valid, reliable, and legally defensible.

Benefits of Participating

  • Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits are awarded for participation.
  • Contributing in tangible and meaningful ways to the Defense Financial Management field.
  • Ensuring accurate and representative content on the CDFM exams.
  • Allowing your thoughts, experiences, and perspectives to be represented in the CDFM exams.

Timeline & Commitment

  • Subject matter expert volunteering began in February 2023.
  • Some activities are done individually, while others are completed as a group.
  • Time commitments can range anywhere from 1 hour to multi-day sessions depending on the task.

How to Sign Up
If you would like to participate in future exam updates, please complete the SME Background Questionnaire here: One of our team members will reach out to you to discuss the next steps if you are selected to participate as a SME volunteer.

How to Ask Questions
Please reach out to us at if you have any questions.