Action to fill a position begins any time after a manager reasonably expects a position in his/her organization to become vacant. This can be as late as the day the supervisor receives official word from the CPAC that the employee is leaving, or can start prior to that. The supervisor can begin action to fill at the time he/she hears an employee will leave. As soon as management hears that an employee might leave managment should notify the personnel specialist responsible for staffing the position. In that way the CPAC can walk through the steps necessary to fill the job, and can begin early recruitment, which is necessary if it is a "hard-to-fill" position such as a nurse, engineer, or unique equipment specialist.
When it is officially known that an employee will be leaving, a supervisor begins the formal process of replacing an employee by completing an SF 52, Request For Personnel Action (RPA). Within DA, an RPA is normally prepared and transmitted in electronic format using the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System (DCPDS). Once the supervisor obtains all the approvals required to fill the position, the RPA is submitted to the servicing Civilian Personnel Operations Center (CPOC).