what should a contractor keep in mind when he/she enters into a contract subject to approval by higher authority?
A contractor should keep in mind that there are limits to the authority of contracting officers and organizations. These limits may be imposed by FAR, service supplements and local policy. Limitations such as higher approval authority are based on dollar value or contract type or both. The items or services purchased may be subject to higher authority also. The FAR names higher authority approvers as - the level above the contracting officer; the head of the contract activity (the command); or, even the agency head (Army, Navy or Air Force). Sometimes the Secretary of Defense is the approver.
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These approvals are internal to the US Government and a good contractor will know the approval steps. Since it is an internal matter, so most contractors should have no need to know who the approver will be. Contractors should be informed that the preaward approval process is working and if there are questions or changes in the stated plans, they will be appropriately informed. The contract approval process is our internal business. Avoid telling contractors too much about our internal requirements. Some contractors think if they insert themselves into the process (excessive inquiries or phone calls) that they can influence or accelerate the process. This sometimes causing havoc. The contract approval process is inherently internal government business!
All the contractors need to know about higher level approvals is that we will comply with government regulations, policies and mandates to secure the needed approvals.