1. Has DOD and DOE gone to a centralized COR system?
2. Is there an advantage of a centralized COR system vs a PM also serving as COR on mostly fairly small efforts?
Question 1) No, the Department of Defense has not as a matter of policy gone to a centralized COR system. I do not know about DOE. That said, there are a very few minor instances of organizations choosing to experiment with a centralized COR program; the Missile Defense Agency is one example.
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Personally, I don’t think that model works well. In summary – here’s why. The reason we contract out in the first place is because we have a gap in the mission. The unit/organization that has the gap in their mission needing the contract vehicle is often more knowledgeable to define the requirement and develop the requirements package. Having the COR come from that organization and be involved in the pre-award tasks (acq planning, market research, defining/developing the SOW/PWS, etc.) is invaluable. They are then infinitely more knowledgeable about the contract once it is awarded and will know if the contract is not doing what it was intended… helping to meet the mission. Also, missions are not static, they change. Having the COR come from the unit/org the contract supports helps when missions change (the contract may need to be modified). I could go on and on, but I won’t.
Question 2) I partially answered this above. Many organizations within DoD have non Defense Acquisition Workforce personnel serve as both PM and COR. This actually serves both the requiring activity and the contracting office very, very well. The contract is put into place in order to help the requiring activity meet its mission. The more the COR knows about the mission and contract requirement (PM type role) the more they will know if contract performance is adequately helping to meet the mission needs. In the event it is not, corrective action and changes can be discussed with the contracting officer sooner, rather than later. Defense Acquisition Workforce (DAW) Program Managers: acquisitions or procurements that fall under FAR/DFARS 34/234 (as well as DoD 5000 series Instruction and Manuals) do not need a COR. Because they have a systems program office (SPO) of many DAW personnel who are trained and experiences in the acquisition and contract oversight process.