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    What is the role of the functional unit / program manager in the acquisition planning and strategy? What is the contracting officer's role? Can the contracting officer dictate to the program management how to do business and what procurement avenues to take?


    We find the answer to your questions deeply rooted in the Guiding Principles located in FAR 1.102.  We have included the following statements for your review.  “The vision for the Federal Acquisition System is to deliver on a timely basis the best value product or service to the customer, while maintaining the public’s trust and fulfilling public policy objectives. Participants in the acquisition process should work together as a team and be empowered to make decisions within their area of responsibility.  The Acquisition Team consists of all participants in Government acquisition including not only representatives of the technical, supply, and procurement communities but also the customers they serve, and the contractors who provide the products and services.  The role of each member of the Acquisition Team is to exercise personal initiative and sound business judgment in providing the best value product or service to meet the customer’s needs.  Government members of the Team must be empowered to make acquisition decisions within their areas of responsibility, including selection, negotiation, and administration of contracts consistent with the Guiding Principles. In particular, the contracting officer must have the authority to the maximum extent practicable and consistent with law, to determine the application of rules, regulations, and policies, on a specific contract.”

    “Contracting officers should take the lead in encouraging business process innovations and ensuring that business decisions are sound.”

    As an example, you asked about contract type. FAR 16.104, states that there are many factors that the contracting officer should consider in selecting and negotiating the contract type. This is an excellent area for collaboration with the acquisition team to consider market availability, price competition, complexity, urgency, period of performance, subcontracting opportunities and acquisition history.

    Although a lengthy response to your question, the FAR Guiding Principles clearly encourage a collaborative, multi-functional team to work together to provide best value product and services to our customers.

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