OFPP to set requirements on acquisition workforce

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy is putting the finishing touches on a memo that would establish a governmentwide framework to define the federal acquisition workforce and the qualifications for contracting officers, project managers and others.

The memo, which chief acquisition officers are commenting on, would require civilian agencies to adopt many of the same training, experience and education requirements that the Defense Department uses under the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act of 1991. OFPP has been working on this memo since last summer.

'The workforce has to change to meet the new way we are buying things,' said Mike Sade, the Commerce Department's chief acquisition officer. 'One of the things we realized is that it takes a collective group to make a procurement a success. Acquisition needs to be more broadly defined to include IT, finance and other disciplines.'

The memo, which would take effect April 1, said the acquisition workforce can include anyone involved in acquisition strategy or planning, anyone who establishes or manages business arrangements, and lawyers or subject matter experts.

OFPP would charge the CAO with establishing and running an acquisition career management program, including identifying the workforce and budget strategies.

The Federal Acquisition Institute also must develop acquisition certification programs and by October 2006 recommend a certification program for project and program managers. FAI shall work with the CIO, chief financial officers and CAO councils to design the program, the memo said.

Agencies then would have until Jan. 1, 2007, to identify employees subject to the project and program manager requirements and establish a timeline for them to obtain certification.

The memo also reiterates the need for agencies to request separate acquisition training funds in their annual budget requests.

By Oct. 1, 2006, agencies must put all their acquisition workforce information into the Acquisition Career Management Information System. ACMIS will use the information in the Enterprise Human Resources Integration system for workforce planning.

'We need to do a better job positioning ourselves to train and retain acquisition workers,' Sade said at a recent lunch sponsored by the Association for Federal Information Resource Managers in Washington.

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