Acquisition workforce needs own category, analyst says

The new government series should include program management, contracting officers, and a new function named 'requirements management'

Federal officials should create a single employment series for government acquisition employees, matching the structure of the workforce to the nature of the work, a former procurement official has said.

The new government series should include program management, contracting officers and a new function called “requirements management,” which, in essence, would be “a professionalized super COTR,” or contracting officer’s technical representative, David Litman, a member of the board of directors at the Federal Acquisition Innovation and Reform Institute, wrote in a recent paper titled “A Call to Restructure the Acquisition Workforce.”

The series would build a team mentality, he wrote. Currently, contract specialists are in the 1102 series, and acquisition program managers have no dedicated series, although they have unique training and certifications.

Meanwhile, COTRs are often taken from the ranks of technical staff and their training on monitoring contracts helps little, wrote Litman, former senior procurement executive for the Transportation Department and former chairman of the Federal Chief Acquisition Officers Council’s Human Capital Working Group.

Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, said Litman's approach is on the right track. It emphasizes that acquisition includes more than just signing contracts, he said. It's also about defining requirements before issuing a solicitation, and about managing the contract after the award.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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