Analyst: Acquisition workforce needs retooling

Federal officials need to create a single employment series for government acquisition employees that matches the structure of the workforce to the nature of the work, a former procurement official said last week.

The acquisition series should encompass program management, contracting officers and a new function called requirements management, which, in essence, would be an expanded version of a contracting officer’s technical representative (COTR), said David Litman, a member of the board of directors at the Federal Acquisition Innovation and Reform Institute.

Folding all the players into one series would build a team mentality among members of the acquisition workforce, Litman wrote in a paper titled “A Call to Restructure the Acquisition Workforce.”

“Contract specialists are included in the 1102 series with their own specialized training and certification programs,” he wrote. “Acquisition program managers have no dedicated series…although they do have their own unique training and certification requirements.”

Meanwhile, COTRs are often plucked reluctantly from the ranks of the technical staff, and the training they receive is of little help in defining contract requirements upfront, wrote Litman, former senior procurement executive at 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 — it's also about defining requirements before issuing a solicitation and managing the contract after an award, Soloway said.

About the Author

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

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Mon, Aug 3, 2009 Jim Ellison FT Huachuca, AZ

Dear Mr.Matthew Weigelt, RE: Acquisition workforce needs retooling Great article! Recently retiring (2 Jan 09/FT Huachuca, AZ) from civil service, and performing as a COR for the past 14 years, COTR/TPOCs for engineering services task orders was and continues to be challenge for the contracting officers. It would be my pleasure to share some firsthand knowledge! Sincerely Jim Ellison

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group