Obama wants money to help agency contracting shops

The acquisition workforce is part of the Obama administration's efforts to put control back into the hands of federal employees

President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $16.9 million to go into the Federal Acquisition Workforce Initiatives Fund.

In his fiscal 2012 budget proposal, Obama wants $7.9 million for various areas of managing the workforce, such as training curriculum, employees’ certifications and career development. Also, $5 million would go for recruiting and keeping acquisition workforce employees. The rest of the money would help to gather information and knowledge from workers to pass along important lessons from experienced employees and to train managers.

The relatively new fund received no funding in fiscal 2010. The administration asked for $24.9 million in fiscal 2011, although Congress did not pass the appropriations bill. Nevertheless, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $17 million for the fund.


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The acquisition workforce is a key part of the Obama administration’s efforts to put the control of government operations back into the hands of federal employees instead of relying heavily on private-sector companies.

Although spending has doubled in eight years, the size of the acquisition workforce, which negotiates and manages the contracts, remained relatively flat.

The government now is attempting to use its size to leverage better prices from companies and making vendors compete for work.

“These efforts have instilled a new sense of fiscal responsibility that has stopped the costly and unsustainable growth in spending on contracting,” the budget states.

The administration has decreased spending on contracts between 2009 and 2010 for the first time since the 1997. The administration also continues to insource work from companies, bringing the work in-house for government employees to do as agencies continue their operations.

“To sustain these improvements, this budget includes resources focused on developing and retaining the acquisition workforce,” according to the budget.

About the Author

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

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