Acquisition

Memo on CAOs addresses weaknesses

Joe Jordan

Joe Jordan seeks to clarify the place of the chief acquisition officer within federal agencies.

Joe Jordan, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, issued a memo Oct. 18 to clarify roles of the chief acquisition officer, but an expert said that it offers little new.

Jordan issued the memo as a follow-up to a Government Accountability Office report from July. GAO found many departments do not have documents defining the CAO’s duties. As a result they may lack a strong basis for more permanently including the CAO within their organizational leadership structure, GAO concluded. In addition, the amount of detail on an agency’s CAO’s authorities and responsibilities varies greatly based on the agency’s Federal Acquisition Regulation supplement and other policy documentation.


Resources:

Read Joe Jordan's memo here

Read the GAO report

In the memo, Jordan wrote that CAOs should work closely with their senior procurement executives (SPEs) on four areas:

  • Buying smarter, such as using governmentwide strategic sourcing contracts and reducing duplicative contracts.
  • Strengthening the acquisition workforce to have buyers who can define a contract’s requirements, negotiate well, and manage contracts after awarding them. Furthermore, CAO and SPEs should work with the chief human capital officer and principal program managers to create annual Acquisition Human Capital Plans.
  • Building the right supplier relationships to have a strong, ethical and dynamic industrial base. CAOs need to improve past performance assessments and increase the transparency of contractor business integrity data so the agency works with reputable firms, Jordan wrote. They also need to pay attention to small businesses.
  • Advancing mission performance by working closely with chief operating officers, performance improvement officers and program managers, who depend heavily on acquisition, to align acquisition goals with the agency’s mission.

Jordan also wrote that agencies should update their internal management policies to clearly define CAO and SPE roles and responsibilities.

Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal Business Partners, said the four themes Jordan listed in the memo are nothing more than what the Obama administration has been saying since 2009. Dan Gordon, Jordan’s predecessor at OFPP, focused on similar themes.

Overall, “it won’t have a big impact on day-to-day operations,” Allen said.

About the Author

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

Rising Stars

Meet 21 early-career leaders who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • SEC Chairman Jay Clayton

    SEC owns up to 2016 breach

    A key database of financial information was breached in 2016, possibly in support of insider trading, said the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DOD looks to get aggressive about cloud adoption

    Defense leaders and Congress are looking to encourage more aggressive cloud policies and prod reluctant agencies to embrace experimentation and risk-taking.

  • Shutterstock / Pictofigo

    The next big thing in IT procurement

    Steve Kelman talks to the agencies that have embraced tech demos in their acquisition efforts -- and urges others in government to give it a try.

  • broken lock

    DHS bans Kaspersky from federal systems

    The Department of Homeland Security banned the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab’s products from federal agencies in a new binding operational directive.

  • man planning layoffs

    USDA looks to cut CIOs as part of reorg

    The Department of Agriculture is looking to cut down on the number of agency CIOs in the name of efficiency and better communication across mission areas.

  • What's next for agency cyber efforts?

    Ninety days after the Trump administration's executive order, FCW sat down with agency cyber leaders to discuss what’s changing.

Reader comments

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