Agencies sign pact to strengthen acquisition training

computer and books

OFPP and GSA will strengthen their commitment to FAI. (Stock image)

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the General Services Administration signed a service-level agreement March 21 to strengthen their cooperation and commitment to the Federal Acquisition Institute.

"GSA is uniquely qualified to provide the day-to-day management of FAI, so this agreement will ensure that FAI is able to meet the needs of the acquisition community in the years ahead," OFPP Administrator Joe Jordan told FCW.

Jordan and acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini agreed to use FAI to deliver training to the civilian acquisition workforce. The agreement is an internal document officially marking the partnership between GSA and OFPP regarding FAI.

The institute has been an important training resource for both agencies since it was established in 1976. Jordan said that in the past year, FAI has increased the quality of its training and expanded the ways in which it delivers that training. Since his confirmation as administrator in 2012, he has stressed the need for improving the acquisition workforce’s skills, as had his predecessor, Dan Gordon.

In an interview, Jordan said he wants to achieve a "mindset shift" among acquisition employees so they will be less concerned about taking risks and begin thinking more innovatively.

"There’s no doubt that over time it seems like our acquisition system has become very risk-averse, and I understand why," Jordan said in an interview with FedScoop. "There’s a lot of robust oversight and that’s good, but I don’t like where that’s taken us in terms of minimizing risk instead of managing risk."

On March 19, Tangherlini told House appropriators that agencies need to find new ways to train their acquisition employees because so many conferences have been canceled. The casualties include the 2013 GSA Expo, where agencies’ employees and even vendors receive a lot of training in numerous areas. GSA recently canceled the SmartPay Conference scheduled for this summer, eliminating an opportunity for feds to learn how to manage their federal credit card purchases.

"I’m worried, though, that we’re going to lose a year of training, so we’re working very hard to make sure training is available via the Web or other means," Tangherlini said.

About the Author

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

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Sun, Mar 24, 2013 Jaime Gracia Washington, DC

Is there a monetary commitment with this SLA?Should we not be preparing all acquisition workers (which I include program managers) equally to perform effectively through proper financial investments? We can talk all day about people, but until a financial investment is slated and properly used to educate and develop the acquisition workforce, we will continue to go experience gaps in skill sets and capabilities. Not a silver bullet of course, but educating 1102s on effective and proper practices on how best to execute their missions is important nonetheless. Based on fewer opportunities to attend conferences, classes (in some cases mandatory for certification), and overall training and development, we can expect to go backwards in how we award and manage contracts. Not a particularly welcome prospect.

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