OFPP, FAI launch new acquisition training and certification

Joanie Newhart

OFPP's Joanie Newhart said the new curriculum stresses areas where contracting professionals have asked for more guidance.

The Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting has not been updated since 2008, but that's about to change -- and the revised FAC-C will include specialized training for IT procurement.

A May 7 memo from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy outlined the new certification, and OFPP Associate Administrator Joanie Newhart and Tony Grayson, acquisition program executive at the Federal Acquisition Institute, detailed the curriculum and the thinking behind it during a May 13 presentation at FOSE.

"Nobody's happier than I am that this certification has been issued," Newhart said. The old FAC-C is general and lacks a specific course on Federal Acquisition Regulation fundamentals -- whereas the Defense Department's Defense Acquisition University has long offered such training, along with a wide range of advanced coursework.

The revised FAC-C, which takes effect Oct. 1, aligns more closely with the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act curriculum. And it includes a four-week class, CON-090, that Grayson described as "deep FAR immersion."

More from FOSE

News and notes: May 14

Public-private group envisions 'acquisition of the future'

The state of cloud security

Plus: GCN, FCW's sister publication covering technology, tools and tactics for public sector IT, is covering FOSE in even greater detail. Get all the GCN coverage here.

"We felt like DOD was getting better training than the civilian folks, and we wanted to address that. Contracting is contracting is contracting," Newhart said, adding that "the closer we are together, the more mobile our workforces are.... We want to make sure that everyone has the training and the skills to buy what's best for the government."

In addition to expanding the curriculum, the new FAC-C targets a broader pool of federal workers. All contracting officers and all other contracting professionals in the 1102 categorization must now be certified. Previously, FAC-C was mandatory only for contracting officers whose warrants had been issued after 2006.

That means several thousand civilian agency workers will soon need to enroll in FAC-C courses, but Grayson and Newhart stressed that agencies will be given leeway in crafting their own transition strategies. Contracting personnel will have a full year to get certified, and previous FAC-C certifications will be grandfathered in, though Grayson noted that new prerequisites for going to the next level must be fulfilled.

Officials believe acquisition personnel will want the new and improved courses, which include topic-specific electives and an online component produced by the Harvard Business School that is already used by DAU, Grayson said. It's especially important "to make Level III [certification] more appealing." Once finalized, the full curriculum will be posted at

Newhart acknowledged that training is not a panacea but said the new curriculum stresses areas where contracting professionals have asked for more guidance. "Cost and price analysis seems to be a little bit of a lost art," she said, "so we're beefing up that part of the training."

The IT specialization -- FAC-C IT -- will be the first to launch, but similar drilldowns on small business and construction are being considered. And at Level III, there will be added emphasis on industry engagement.

"We're hoping people who are already certified at Level III will come back for some of these electives because they're just that good," Newhart said.

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of, Schneider also helped launch the political site in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times,, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.

The Fed 100

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


  • 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

    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

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