Agencies must better define roles of acquisition leaders

Monday - 10/29/2012, 1:12pm EDT

Agencies have until Jan. 15 to update the definition of the roles of their two most senior acquisition leaders.

Joe Jordan, the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, sent a memo to chief acquisition officers (CAO) and senior procurement executives (SPE) last week asking them to renew their internal policies to more clearly define their roles and responsibilities.

Jordan said the revamped polices should "reflect statutory and regulatory requirements, and the priority management areas," such as buying smarter, building vendor relationships and improving mission performance.

The CAO Council also will hold a meeting Dec. 13 in Washington to discuss how they can improve governmentwide acquisition.

The memo comes, in part, as a reaction to the Government Accountability Officer's July report looking at the roles of the CAOs. GAO found while agencies may be meeting the letter of the law to have a senior CAO, most do not have acquisition management as their primary duty.

"We found all kinds of combinations and, what we found was that a number of the chief acquisition officers were also other 'chiefs' within their departments," said Bill Woods, a director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management Issues at GAO, during an interview In Depth with Francis Rose soon after auditors issued the report. "They were the chief acquisition officer, but also the chief information officer, the chief financial officer, some had other titles, like assistant secretary for management. They had responsibilities all over the map."

OFPP's Jordan said in his memo that the lack of clarity in the roles needs to be fixed.

"To assist agencies in addressing GAO's findings, CAOs should work closely with their SPEs to clarify CAO roles and responsibilities, focusing on those that can have the biggest impact on the agency's ability to meet its mission goals efficiently and effectively," Jordan wrote.

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TAG: Acquisition Management OFPP Joe Jordan CAO Council Chief acquisition officer Senior procurement executive Jason Miller