The Office and Management and Budget (OMB) has directed federal agencies to clarify the roles and responsibilities of their most senior acquisition officers.

Joseph Jordan, head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) told agency Chief Acquisition Officers (CAOs) and Senior Procurement Executives (SPEs) to work together to ensure that CAO roles and responsibilities enable agencies to meet “mission goals effectively and efficiently.”  Jordan directed agency CAOs and SPEs to particularly address issues raised in a recent General Accountability Office (GAO) report on CAO.

In that report, GAO reviewed the roles and responsibilities of Chief Acquisition Officers and found that their responsibilities varied across agencies.  GAO also found that many CAOs also held other senior level management positions, which complicated successful execution of their acquisition responsibilities.  GAO recommended, and OMB agreed, that CAO roles and responsibilities should be clarified and conveyed to each agency’s acquisition workforce.

The Jordan memo directs agencies to update internal management policies to “clearly define” CAO and SPE roles and responsibilities to “reflect statutory and regulatory requirements and priority management areas.”

Jordan instructs CAO/SPE reviews to focus on areas that have the most impact on agency acquisition operations:  Buying Smarter (increase agency’s use of strategic sourcing vehicles and identify goals for increasing competition and reducing high-risk contracts); Strengthen the Acquisition Workforce (develop and implement an annual “Acquisition Human Capital Plan” and better support IT acquisition); Build the Right Supplier Relationships (promote a high-performing and ethical supplier base and stress small business contracting); and Advance Mission Performance (define acquisition needs that advance agency goals in a cost effective manner and align acquisition strategies with mission programs and performance objectives).

Agencies are required to submit acquisition management policy updates to OFPP by January 15, 2013.  Jordan said CAOs and SPEs would discuss ways to leverage combined agency efforts to improve acquisition management at the Chief Acquisitions Officers Council meeting on December 13, 2012.