The purpose of the Department of the Interior Contracting Officers Warrant System Manual is to:
Contracting authority is vested in the Secretary of the Interior under the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41USC 414(4)) and the Competition in Contracting Act (41 USC 252) and FAR 1.603-1 to award and modifycontracts for supplies and services (see the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949). The Secretary's authority and responsibility are further redelegated in the following order:
1. to Assistant Secretaries (see 205 DM 11.1); and further
2. to heads of bureaus and offices and assistant or associate heads (known as Heads of Contracting Activities - HCAs) (see 200 series of Departmental Manual);
Bureau Procurement Chiefs (BPCs) are hereby delegated authority (without authority to redelegate) to select and appoint contracting officers in accordance with this manual and are ultimately responsible for the proper use of warrants and implementation of the contracting officers warrant program within their respective bureaus/offices. They shall take actions deemed necessary to ensure the integrity of the warrant system within their bureau/office. They have the authority to terminate warrants for improper use and to serve as an advocate for the warrant program. Delegation of contracting officer authority to the BPC may be made by the bureau/office HCA. The BPC must advise the Senior Procurement Executive of significant problems,if any, encountered in the administration of this authority.
Contracting authority may be delegated to individuals who meet the specific standards delineated in this manual, and not to positions. This is accomplished by written appointments in the form of Standard Form (SF)-1402, Certificate ofAppointment, in accordance with FAR 1.603-3. The only valid delegations below the heads of bureaus and offices are those made in accordance with this manual and DIAR 1401.6.
Bureaus may set standards which are more, but not less strict than those contained in this manual. Similarly, maximum authority levels specified in this manual may be further restricted by the HCA or BPC in accordance with bureau/office procedures.
The following transactions are not covered by the Federal Acquisition Regulation, and therefore are exempt from the Department of the Interior Warrant System:
* Standard Form (SF) 182, Request for Training Forms - - off-the-shelf training up to $25,000. The purchase of any classes requiring course development or over $25,000 must be completed by a warranted contracting officer.
FEDSTRIPS (SF-344, Multi-use Standard Requisitioning/Issue System Document) (
Other requisitioning from established stock programs of the General Services Administration or other federal agencies (e.g., GSA Advantage!, GSA stock, Customer Supply Centers) (
Although these transactions are exempt from the warrant system, warranted contracting officers are available for assistance and advice in reviewing or completing complex business related actions, such as, demonstration agreements, cooperative research and development agreements, nondisclosure agreements, technology transfer agreements or memoranda of understanding. Although not intended as instruments for obligation of funds, documents such as these often include language creating potential liabilities for the Government or impacting on future procurements.
Supplies and services of $2,500 or less and construction under $2,000 made through the following procedures do not require a warrant:
Calls against Blanket Purchase Agreements
Third Party Drafts/FedSelect Check
Standard Form 44's (Purchase Order-Invoice-Voucher)
Micropurchases completed through other procurement methods are subject to this warrant system.
C. Indian Self-Determination Contracts and Funding Agreements - In the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Indian Self-Determination and Educational Assistance contracts and funding agreements are negotiated under the Authority of P.L. 93-638, as amended. BIA contract awarding officials must meet the training and experience requirements in 20 BIAM, Supplement 2, dated November 18, 1994, and subsequent revisions, prior to appointment.
D. Intra-agency and Inter-agency Agreements under authority other than the Economy Act - Execution on any intra-agency or inter-agency agreements under authority other than the Economy Act over $100,000 should be in consultation with warranted contracting officers.
E. Grants and Cooperative Agreements - Grants and Cooperative Agreements are unique and complex documents. Individuals authorized to sign assistance and cooperative agreements need to have specific training in these instruments. Training should include, as appropriate, instruction in guiding documents, for example: OMB Circular A-102 - Grants and Cooperative Agreements with State and Local Governments; OMB Circular A-110 - Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Non-Profit Organizations; OMB Circular A-87 - Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments; OMB Circular A-21 - Cost Principles for Educational Institutions.
F. Contracting Officer Representative - (COR)/Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR) - The responsibility to establish and maintain a COR Certification Program in accordance with Departmental standards was delegated to DOI bureaus and offices by the Assistant Secretary--Policy, Management and Budget in a December 15, 1993, memorandum and finalized in Department of the Interior Acquisition Policy Release (DIAPR) 96-9 dated April 26, 1996. When a COR is also delegated limited contracting officer authority, the delegation must be done in accordance with this manual.
G. Ordering Officers - Bureaus may establish procedures to delegate authority to non-warranted individuals to place orders against their own bureau indefinite delivery contracts where fixed terms and prices are established in the contract. Ordering officers do not have the authority to negotiate or determine price reasonableness.
A. Bureau Delegation Programs
In today's restricted budgets, bureaus must carefully consider the cost to the organization to qualify for and maintain the necessary level of expertise that warrant authority now requires.
Before deciding to delegate warrant authority, all available alternatives should be considered such as cross-servicing with other Interior bureaus, using existing service centers (National Business Center), and using Interior Department Electronic Acquisition System (IDEAS) electronic requisitioning.
Authority must be delegated only to the minimal level needed to provide effective and efficient acquisition support. Bureaus must balance the costs associated with the assignment and management of warrant authority with the program need for procurement support at a given site. Remote locations which award a limited numberof small purchases should not grant delegation of procurement authority without examining the cost to maintain the level of training and expertise of these individuals.
When determining the need for, and the appropriate level of, delegated procurement authority, the following factors should be taken into consideration:
cost of developing and maintaining a procurement workforce, including employee salary, training and career development costs;
cost of maintaining reference materials such as regulations, directives, vendor and market information, including on-line reference services;
reporting and other data collection costs;
availability of subject matter experts to perform review and advisory functions;
bureau/office costs of supporting additional warranted contracting officers and performing review/oversight functions.
Local service needs such as:
Extent to which needs can be met through mechanisms not requiring contracting officer warrants, such as purchase cards, imprest fund/third party draft, and GSA stock systems (including using Federal Supply Service (FSS)through GSA Advantage!);
Availability of supporting (or centralized) procurement office with the ability to support requisitioner's needs in a timely, efficient and effective manner through the use of electronic communications such as facsimile, electronic mail, and electronic requisitioning;
Numbers of transactions requiring action by a warranted CO with response time requirements that cannot be satisfied by a servicing primary (headquarters, regional, or other centralized) procurement office or requiring face-to-face communications between requisitioner and buyer.
An adequate volume of procurement actions to be cost effective and to allow the contracting officer to remain current and proficient with Federal, Departmental and bureau procurement procedures. Sufficient management controls should be in place to assure the integrity and sound business management of the purchasing function, including the ability to properly evaluate compliance with applicable procurement regulations.
An acceptable record regarding unauthorized actions. Procurement offices with persons with records of poor regulatory compliance or frequent ratifications ofunauthorized actions should not be given procurement warrant authority unless there is an overwhelming and compelling need and there is a specific management control in place to prevent future abuse. Any known repeat offender's warrant should be immediately terminated.
Before considering an individual's qualifications for a warrant, bureau managers must first establish the need for acquisition authority in the particular office. Issuance of a warrant to an individual outside a centralized or primary procurement office must be supported by documenting need for the delegation of warrant authority, including:
between $2,500 and $5,000
between $5,001, and $10,000
between $10,001 and $25,000
between $25,000 and $100,000
greater than $100,000
This figure should not include acquisitions using exempt micropurchase procedures, GSA supply system actions not requiring a contracting officer warrant, nor services or construction if restricted at the requested warrant level.)
C. Warrant Authority Increases
Before any increase in an individual or office's warrant authority, an increase in the number of on-site transactions (in the relevant dollar interval), an increase in the numbers or complexity of requisitions needing off-site procurement, or other operational necessity supporting the increase must be documented. The office must maintain satisfactory performance levels in such areas as quality, timeliness, price and productivity, as measured by the Quality in Contracting Program, or other authorized management control system.
The office and the candidate contracting officer should have a good record of competition, use of mandatory and preferred sources of supply, adequate file documentation, and no abuse of prohibitions against splitting requirements or unauthorized procurements.
The Department of the Interior Contracting Officer Warrant System consists of four basic warrant levels, as follows:
|WARRANT LEVELS AND AUTHORITIES
||Ordering from Established Sources
|Simplified Acquisition Authorities-
|Level I A
|Level I B
|Level II A
|Level II B
1Includes Federal Supply Schedule Orders, orders under other government contracts, orders under mandatory source programs of FAR Subpart 8.6 to Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR) and Subpart 8.7 to nonprofit agencies for blind or other severely handicapped individuals (NIB/NISH)and interagency agreements.
2This authority may not be used to buy construction of $2,000 or more or services over $2,500.
3Unless restricted by FAR 13.103(b).
4Except as may be restricted by ordering limits in the instrument.
Levels I authorizes individual employees to serve as contracting officers for acquisitions conducted using simplified acquisition procedures and acquisitions under mandatory source and other established federal source programs, including delivery orders against bureau, other DOI or other federal agency contracts, in amounts not exceeding the thresholds indicated above.
Levels II, III and IV authorize individuals to serve as contracting officers on acquisitions not exceeding the indicated dollar thresholds using any of the acquisition methods in the Federal Acquisition Regulation. The authority required to serve as a contracting officer on an acquisition is determined by the total estimated cumulative value of the contract, not the obligation amount of the initial award or a particular modification.
Delegations of warrant authority to individuals outside primary procurement offices are subject to the following additional requirements:
Bureaus will determine appropriate criteria, frequencies and mechanisms for such reviews.
Minimum experience and training requirements for issuance of a contracting officer warrant are set forth in this part. Minimum must be emphasized here. Contracting officers working on complex, large dollar value, or specialized (i.e.,information technology, construction, or space leasing) acquisitions must have additional specialized training and experience commensurate with their duties, as appropriate. Parts VI. A-D describe the qualification requirements for the four levels of contracting officer warrant authority, Part VI.E. defines the requirements for space leasing contracting officers.
It is the policy of the Department of the Interior that its acquisition workforce be trained and developed following the skill-based acquisition curriculum established the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI). Training courses based on the FAI curriculum are available from federal and private sector sources. For additional information on evaluation and crediting of formal training, see Attachment 1.
In addition to the qualification requirements set forth in this part, warrant candidates must also have exhibited personal integrity, commitment to customerservice and mission accomplishment, sound business judgment, and adherence to the regulations and principles of procurement professionalism.
A. LEVEL I - Level I authority is for individuals in a classification series other than GS-1102 or GS-1105 performing simplified acquisitions as a collateral or part-time duty, for GS-1105 employees located outside primary procurement offices, or for GS-1105 trainees in primary procurement offices.
Level IA - 24 hours
Level IB - 40 hours
Training must cover FAR simplified acquisition regulations; procedures forsoliciting, awarding, documenting and administering orders; electronic commerce; and mandatory and other established federal sources, including federal supply schedule ordering.
Level IA - No experience
Level IB - 3 months
Work experience must consist of hands-on experience conducting simplified acquisitions above the micropurchase threshold of commercial and non-commercial items using the procedures of FAR Part 13. Experience must include progressively more complex assignments, including solicitation and evaluation of competitive open market quotations, as well as evaluation and award under multiple-award federal supply schedules. Experience using micropurchase techniques or ordering within the GSA stock system (FEDSTRIPS, Customer Supply Centers) is not creditable towards implified acquisition experience requirements.
The experience requirement for Level I is minimal. Warrant applicants and Level I warrant holders are encouraged to spend additional time with experienced contracting officers and make use of available resources such as bureau price analysts.
Holding a Level II Deviation warrant under the June 30, 1995, class deviation (DIAPR 95-8) to the previous warrant system may be substituted for all Level I training and experience requirements.
4. Interim warrants: None
5. Continuing Education:
Level IA - 16 hours every 4 years
Level IB - 16 hours every 2 years
Contracting officers must remain current in simplified acquisition statutes, regulations and procedures by completing additional training as indicated above. Continuing education requirements may be satisfied through simplified acquisition maintenance classes or by taking additional training in topics relevant to simplified acquisitions, such as subjects listed under Level II. This is a minimum requirement, if possible a three or four day class can be more effective.
B. LEVEL II - Level II authority is limited to individuals in the GS-1102 or GS-1105 career classification series.
Level IIA - 40 hours
Level IIB - 80 hours
Candidates must satisfactorily complete 40 hours training in FAR simplified acquisition regulations and procedures for federal supply schedule ordering. For Level IIB, an additional 40 hours in one or more of the following topics:
Advanced/Intermediate Simplified Acquisition
Contracting by Negotiation
Basic Contract Administration
Commercial Items Acquisition
If the candidate's training was completed before July 1995, an additional 8 hours training in the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act covering simplified acquisition, commercial item acquisition procedures, and electronic commerce is also required.
Level IIA - 6 months
Level IIB - 1 year
Candidate must meet the experience requirements for Level IB and have an additional 3 months experience conducting more complex acquisitions involving written or electronic solicitations, and other FAR procedures beyond Part 13.
Holding a Level II Deviation warrant under the June 30, 1995, class deviation to the previous warrant system may be substituted for all Level I and II training and experience requirements.
4. Interim warrants: None
5. Continuing Education: 40 hours every 2 years
Contracting officers must remain current and develop expertise in relevant services or commodities by completing additional training. Continuing education requirements should be met through completion of additional simplified acquisition training, appropriation law, relevant basic contracting courses listed under Level III below, or specialty contracting courses such as construction or service contracting. ( One continuous 32 hour course can be used to meet the 40 hour requirement, if necessary.)
C. LEVEL III - Level III warrants are limited to individuals in the GS-1102 series.
1. Training: 240 hours
Candidate must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 32 hours training in each of the subject areas included in the basic contracting curriculum as established by the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI), as follows:
Introduction to Contracting
Contracting by Negotiation
Basic Contract Administration
If taken as seven 40 hour courses, this equates to a maximum of 280 hours training for Level III. The required training could be accomplished in as little as 240 hours by taking the Department of Defense Basic Acquisition Management (160 hours) plus price analysis (40 hours) and cost analysis (40 hours). Although FAI curriculum courses are typically offered in 40 hour units, the requirement has been stated as 32 hours per subject to facilitate crediting of existing training courses as equivalents.
2. Experience: 3 years
Candidate must have hands-on experience conducting progressively more complex acquisitions under FAR Part 14 and 15 procedures and/or administration of contracts sufficient to have full comprehension of the contracting duties described in Attachment 2 and knowledge of the steps required to accomplish the duty. Experience conducting simplified acquisitions over $25,000 using solicitations applying simplified versions of Part 14, 15 or 36 procedures may be credited at a 50% rate for no more than 6 months of the Level III experience requirement.
Passing a DOI-approved comprehensive examination may be substituted for completion of all formal Level III training requirements.
Specialized experience may be substituted in accordance with E. below for required formal training in no more than two Level III subjects.
Holding a Level IV warrant under the previous warrant system may be substituted for all basic (Level III) formal training requirements.
4. Interim warrants:
An interim Level III warrant (effective for 1 year) may be issued when the candidate meets the experience requirement but is lacking training (or equivalency) in no more than two training subjects.
5. Continuing Education: 40 hours every 2 years
Contracting officers are required to complete additional training to maintain and expand expertise in acquisition issues, regulations and procedures. Continuing education requirements should be met through completion of intermediate or advanced training subjects listed for Level IV, appropriation law, and/or relevant specialty contracting courses.
D. LEVEL IV - Level IV warrants are limited to individuals in the GS-1102 series.
1. Training: 400 hours: 240 hours basic + 160 hours intermediate/advanced
Candidate must meet the training requirements for Level III and satisfactorily complete an additional 160 hours intermediate/advanced level training including 40 hours training in each of the subjects listed below:
Advanced Contract Administration
Advanced Contract Law
2. Experience: 4 years
Candidate must have hands-on experience conducting progressively more complex acquisitions sufficient to have full knowledge of the duties described in Attachment 2 and the steps required to accomplish the duty. Experience in duties listed in Attachment 2 for contract placement or contract administration must involve sufficient practical experience to be able to anticipate and solve complex problems beyond routine regulatory application.
Passing a DOI-approved comprehensive examination may be substituted for completion of the Level III (240 hours) basic training requirements.
For Contracting Officers who held a Level IV warrant under the previous DOI warrant system, specialized experience may be substituted in accordance with E. below for the requirement for completion of formal training in no more than one Level IV subject.
4. Interim warrants:
An interim Level IV warrant (effective for 1 year) may be issued when the candidate meets the experience requirement but is lacking training (or equivalency) in no more than two Level IV training subjects.
5. Continuing Education: 40 hours every 2 years
Contracting officers must complete additional training to remain current and expand expertise in acquisition issues, regulations and procedures. Continuing education requirements should be met through completion of intermediate/advance cost and price analysis classes, executive acquisition training, relevant specialty contracting courses, appropriation law, or other training relevant to development and maintenance of acquisition expertise. In addition to providing job-specific procurement training, bureaus should encourage Level IV contracting officers to seek additional and appropriate self-development training in areas like communications, leadership, or general management.
E. SPACE LEASE CONTRACTING OFFICERS
To be warranted -- space lease contracting officers (for transactions/leases over $2,500) -- must complete at a minimum five basic training courses on the following:
1. Federal Real Property Leasing or Basic Lease Contracting
2. Government Contract Negotiating or Federal Real Property Leases
3. Cost and Price Analysis of Leasing Proposals
4. Real Estate Law or Federal Real Property Lease Law
5. Real Estate Appraisal Principles
Space lease contracting officers must be appointed by HCAs or BPCs. Space Lease contract warrants should be annotated that the warrant is for space leasing. Space lease contracting officers must continue to gain hands on experience and to complete training to remain current and expand expertise in acquisition issues, regulations and space leasing procedures.
Note: General Services Administration remains available to do your space leasing.
F. DOCUMENTING TRAINING EQUIVALENCIES
Examination: The Office of Acquisition and Property Management may approve comprehensive examinations given by a nationally recognized professional acquisition management agency or nonprofit organization as demonstrating knowledge equivalent to subject-matter coverage of the FAI curriculum. The Certified Professional Contracts Manager exam given by the National Contract Management Association has been so approved. Candidates requesting substitution of examination for formal training must provide a copy of the certification demonstrating satisfactory completion of the examination.
Specialized Experience: Extensive hands-on experience performing the duties in a specific subject area may be substituted for formal training in that subject area. One year of concentrated experience in an acquisition subject area (for example, contract administration), beyond the minimum experience required for the applicable warrantlevel, can be substituted for basic level training in the same subject area. Warrant requests must include a written description of relevant duties proposed as equivalent orsubstitutes for formal training.
Level IV Warrant: When Level III training requirements and/or documentation are waived based on the candidate's holding a Level IV warrant under the previous COWS, a copy of the old warrant should be provided with the warrant request.
A. Individual's Qualifications
To request a warrant delegation, the candidate contracting officer's supervisor or higher level manager must submit a request to the bureau procurement chief with acompleted Qualification Statement (Attachment 3). In those locations where the supervisor of a Level II contracting officer is a non-acquisition person, the Bureau Procurement Chief or a Level III or a Level IV contracting officer may make the Certification regarding the applicant's qualifications. When applicable, the request must also contain the supporting information required by paragraphs IV.B and IV.C above. Prior to making a delegation, the Qualifications Statement for the nominated contracting officer shall be evaluated and a decision made whether the minimum training and qualifications have been met. The minimum qualifications must be met to issue a Certificate.
B. Written Appointment Delegation
All contracting officer certificates of appointment shall be issued on a Standard Form 1402, Certificate of Appointment. The certificate shall be prominently displayed in the vicinity of the contracting officer's work area.
C. Interim Delegations
Interim warrants may be issued as provided in Part VI. The interim certificate will not be re-issued if minimum qualifications are not met within the specified time.
D. Continuing Education
A contracting officer's warrant authority may be terminated administratively or for cause. In the case of administrative termination, this may be accomplished automatically, unless formal action is required by bureau procedures. Terminations for cause must be accomplished in writing. In both cases, the contracting officer'ssupervisor is responsible for notifying the warrant issuing office when an administrative reason or other cause for termination arises, using the form in Attachment 3 or other communication as provided in bureau procedures.
A. Administrative Termination
The following are examples of reasons for administrative termination, which is anautomatic cessation of warrant authority:
B. Termination for Cause
Termination for Cause must be accomplished in writing by the BPC or HCA. Patterns of negligent use of warrant authority need not be prerequisite to suspension or termination of a warrant for cause. Rather the circumstances should be examined on a case-by-case basis and corrective action taken in a timely manner. The following are examples of reasons for cause and justify removing a warrant:
C. Suspension of Warrants The BPC or HCA may suspend warrant authority pending completion of corrective actions or while investigating procurement abuses or other potential causes for termination.
Bureaus may request additional deviations from the warrant system. These requests should be submitted to the Director - Office of Acquisition and Property Management in accordance with procedures outlined in DIAR 1401.4. At a minimum, the request should address all the following factors:
Requests for deviations to the Federal Acquisition Regulation or Department of the Interior Acquisition Regulation should be submitted to the Office of Acquisition and Property Management in accordance with procedures outlined in DIAR 1401.4.