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The Federal Acquisition Process

As discussed in Chapter 1, the COR must become a member of the contracting team, and therefore must have insight into the federal acquisition process. This chapter provides an overview of that process by focusing on its vision, standards of performance, and goals. Also, the phases, steps, and functions included in the process and the COR's performance objectives relating to those functions will be identified.

As a representative of the CO and a member of the contracting team, the COR must adhere to applicable ethical principles and procurement integrity requirements. These principles include impartiality, fairness, honesty, and the protection of certain contract-related information. The COR must also know and follow the rules regarding gratuities. He or she must also know how to resolve conflicts of interest.

Adherence to ethical principles and procurement integrity requirements is of critical importance to the COR. As a government employee, he or she has no doubt become familiar with the usual standards of conduct that apply to federal employment. But as a member of the contracting team, the COR may face new challenges regarding conduct.

Ethical dilemmas will likely arise, regardless of whether or not there is a rule or standard of conduct that applies to the situation. These new dilemmas arise because the COR has access to advance procurement information, is significantly involved in drafting the requirements document, performs the technical evaluation and selection of the contractor, and has direct and influential interface with the contractor during performance of the contract. For example, during the performance phase, the COR may have sole authority for the approval of test results, inspection, and final acceptance of the contractor's work. In all these activities, the COR must be very careful when performing his or her duties because of the special responsibilities he or she has in overseeing the contract.

THE FEDERAL ACQUISITION PROCESS

The following questions and answers provide an overview of the federal acquisition process and are intended to enable the COR to:

1. Understand the vision and standards of performance for the federal acquisition process

2. Identify the goals of the federal acquisition process

3. Identify the phases, steps, and functions of the federal acquisition process

4. Describe the performance objectives for the COR as a member of the contracting team.

What is the federal acquisition process?

The term federal acquisition process refers to the regulations, procedures, and specific steps involved in acquiring supplies and services for use by the United States government. This process is a part of and in conformance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations System, described in Subpart 1.1 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which was established for the codification and publication of uniform policies and procedures for acquisition by all executive agencies.

What is the vision of the federal acquisition process?

The vision of the federal acquisition process is to deliver, in a timely manner, the best-value supply or service to the customer, while maintaining the public's trust and fulfilling public policy objectives. "Best value" is viewed from a broad perspective, balancing the many competing interests in the process, such as tradeoffs among cost, performance, and delivery.

What are the goals of the federal acquisition process?

The federal acquisition process is designed to achieve two basic goals:

1. To obtain the optimum market response to requirements for supplies and services in terms of:

Quality

Timeliness

Price while

Accomplishing socioeconomic objectives

Minimizing business and technical risks

Maximizing competition

Maintaining procurement integrity.

2. To ensure that purchased supplies and services are:

Delivered or performed when and where they should be, as specified in the contract

Acceptable, in terms of conforming to the contract specifications or statement of work

Furnished in compliance with other terms and conditions of the contract.

 
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