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CONTRACTING AUTHORITY

DAO 208-2: CONTRACTING AUTHORITY
Number: DAO 208-2
Effective Date: 2004-12-03

SECTION 1. PURPOSE.

.01 This Order establishes clear lines of contracting authority and accountability as required by Executive Order (E.O.) 12931, Federal Procurement Reform, Public Law (P.L.) 98-191, Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act, 41 United States Code (U.S.C) 414, and the Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003, P.L. 108-136.

.02 This revision: provides a major update and rewrite of the Order; aligns authority with function, responsibility, and accountability by decentralizing contract decision making authority to the lowest possible level within the operating units; reflects organizational changes and various delegations and reservations of contracting authority.

SECTION 2. DEFINITIONS.

.01 Head of the Agency (or Agency Head) means the Secretary of Commerce (the Secretary), except that pursuant to Department Organization Order (DOO) 10-5, "Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration," for procurement matters the head of the agency shall be the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration (the Assistant Secretary), unless a statute provides that the authority of the Secretary is nondelegable.

.02 Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO) means the Department's Executive-level non-career employee designated pursuant to the Services Acquisition Reform Act to advise and assist the head of the agency and other agency officials to ensure that the mission of the agency is achieved through the management of the agency's acquisition activities. The Assistant Secretary has been designated by the Head of the Agency as the Chief Acquisition Officer for the Department of Commerce (the Department).

.03 Procurement Executive or Senior Procurement Executive (PE) means the official appointed pursuant to E.O. 12931 and the Services Acquisition Reform Act, to carry out the responsibilities identified in both the Executive Order and the Services Acquisition Reform Act. Pursuant to DOO 20-26, "Director for Acquisition Management," the Director for Acquisition Management is the PE for the Department.

.04 Head of the Contracting Activity (HCA), for purposes of this Order, means the following individuals:

a. Officials who are designated as the Heads of Operating Units (those who are assigned by the President or by the Secretary to manage the primary or constituent operating units of the Department as defined in DOO 1-1, "Mission and Organization of the Department of Commerce") in Orders establishing the respective operating units and in paragraph 2.08 of this Order, with the exception of the Office of the Secretary, are designated as the HCA for procurements initiated in support of the programs and activities of that operating unit.

b. The Assistant Secretary is designated as the HCA for procurements initiated in support of the programs and activities of the Office of the Secretary and all other Secretarial Offices and Departmental Offices.

.05 Senior Bureau Procurement Official (BPO) means the senior career procurement official within each operating unit that has been delegated contracting authority. The BPO must be a procurement professional who has both experience and training in the area of federal procurement and contracting. HCAs may designate one BPO for their organization to carry out the day-to-day functions of managing the contracting activity. BPOs may also serve as the Head of the Contracting Office. The PE will issue each BPO a Contracting Officer Warrant which delegates the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts and to make related determinations and findings.

.06 Head of the Contracting Office (HCO) means those individuals designated by the BPO to head the contracting offices within each operating unit that has designated contracting authority to award and administer contracts to the full limit of the Department's contracting authority. The HCO must be a procurement professional in the GS-1102 occupational series. BPOs will issue each HCO a Contracting Officer Warrant, which delegates the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts and to make related determinations and findings.

.07 Contracting Officer means those individuals with the authority, designated by the BPO, to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts and make related determinations and findings. Only those individuals who have been certified and designated as contracting officers in accordance with the requirements and procedures of the Commerce Acquisition Regulation (CAR) (http://oamweb.osec.doc.gov/stage_04_01_04/final/index.html) and the Commerce Acquisition Manual (CAM) may exercise the authorities of contracting officers. However, by virtue of their positions, the Head of the Agency, the Chief Acquisition Officer, the PE, and the heads of operating units identified in paragraph 4.04 are also designated as contracting officers.

.08 Operating Unit, for purposes of this Order, means the following entities as defined in DOO 1-1, and in the Orders establishing the respective operating units: Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Bureau of the Census (Census), Economic Development Administration (EDA), Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) (excluding BEA and Census), International Trade Administration (ITA), Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), National Technical Information Service (NTIS), United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Technology Administration (TA) (excluding NIST and NTIS), Office of Inspector General (OIG), and Office of the Secretary (OS).

.09 Contracting Activity, for purposes of this Order, means the operating units identified in paragraph 2.08 above. Contracting activities may or may not have authority to operate contracting offices (see paragraphs 2.10 and 4.04 of this Order).

.10 Contracting Office means an office that awards or executes contracts for supplies or services and performs post-award functions.

SECTION 3. APPLICABILITY

.01 The Secretary has delegated the authority of "Head of Agency" under the authorities in 41 U.S.C Chapter 4, and 48 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) Chapter 1, regarding purchases and contracts for property or services, and other procurement-related authorities to the Chief Acquisition Officer who is the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration. The Chief Acquisition Officer has further delegated to the Director for Acquisition Management the authority to serve as the PE (in accordance with Executive Order 12931, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act, 41 U.S.C. 414, and the Services Acquisition Reform Act), to establish clear lines of contracting authority and accountability, and to implement acquisition-related requirements of the Competition in Contracting Act (P.L. 98-369); Executive Order 12931, Federal Procurement Reform, dated October 13, 1994; the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993; the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-355); the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-106), the Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-136); and other statutory, regulatory and administrative directives, with the authority to re-delegate to appropriate officials.

.02 The authority delegated or re-delegated is to be exercised in conformity with federal acquisition laws and regulations, Department policies, and conditions or limitations that are established by the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary, the Chief Acquisition Officer or the PE.

.03 Delegations of authority specifically outlined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation have been further defined for the Department and delegated by the PE in CAM Part 1301.70, "Delegations of Contracting Authority."

SECTION 4. DELEGATIONS OF AUTHORITY.

.01 Secretary of Commerce. The Secretary has delegated the authority of Agency Head under the authorities in 41 U.S.C. Chapter 4, and 48 CFR Chapter 1, regarding purchases and contracts for property or services, and other procurement-related authorities of the Secretary to the Chief Acquisition Officer, unless a statute provides that the authority of the Secretary is non-delegable. Specific authorities that cannot be delegated and remain with the Secretary are set forth in CAM Part 1301.70.

.02 Chief Acquisition Officer.

a. Pursuant to DOO 10-5, the Secretary has delegated to the Chief Acquisition Officer the authorities in the Code of Federal Regulations regarding purchases and contracts for property or services, and other procurement-related authorities of the Secretary.

b. Specific contracting authorities are set forth in CAM Part 1301.70. These authorities are delegated to the Chief Acquisition Officer and must be performed by that individual. They may not be redelegated.

.03 Director for Acquisition Management and Procurement Executive.

a. Pursuant to DOO 10-5 and DOO 20-26, the Chief Acquisition Officer has delegated to the Director for Acquisition Management the authority to serve as the PE. As the PE, the Director for Acquisition Management is delegated Departmentwide responsibility for planning, developing and implementing policies and procedures for the acquisition of materials, supplies, equipment and services through procurement and contracting processes, and for operation of a contracting office for the Office of the Secretary and other elements of the Department.

b. The authority to establish contracting activities and delegate broad contracting authority to HCAs lies with the PE.

c. Specific contracting authorities are set forth in CAM Part 1301.70. These authorities are delegated to the PE and must be performed by that individual. They may not be redelegated.

d. The PE issues each BPO a Contracting Officer Warrant, which delegates the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts and to make related determinations and findings.

.04 Heads of Operating Units.

a. The heads of the following operating units are authorized to operate contracting offices:

1. NOAA, pursuant to DOO 25-5, "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration";

2. NIST, pursuant to DOO 30-2B, "National Institute of Standards and Technology";

3. USPTO, pursuant to DOO 30-3, "United States Patent and Trademark Office"; and

4. Census, pursuant to DOO 35-2B, "Bureau of the Census."

b. Heads of operating units are not authorized to establish new contracting offices. Only the PE can authorize establishment of new contracting offices.

.05 Heads of Contracting Activities.

a. Heads of Contracting Activities (HCA) have overall responsibility and accountability for procurements initiated in support of the programs and activities of their organizations, and specifically, for the contracting decisions required to be made by them in their capacity as HCA, or by those in their organizations having delegated authority for contract decision making.

b. Specific contracting authorities are delegated in CAM Part 1301.70. These authorities are delegated to the HCA and must be performed by that individual. They may not be redelegated.

c. The HCAs in operating units not having contracting offices (see paragraphs 2.10 and 4.04 of this order) may delegate those authorities specified in CAM Part 1301.70 which can be performed below the level of the HCA to individuals in the operating unit which provides their procurement service. Such delegations must be by mutual agreement of the parties. The individuals performing such delegated functions must be at appropriate levels in the servicing organization, as specified in paragraph 4.05, in paragraph 2.04 of this order and in CAM Part 1301.70.

d. Delegations made pursuant to paragraph 4.05 must be in writing, designating the specific organizational position receiving the delegation.

.06 Senior Bureau Procurement Official

a. HCAs may delegate authority to carry out the day-to-day functions of managing the organization's contracting activity to the Senior Bureau Procurement Official (BPO).

b. Specific contracting authorities are delegated in CAM Part 1301.70. These authorities are delegated to the BPO and must be performed by that individual. They may not be redelegated.

c. BPOs issue each HCO a Contracting Officer Warrant which delegates the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts and to make related determinations and findings.

d. BPOs issue Contracting Officer warrants to qualified individuals within their respective operating units.

.07 Miscellaneous Delegations. CAM 1301.70 identifies delegations to individuals other than those named in paragraphs 4.01 through 4.06 of this Order.

.08 Government Purchase Card. Delegations of authority to make purchases using the Government Purchase Card are provided to individual employees by the HCO who services the respective employee's organization. Procedures covering the Purchase Card Program are set forth in CAM Part 1313.301, Commerce Purchase Card Procedures, issued under authority of DAO 200-0, "Department of Commerce Handbooks and Manuals."

.09 Non-Appropriated Funds. Authority to obligate non-appropriated funds is delegated by the PE to the BPO. The BPO may further delegate the authority to obligate non-appropriated funds no lower than the HCO. Although such contracts are not subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulation, they remain subject to legal review and other applicable regulations and statutes such as the Competition in Contracting Act.

SECTION 5. EFFECT ON OTHER ORDERS.

This Order supersedes Department Administrative Order 208-2 of March 12, 1996.

Signed by: Director for Acquisition Management and Procurement Executive

Approved by: Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration

Office of Primary Interest: Office of Acquisition Management

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Page last updated:February 4, 2010