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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the training of the acquisition workforce in certain federal civilian departments and agencies, focusing on whether: (1) the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had assurance that their acquisition workforces met training requirements as defined by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) and whether contracting officers at one GSA and one VA field location met each agency's training requirements; (2) OFPP had taken action to ensure that civilian departments and agencies collected and maintained standardized acquisition workforce information, as required by the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act; and (3) GSA and VA were taking actions to comply with Clinger-Cohen Act funding requirements.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Veterans Affairs To ensure that the skills of their acquisition workforces are current the Administrator, GSA, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should fully adhere to OFPP's policy associated with Clinger-Cohen's training provisions by: (1) establishing core training requirements for all contracting officer representatives and contracting officer technical representatives; (2) ensuring that all acquisition personnel receive the required core training and continuing education, consistent with OFPP's policy; (3) directing appropriate agency personnel to collect and maintain accurate and up-to-date showing the extent to which acquisition personnel meet training requirements; and (4) seeing that all funding that agencies plan to use for educating and training their acquisition workforces is identified in appropriate budget documents and that all related expenditures for such education and training are tracked.
Closed - Implemented
VA has completed actions on the first two parts of this recommendation, (1) establishing training requirements for all COR/COTRs, and (2) ensuring all acquisition personnel receive required training. However, as of August 28, 2002, VA has not provided an action plan with an estimated completion for the other two parts of this recommendation, (3) collecting and maintaining acquisition personnel training records, and (4) tracking acquisition personnel training funds. As of June 2003, GAO has not been able to further ascertain the status of the implementation of this recommendation. On July 15, 2004, GAO determined that VA had taken action on recommendation parts 3 and 4. VA had issued an Information Letter (049-03-5, dated January 16, 2003) stating that all acquisition education and related training must be entered into the Center Acquisition and Materiel Management Education Online (CAMEO), a system that collects and maintains records on which acquisition personnel meet training requirements. As of July 1, 2004, CAMEO had 2,864 registered users (VA compliance with part 3). The Financial Management System tracks the education and training funds (appropriations, allotments, and expenditures). In addition, VA issued memorandums regarding the preparation of operating obligations and budget justifications (VA compliance with part 4).
General Services Administration To ensure that the skills of their acquisition workforces are current the Administrator, GSA, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should fully adhere to OFPP's policy associated with Clinger-Cohen's training provisions by: (1) establishing core training requirements for all contracting officer representatives and contracting officer technical representatives; (2) ensuring that all acquisition personnel receive the required core training and continuing education, consistent with OFPP's policy; (3) directing appropriate agency personnel to collect and maintain accurate and up-to-date showing the extent to which acquisition personnel meet training requirements; and (4) seeing that all funding that agencies plan to use for educating and training their acquisition workforces is identified in appropriate budget documents and that all related expenditures for such education and training are tracked.
Closed - Implemented
The General Services Administration (GSA) completed action on the first and fourth parts of this recommendation, part (1) establishing training requirements for all COR/COTRs, and part (4) tracking acquisition personnel training funds. GSA records indicate that it believes it has met the requirements of part (2), ensuring all acquisition personnel receive required training, and part (3), collecting and maintaining acquisition personnel training records. However, their policy still requires contracting officers with basic and simplified acquisition-level warrants to take only 16 hours of continuing education every 2 years (versus OFPP's requirement for 40 hours). They have not developed their own automated system to track the training of acquisition personnel, and OFPP's proposed government-wide system (ACMIS) is not yet available. GSA has since changed the training requirements to be in compliance with OFPP requirements. Training requirements for all contracting officers (regardless of warrant) is now a minimum of 40 hours every 2 years (recommendation part 2). GSA also uses ACMIS to track the training/education of the acquisition personnel (recommendation part 3). GSA was the first agency activated on ACMIS when it became operational on May 27, 2003.
Office of Federal Procurement Policy In order for OFPP to ensure that civilian departments and agencies collect and maintain standardized acquisition workforce information, the Administrator, OFPP, should take action to ensure that the Federal Acquisition Institute and OPM complete and implement the governmentwide management information system being developed to implement Clinger-Cohen's requirements for standardized acquisition workforce information.
Closed - Implemented
The Acquisition Career Management Information System (ACMIS) was being developed to satisfy the Clinger-Cohen Act requirement that OFPP ensure that civilian departments and agencies collect and maintain standardized information about the acquisition workforce. ACMIS was designed to record and track training and education levels, employee warrant information (type and amounts), and training certifications and planned activities for establishing required job skills. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy provided a revised timeline that showed the newly proposed (ACMIS) to be fully deployed in October 2002. On June 29, 2004, GAO determined that ACMIS was deployed on May 27, 2003.

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