U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FHWA Order 4400.4
|Contracting Officer Warrant Program|
|Classification Code||Date||Office of Primary Interest|
|4400.4||August 18, 2008||HAAM–1|
What is the purpose of this directive? This directive defines the policy and procedures for the nomination, appointment, maintenance, and termination of warranted Contracting Officers within the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Does this directive cancel an existing directive? No. This is a new directive.
What is the background concerning this directive? Current policies and procedures concerning the appointment of warranted Contracting Officers are fragmented and need to be unified. This directive consolidates applicable Federal laws, Departmental regulations, and FHWA policy to establish uniform standards for appointing, issuing, maintaining, and terminating Contracting Officer warrants at all levels within the FHWA.
To whom does this directive apply? This directive applies to the FHWA Washington Headquarters, Office of Federal Lands Highway (FLH) (including the three Division Offices), Federal–aid Division Offices, and the Resource Center.
What types of actions does this directive cover?
This directive applies to all FHWA acquisitions, including:
(2) Grants and cooperative agreements;
(3) Purchase orders;
(4) Delivery orders under the General Services Administration Federal Supply Schedule (GSA/FSS) contracts;
(5) Government Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs);
(6) FHWA Indefinite Delivery–Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Task Order Contracts – both Multiple Award Task Order Contracts (MATOC) and Single Award Task Order Contracts (SATOC), including individual Task Orders;
(7) Modifications to existing contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, purchase orders, and delivery orders;
(8) Inter–agency agreements with other Federal agencies, when an inter–agency agreement is used to acquire goods or services;
(9) Reimbursable agreements; and
(10) Purchases using Simplified Acquisition Procedures.
For purposes of this directive, acquisitions do not include:
(1) Intra–agency agreements with another Department of Transportation (DOT) operating administration in which all work is performed by DOT personnel;
(2) Inter–agency agreements with other Federal agencies for purposes other than to acquire goods or services;
(3) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) awards;
(4) The FHWA Federal–aid highway program (Title 23, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)); and
(5) Purchases using micro–purchase procedures.
What references were used in writing this directive?
Title 23, CFR, Highways.
Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Policy Letter 05–01.
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Part 1.603–2.
Transportation Acquisition Regulation (TAR), Chapter 1201.
Transportation Acquisition Manual (TAM), Chapter 1201.
DOT Acquisition Career Development Policy for Contracting Professionals, under TAM Note 98–03, as a supplement to Chapter 1201.
FHWA Order M 1100.1A, FHWA Delegations and Organization Manual, Part I, Chapter 4, Section 3, Paragraph 60.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum dated January 20, 2006 – Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting (FAC–C).
What are the definitions of terms used in this directive?
Acquisition Career Management Information System (ACMIS). The ACMIS system is a governmentwide system developed under the oversight of the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI) to fulfill the requirement to collect and analyze acquisition workforce data while also making available information useful to agency managers and the acquisition community in general.
Chief of Contracting Office (COCO). COCOs are hereby defined as the Director, Office of Acquisition Management, and the Associate Administrator for FLH. The Resource Center Director, Federal–aid Division Administrators, and FLH Division Engineers are considered COCOs within their respective offices for the purpose of issuing warrants limited to Simplified Acquisition Procedures. No COCO is authorized to sign contracts or other procurement actions, unless he/she has been appointed a Contracting Officer under the procedures described in TAM 1201.603.
Contracting Authorities. The Head of the Contracting Activity (HCA) is delegated the authority to establish contracting activities and delegate broad authority to manage the Agency’s contracting functions in accordance with TAM 1201.603. The authority of the HCA to establish contracting activities and delegate authority is re–delegated to the COCOs.
Contracting Officer (CO). Contracting Officers are defined at FAR 2.101 and TAM 1202.1, and must be appointed in writing using a Certificate of Appointment (SF 1402) following the procedures described in TAM 1201.603. Furthermore, in accordance with 48 CFR 1201.601, the HCA, Associate Administrator for Administration, and Associate Administrator for FLH shall also be considered Contracting Officers within the FHWA and are delegated the authority to enter into contracts for authorized supplies and services by virtue of their respective positions.
Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting (FAC–C). Certification that the individual has met the core requirements for education, training, and experience for contracting professionals in civilian agencies.
FLH. Office of Federal Lands Highway (including the three division offices).
HAAM. FHWA Office of Acquisition Management.
HCA. The Executive Director is designated as the HCA for the FHWA.
Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP). Awards made under Part 8 or Part 13 of the FAR.
SPE. DOT Office of the Senior Procurement Executive.
Warrant. A written appointment issued on SF 1402 to a qualified Federal employee to serve as a Contracting Officer.
Who is responsible for managing the Contracting Officer Warrant Program within the FHWA? The authority of the HCA to establish and maintain a procurement career management program and a system for the selection, appointment, and termination of the Contracting Officer is delegated to the Director, HAAM.
What are the levels of authority delegated to the warranted Contracting Officers?
Based on FAC–C certification and DOT Simplified Acquisition Procedure (SAP) certification guidance, the following warrant levels are established for the FHWA:
|Certification Level||Warrant Limit||Minimum Recommended Grade|
Level I (SAP)
see a.(1) below
Level II (SAP)
see a.(3) below
GS–13 and above
(1) Level I (SAP). The warrant limit for Level I (SAP) may not exceed $100,000.00 (FAR Part 8) or $25,000.00 (FAR Part 13). This warrant authority may only be issued to individuals with a DOT Simplified Acquisition Level I Certification.
(2) Level I. The warrant limit for Level I may not exceed $100,000.00 and may only be issued to individuals with a FAC–C Level I Certification.
(3) Level II (SAP). The warrant limit for Level II (SAP) may not exceed $500,000.00 (FAR Part 8), and/or $100,000.00 (FAR Part 13). This warrant authority may only be issued to individuals with a DOT Simplified Acquisition Level II Certification.
(4) Level II. The warrant limit for Level II may not exceed $500,000.00 and may only be issued to individuals with a FAC–C Level II Certification.
(5) Level II (a). This warrant authority may only be issued to FLH acquisition personnel with a FAC–C Level II certification. This warrant authority (up to $50,000,000.00) is limited to the procurement of construction and Architect–Engineer services as defined in FAR Part 36. The Certificate of Appointment (SF 1402) shall reflect that limitation.
(6) Level III. This warrant authority may only be issued to individuals with a FAC–C Level III certification.
Warrant authority will vary depending on the need of the office and the credentials of the nominated individual. Warrant levels do not have to coincide with a particular grade; however, the individual’s grade will be considered by the COCO, along with his/her training and experience prior to approving the warrant. There must be a demonstrated need for the procurement authority requested. Warrant authority should be limited to the lowest possible dollar threshold for assigned responsibility.
Who may be appointed as a warranted Contracting Officer?
The Executive Director serving as the HCA is delegated the authority under 48 CFR 1201.601 and FHWA Order M1100.1A, Chapter 3, Paragraph 60, to enter into contracts for authorized supplies and services, and shall be considered a warranted Contracting Officer within the FHWA by virtue of his/her position.
The Associate Administrator for Administration and the Associate Administrator for FLH shall also be considered Contracting Officers within the FHWA by virtue of his/her position.
All other persons seeking Contracting Officer warrants will be recommended, in writing, by their supervisor to the respective COCO as described in paragraph 12 below.
Any position, regardless of GS Series, may be considered eligible for a warrant.; Selections and appointments shall be consistent with this FHWA Order.
What are the responsibilities and authority of a warranted Contracting Officer?
Only a warranted Contracting Officer is authorized to obligate the Government by signing any of the instruments detailed in paragraph 5a above. Contracting Officers may not exceed the scope of their authority as stated on their Certificate of Appointment (SF 1402).
The appointed Contracting Officer may not further delegate his/her authority. For example, if a Contracting Officer is on leave or travel, no other individual may sign procurement obligations in his/her place, unless that person is also a warranted Contracting Officer at the appropriate warrant level.
What are the procedures for obtaining a warrant?
The Contracting Officer’s Warrant Application form (Attachment A) shall be used for requesting warrants. It is the responsibility of the nominee’s immediate supervisor to forward the warrant nomination package, and to ensure that the nominee meets the certification requirements commensurate with the proposed warrant limit. The FLH application packages should be submitted to the FLH Washington Headquarters (HFL–1) for review. All other FHWA application packages should be submitted to the Acquisition Policy and Analysis Division (HAAM–10) for review.
Once the initial Headquarters review is complete, the application package is passed on to the COCO who reviews the request and the supporting documentation for completeness. The COCO also evaluates the applicant’s acquisition experience, training, and evidence of certification (see paragraph 13). If appropriate, the COCO then signs the Certificate of Appointment (SF 1402) and issues it to the applicant along with the appointment letter which details any limitations on the scope of authority to be exercised.
The SF 1402 must identify the warrant number, the warrant authority, the dollar threshold for each authority cited, and any other applicable restrictions. The Contracting Officer shall display the warrant in an easily seen location within their office.
What are the selection criteria for issuing a warrant?
NOTE: Recommendation of a qualified individual without a demonstrated need for the authority is not a sufficient reason to grant a Contracting Officer warrant.
The individual selected must meet the qualifications for the authority requested to include completion of the FAC–C or DOT Simplified Acquisition Certification at Level I, Level II, or Level III (FAC–C only) corresponding to the appropriate warrant level as outlined in this FHWA Order.
Other factors for consideration by the COCO include the procurement organization’s structure, the total volume of their contractual actions, the aggregate value of the anticipated procurements the candidate will be processing, the complexity and dollar value of the work involved, the candidate’s relevant experience, training, education, knowledge of acquisition policies and procedures, business acumen, judgment, character, and reputation. The “relevant experience” selection criteria are as follows:
(1) A minimum of 1 year (within the last 3 years) of relevant experience in Government contracting and administration, commercial purchasing, or related fields with progressively broader work assignments is required in order to qualify for a Level I warrant.
(2) A minimum of 2 years (within the last 5 years) of relevant experience in Government contracting and administration, commercial purchasing, or related fields with progressively broader work assignments is required in order to qualify for a Level II warrant.
(3) A minimum of 3 years (within the last 5 years) of relevant experience in Government contracting and administration, commercial purchasing, or related fields with progressively broader work assignments is required in order to qualify for a Level III warrant.
NOTE: Relevant experience means that the individual is performing those tasks which are typically associated with the 1102 job series. For example, someone who must meet the 1 year experience criterion for a Level I warrant must perform those 1102 type tasks for 12 months. An individual who performs those tasks on a part–time basis over that 1–year period, will not be given 12 months of credit toward the ”relevant experience” criterion (e.g., an individual spending 50% of their time performing engineering tasks and 50% of their time performing 1102 type tasks will meet the “1 year of relevant experience” over a period of 2 years.)
What are the training requirements?
The warrant candidate shall have completed all FAC–C or DOT Simplified Acquisition Certification mandatory Level I, Level II, or Level III training requirements prior to submitting an application for a warrant. Guidance for these training requirements is found in the DOT Acquisition Career Development Policy for Contracting Professionals. The only exception to this rule is if a waiver has been granted by the SPE.
To maintain a Federal acquisition certification and a warrant, acquisition professionals are required to earn 80 continuous learning points (CLPs) of skills currency training every 2 years.
ACMIS will be used to track acquisition personnel training and determination of equivalencies. Acquisition workforce personnel are required to have complete and current records (e.g., warrant, education, training, certification, and skills currency information) in ACMIS. The employee is responsible for initiating any action to modify his or her records in ACMIS. The employee’s supervisor is responsible for approving the data entered.
For FLH, FAC–C Acquisition Certifications and DOT Simplified Acquisition Certifications shall be centrally retained by HFL–1. Certifications for the rest of FHWA shall be centrally retained by HAAM–10.
Who may issue a warrant?
The authority of the agency head under Title 41, Subsection 414(4), United States Code, and FAR 48 CFR 1.603-1 to select, appoint, and terminate the appointment of Contracting Officers is delegated by the HCA to the Director, HAAM, and the Associate Administrator for FLH.
The Director, HAAM, and the Associate Administrator for FLH may re–delegate his/her contracting authority through the selection and appointment of Contracting Officers, using the guidance at TAM 1201.603 and the DOT Acquisition Career Development Policy for Contracting Professionals issued as a supplement to TAM 1201.
The authority of the COCOs (see paragraph 15a) to issue warrants is further delegated to the Resource Center Director, Division Administrators, and FLH Division Engineers. This authority is restricted to the selection, appointment, and termination of Contracting Officer warrants limited to Simplified Acquisition Procedures under FAR Parts 8 and 13.
COCOs shall maintain centralized files containing copies of all appointments and the documentation supporting those appointments.
What is required to maintain a warrant?
To maintain a DOT acquisition certification and warrant, acquisition professionals are required to earn 80 CLPs of skills currency training every 2 years. Continuous learning augments the minimum education, training, and experience standards for acquisition career fields. Participating in continuous learning will enhance the acquisition workforce by helping members:
(1) Stay current in acquisition functional areas, acquisition and emerging acquisition policy;
(2) Complete mandatory and assignment–specific training required for higher level of Federal acquisition certification;
(3) Complete “desired” training in the contracting career field;
(4) Cross–train to become familiar with, or certified in, multiple acquisition career fields;
(5) Learn by experience; and
(6) Develop leadership and management skills.
For all employees holding a FAC–C Acquisition Certificate or DOT Simplified Acquisition Certificate, COCOs shall monitor workforce members’ records for completion of continuous learning requirements, and ensure that they are properly documented in ACMIS.
Supervisors of those employees shall ensure that this continuous learning requirement is included in the employee’s annual Performance Appraisal Form (FHWA–1552).
An FAC–C Acquisition Certification or DOT Simplified Acquisition Certification will expire if the 80 CLPs are not earned every 2 years. The HCA or other appropriate appointing official (e.g., COCO), must revoke or modify a warrant if this condition is not met. If a warrant is revoked or modified, written notification must be provided to the affected employee in a timely manner indicating the effective date and sufficient instructions to ensure that no unauthorized obligations are made.
The Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI) Online and the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Continuous Learning Center (CLC) offers online, self–paced modules to help acquisition workforce members meet continuous learning requirements. DAU continually develops and adds new offerings to the CLC. Visit DAU CLC to complete a training module. Appropriate Web–based courses are also available through DOT’s Enterprise Learning Management System (eLMS).
When are warrants terminated?
The COCO may terminate a Contracting Officer’s warrant at any time. The COCO will give the individual, whose appointment has been terminated, a written notice stating the reasons, and the effective date of the termination. There will be no retroactive termination of a Contracting Officer’s warrant. Justifiable reasons for termination include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) The appointee transfers to another Government agency;
(2) The appointee retires, resigns, or is terminated from Government employment;
(3) The need for a Contracting Officer no longer exists;
(4) Reassignment to a new position within the organization or office where the need for the warrant no longer exists;
(5) Failure to comply with applicable statutes, Executive Orders, OMB Circulars, the FAR, and Departmental regulations and policies;
(6) Failure to maintain certification after appointment;
(7) Violation of the Code of Ethics; and
(8) Unsatisfactory performance.
Upon termination, the original SF 1402 should be returned to and retained by HAAM–10 or HFL–1. The SF 1402 shall be placed in the central warrant file and annotated as "CANCELLED." A brief cover memorandum indicating the reason for termination shall be included in the file with this cancelled SF 1402.
Where can I get additional information? For additional information, contact HAAM–10 at 202–366–4231.
Jeffrey F. Paniati