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Vern Edwards

The Role of the Contracting Officer

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I'm getting old as well as cranky and after reading The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margaretta Magnussun, I decided to go through my files and get rid of stuff. I found some old reading that might be of interest to some of you.

Once upon a time, before they gave up hope, acquisition experts used to be interested in contracting officers and their proper role in the acquisition process. When I opened one box I found the following publications. When the publication is available on line I provide a link. If I don't provide a link, try your own search. You may have better luck. Otherwise you'll have to call the publisher or another source.

Please don't contact me to ask for a copy.

Handbook for Entry-Level System Buyers: The Role-Relationship of the Contracting Officer and Program Manager and the System Project Office's Interfaces, by Major R. P. Foley, Air Command and Staff College, April 1985, DTIC ADA156313, available at http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a156313.pdf

Government Contracts in Public Administration: The Role and Environment of the Contracting Officer, by R. J. Cooper, Public Administration Review, September/October 1980, available through JSTOR and ResearchGate.

The DOD Contracting Officer: A Study of the Past; An Assessment of the Present; Recommendations for the Future, by R. J. Bednar and J. T. Jones, American Bar Association, Section of Public Contract Law, 1987. (Try contacting the ABA Public Contracts Law section. If you're in the DC area, try the GWU Law Library).

Role and Mission of the Contracting Officer, Logistics Management Institute, Task 72-2, May 1974, DTIC AD780796. (Despite the DTIC number, I could not find it online.)

The Contracting Officer and the System Manager: An Analysis of the Authorities and Responsibilities within the Defense Department, by Colonel R. T. Mankin, Defense Systems Management School, February 1974, DTIC AD780693. (Despite the DTIC number, I could not find it online.)

The Navy Program Manager and the Contracting Officer, by LCDR F. X. Munger, Defense Systems Management School, November 1974, DTIC ADA028656. (Despite the DTIC number, I could not find it online.)

Program Manager - Procuring Contracting Officer Relationship: How It Affects Program Management, Major C. G. Thompson, Defense Systems Management College, November 1973, ADTIC AD-A040515, available at http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a040515.pdf

I'll probably find more such titles as I open boxes. If so, I'll post them here.

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Acquisitions including contracting are definitely team sports that operate best with clearly understood roles and healthy relationships/boundaries. While maybe not always acquisition experts, we have a remnant still fighting the good fight and writing about these roles and relationships: 

Pachter, John S. "The Incredible Shrinking Contracting Officer." Public Contract Law Journal, vol. 39, no. 4, 2010, pp. 705-740.

Wynne, Michael W. "Functional Independence of Contracting Officers." Defense AT&L, vol. 34, no. 3, 2005, pp. 96.

Robert J Yates III. "The Role of Administrative Contracting Officers." Army Sustainment, vol. 46, no. 5, 2014, pp. 32-35.

Palmer, Rodney M. "The Role of Contracting Officer's Representatives." Army Sustainment, vol. 46, no. 5, 2014, pp. 26-31.

Miller, Thomas H. "It Takes Two: Working Toward More Effective Program Manager/Contracting Officer Relationships." Contract Management, vol. 54, no. 4, 04, 2014, pp. 14-15.

Krieger, John. "Knowing and Loving Your Program Manager: A GUIDE for CONTRACTING OFFICERS." Defense AT&L, November–December 2011, pp. 40–43.




I could not get the last link to work.  However. I may have found its companion piece.  Knowing and Loving Your KO A Guide for Program Managers

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Would anyone have similar recommendations for industry? I'm a contracts manager for a services firm and learning the whys and wherefores of who's responsible for what has been a conundrum of late.  Thanks!

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