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Good morning all. I was recently granted a $10M contracting officer's warrant. I have asked several "more expierienced" KO's this question and I have received two very different answers. The question is - Does the warrant limitation (in my case $10M) limit me to $10M per action (i.e. per mod, per award, etc) or is it $10M for the total cost of the contract (base, all options, all mods, etc)? My belief is that it is the total cost of the contract, not per action. I have read FAR Part 1.602 and I am still unclear. What do you think? Thanks in advance.

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Guest Vern Edwards
Good morning all. I was recently granted a $10M contracting officer's warrant. I have asked several "more expierienced" KO's this question and I have received two very different answers. The question is - Does the warrant limitation (in my case $10M) limit me to $10M per action (i.e. per mod, per award, etc) or is it $10M for the total cost of the contract (base, all options, all mods, etc)? My belief is that it is the total cost of the contract, not per action. I have read FAR Part 1.602 and I am still unclear. What do you think? Thanks in advance.

Gosh, leo, I love ya', but this question has come up time and time again. WHO KNOWS? There is no across-the-board answer. Ask the authority who gave you the warrant. If I gave you an answer it would be either from experience or logic, neither of which may be of any good to you.

My vote? I'll say that the dollar limit applies per contract action. That's based on experience and logic.

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Gosh, leo, I love ya', but this question has come up time and time again. WHO KNOWS? There is no across-the-board answer. Ask the authority who gave you the warrant. If I gave you an answer it would be either from experience or logic, neither of which may be of any good to you.

My vote? I'll say that the dollar limit applies per contract action. That's based on experience and logic.

Thanks Vern.

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Gosh, leo, I love ya', but this question has come up time and time again. WHO KNOWS? There is no across-the-board answer. Ask the authority who gave you the warrant. If I gave you an answer it would be either from experience or logic, neither of which may be of any good to you.

My vote? I'll say that the dollar limit applies per contract action. That's based on experience and logic.

Hey Vern - I did what you suggested - contacted the office that issued me my warrant. As usual (SMILE) you are correct - it's each contract action, not a cumulative total of all actions on a contract. Thanks for the guidance.

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Hey Vern - I did what you suggested - contacted the office that issued me my warrant. As usual (SMILE) you are correct - it's each contract action, not a cumulative total of all actions on a contract. Thanks for the guidance.

While you have legal authority to sign actions up to $10 million, your agency or your office may have administrative controls that limit your ability to exercise your warrant. Such policies may require reviews above the contracting officer level of all proposed actions exceeding $10/$20/$50 million. I have seen such policies. Sometimes, these policies define the dollar thresholds for reviews to include the value of all options, or they focus on the total estimated or maximum contract amount.

Be sure to adhere to your internal policies before signing any contracts.

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While you have legal authority to sign actions up to $10 million, your agency or your office may have administrative controls that limit your ability to exercise your warrant. Such policies may require reviews above the contracting officer level of all proposed actions exceeding $10/$20/$50 million. I have seen such policies. Sometimes, these policies define the dollar thresholds for reviews to include the value of all options, or they focus on the total estimated or maximum contract amount.

Be sure to adhere to your internal policies before signing any contracts.

I know of at least one agency that uses this clause in all solicitations and contracts above a certain dollar threshold:

52.204-1 Approval of Contract.

As prescribed in 4.103, insert the following clause:

Approval of Contract (Dec 1989)

This contract is subject to the written approval of [identify title of designated agency official here] and shall not be binding until so approved.

(End of clause)

In the case of the one I'm most familar with, the proposed contract must be cleared by a contract review board before the wriiten approval is obtained. The approval is an actual signature on the face of the contract. This also means the contractor must ensure the sagancy signtaure approval is obtained as well as the COs to ensure they have a valid contract.

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Thanks to all for your input. I have reviewed my agencies KO policies and thresholds for legal reviews and higher HQ approvals and, in case you haven't guessed, am taking my KO responsibilities seriously. The information gained at this forum and it's predecessor will be invaluable and the information available in the discussions and archives are a great jumping off point for inquiries. Thanks again.

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Guest Vern Edwards

I know that you will take the job seriously. So if the day ever comes when you are no longer haunted by self-doubt as your pen hovers over the signature line, give the warrant back. For a contracting officer, contracting, like flying, can be hours and hours of boredom interrupted by moments of sheer terror. That's what makes it fun.

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I know that you will take the job seriously. So if the day ever comes when you are no longer haunted by self-doubt as your pen hovers over the signature line, give the warrant back. For a contracting officer, contracting. like flying, can be hours and hours of boredom interrupted by moments of sheer terror. That's what makes it fun.

I wish this site had a "Like" button, as Facebook does.

Well said!

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Thanks to all for your input. I have reviewed my agencies KO policies and thresholds for legal reviews and higher HQ approvals and, in case you haven't guessed, am taking my KO responsibilities seriously. The information gained at this forum and it's predecessor will be invaluable and the information available in the discussions and archives are a great jumping off point for inquiries. Thanks again.

It's great that you're taking your warrant seriously, but this is much more of a risk for your contractors. From your point of view, if you are following internal policies on approvals, if this issue ever comes up in a litigation context, whoever does have the authority can ratify your action. From the contractor's point of view, if you act outside the scope of your authority and the agency chooses to not ratify the action, the contractor may be stuck. No such thing as apparent authority of agents when dealing with the government.

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  • 3 years later...

Depends on the agency.

If you worked for Health and Human Services, then IAW HHSAR 301.603-1(d) The dollar amount of an individual transaction determines whether a Contracting Officer has the authority to sign it in accordance with the delegated authority specified on the SF 1402. For new or follow-on awards, the dollar amount of an individual transaction is the amount obligated at the time of contract or order award plus any potential option amounts or future funding amounts established by the transaction. However, under an existing contract or order, when an option is subsequently exercised or a contact or order is otherwise modified to add funding, the dollar amount of the modification (individual transaction) determines whether a Contracting Officer has the necessary delegated authority to sign it.

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Guest Jason Lent

AFFARS MP 5301.603 paragraph 3.4 addresses the issue for Air Force:

3.4. Limited Warrants. Limited warrants may be issued for any monetary threshold depending upon organizational needs (see Note below), the qualifications and capabilities of the candidate, and in furtherance of the candidate’s career development. Limited warrants may be issued for specific functions (e.g., contract closeout, defective pricing actions, and funding actions). Successful completion of the COT signifies eligibility for a limited warrant above the SAT but less than $5M. The COT is optional for limited functional warrants (see paragraph 3.3.11) unless required by local procedures. Use of a formal warrant board for limited warrants of less than $5M, and/or limited functional warrants, is authorized for inclusion in local procedures.

Note: The value of the instant action (versus the value of the contract the action is against) or the type of action (for functional warrants) determines whether or not a limited warranted CO has authority to execute the action.

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I understand it to be per action or per function (such as for closeout or funding de-obligation).

Just be careful. Even though it is a limited warrant, it is still a warrant. I say this while watching them proprogate amongst the less experienced and ambitious 1102's working around me. Once you have the ability to sign for the Government, your CLM risk is high whether it is $5 million or $50 million. It is always a concern of mine that trade-off risk may be in play with the issuance of these limited warrants: a reduction in upper management work process pressure against an increase in career risk for newer folks in the field.

Keep in mind: it may sound counter-intuitive, but I feel there is more risk with lower dollar awards. Reason: less reviews.

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  • 2 months later...

Along similar lines, do I have the ability to approve an invoice for over my warrant amount? I know an invoice isn't an obligation, but I'm at HHS, and our warrant reads "The award and administration of contracts up to $10million, executed in accordance with all requirements of Federal law, executive order, blah blah"

Looking at this, it says that I also can't administer a contract over my warrant level. Meaning that even if the mod level is under my warrant level, if the total contract value is over it, I can't so much as issue an administrative mod on the contract. Is this correct?

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