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Hello all.

Some of us here are discussing the definition of "Level Above Contracting Officer".

Some think it means that if the contracting officer has a $10M warrant authority that any one with a greater warrant authority is considered "level above".

Some think that it means the "chain of command" or "Supervisory" level above the contracting officer.

I have searched and searched ACQuire, DAU, FAR, DFAR, NMCAR and could not find a single definition for "level above contracting officer".

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It is considered to be chain of command, organizational level, etc. Some agencies either define it as such or imply it in their internal agency policy. REF: Do a Google "What is the definition of Level Above the Contracting Officer."

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Guest Vern Edwards

There is no official definition of "level above the contracting officer" in the United States Code or the Code of Federal Regulations, which includes the FAR System. It is an old term that first appeared in the Federal Register in 1958, in the Armed Services Procurement Regulation. It was added in conjunction with a recommendation by a Congress:

Section 3.210-3 has been amended to provide that whenever contracts in excess of $50,000 are negotiated on the ground that it was impossible to draft specifications, they must now be reviewed by a responsible official at a level above the contracting officer. This change is responsive to the legislative recommendations in Subcommittee Proceedings No. 3 of the Subcommittee for Special Investigations of the House Committee on Armed Services, issued June 15,1957.

I agree with Carl that it is understood to refer to a supervisory or organizational level.

A more interesting question is whether "level above the contracting officer" refers to a person with obligational authority.

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Leo1102 - From the MCARS Acquisition Supplement again suggesting organization level not warrant level.

33.103 (NMCARS) Protests to the agency

(a) All agency-level protests received by Marine Corps contracting offices shall be subject to review and resolution by the Contracting Officer.


B) When an interested party requests an independent review of its protest at a level above the Contracting Officer, the Contracting Officer must submit the protest and the applicable documents described in FAR 33.104(3)(ii)-(iv) to the CCO for resolution.

© Protests received at field contracting offices that are not designated as regional offices shall be reviewed and resolved by the CCO overseeing that office.

(d) Where a CCO is the Contracting Officer and the protester seeks review one level above the Contracting Officer, the matter will be forwarded to LB for resolution.

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  • 4 months later...

At NAVSEA the standard is "…business clearance must be approved at least one management level above the person conducting negotiations". Through implementation this means the person above who is a "Supervisory Contract Specialist". This does not mean a senior Contracting Officer who is serving in a team lead capacity since in reality the team lead function is a made up function whether it appears on an organizational chart or not. There is no OPM job title in the GS-1102 classification for "Contract Specialist Team Lead", therefore there is not a unique PD for such a role, and often times the team lead could be a bargaining unit employee and part of a union...all of which are not managers.

Absent the NAVSEA standard, I would normally view a team lead as the level above, and have served in such a capacity a number of times in my former life as a team lead. That is assuming that the team leads are empowered by the organization to hold firm on the policies and regulation being enforced by the team lead, which has been my experience 80% of the time. But most properly, the supervisor should be engaged in the work that is taking place, perhaps at an appropriate threshold depending on the contracting activity, and should review certain works prior to the contract specialist / contracting officer moving forward. It's a basic internal control mechanism.

So I guess it just depends on how your organization is arranged. The result of a meaningful internal control of this type is to ensure that quality is built into the contract actions generated, that they are compliant with policies and regulations, and that ultimately the Government is obtaining its best value for the given action. If this is capable at the team lead level then so be it, if this is not capable at the team lead level, then the role should be completed by the supervisor.

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