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Panoptic Enterprises' FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH

DATE: October 25, 2002

SUBJECT: Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS); Contracting Officer Qualifications

SOURCE: Federal Register, October 25, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 207, page 65509

AGENCIES: Department of Defense (DOD)

ACTION: Final Rule

SYNOPSIS: DOD is amending DFARS 201.603-2, Selection, to implement Section 824 of Public Law 107-107, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002. Section 824, Acquisition Workforce Qualifications, revised the qualification requirements that a new entrant into the contracting field must meet to serve as a contracting officer with authority to award or administer contracts exceeding the $100,000 simplified acquisition threshold.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For more on the acquisition-related provisions of the FY 2002 National Defense Authorization Act, see the January 2, 2002, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002."

EFFECTIVE DATES: October 25, 2002.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Schneider, Defense Acquisition Regulations Council, OUSD (AT&L) DP (DAR), IMD 3C132, 3062 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-3062; 703-602-0326; fax: 703-62-0350. Cite "DFARS Case 2002-D021" when referring to this final rule.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: Section 824 of Public Law 107-017 amended 10 U.S.C. 1724 to exempt the following DOD employees or members of the military from the requirement that contracting officers and others in GS-1102 series (contracting) positions and similar military positions have a bachelor's degree and at least 24 semester hours of business-related studies: (1) those who served as a contracting officer with authority to award or administer contracts in excess of the $100,000 simplified acquisition threshold on or before September 30, 2000; (2) those who served as an employee in the GS-1102 series or as a member of the armed services in a similar occupational specialty on or before September 30, 2000; (3) those in the contingency contracting force (that is, "members of the armed forces whose mission is to deploy in support of contingency operations and other operations of the Department of Defense"); and (4) those appointed by the Secretary of Defense to developmental positions.

DFARS 201.603-2 contains the qualifications a person must have to "serve as a contracting officer with authority to award or administer contracts for amounts above the simplified acquisition threshold..." It requires that a person complete all mandatory contracting courses required for a contracting officer, have at least two years experience in a contracting position, have a baccalaureate degree, and either (1) completed 24 semester hours in accounting, business finance, law, contracts, purchasing, economics, industrial management, marketing, quantitative methods, and organization and management, or (2) passed an equivalency examination. This final rule adds the Section 824 exemptions as paragraph (2). In addition, it deletes the current paragraph (2), which exempts employees who had at least 10 years experience in acquisition positions as of October 1, 1991, from the education requirements, and current paragraph (3), which exempts employees who are serving in the same positions as on October 1, 1993, from the mandatory contracting course requirements. These exemptions were made superfluous by the Section 824 exemptions. Finally, the final rule deletes the equivalency examination option.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.

Copyright 2002 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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