Jason Kostansek/Getty Images

OMB Streamlines Contracting Officer Training with Certification Update

The update marks the first change to the certification process since 2014

The Office of Management and Budget issued a new update to the certification process for contracting officers Thursday in an effort to streamline training and credentialing.

In a memo from OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy, the agency outlined changes to the Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting, or FAC-C, standard, aligning it with the Department of Defense's own contracting certification to ensure parity for the training and education of acquisition personnel. 

The legacy FAC-C certification will transition to FAC-C (Professional), which corresponds with DOD's own Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act, or DAWIA, standard. The goal of which is to make it easier for contracting officers to follow similar certification practices across the federal government and thus, fostering talent mobility. The changes take effect Feb. 1.

The update marks the first change to the FAC-C since 2014, when OFPP officials added specialized training for IT procurement. 

"It shifts us from a talent management system based on early career classroom training, to one that reflects best practices in modern learning, training agility and continuous professional growth," said Lesley Field, deputy administrator for federal procurement policy, in the memo outlining the policy change. "The new program is also designed to attract more people into the contracting workforce from a variety of sources."

Under the change, current contracting officers certified at Levels I, II and III will automatically shift to the newly-designated, single FAC-C (Professional) certification. New hires will have a year to complete four core courses focused on the essential aspects of federal acquisition, from foundational knowledge through pre-award, award post-award processes.

Field noted in the memo that the federal contracting environment, "has grown increasingly complex and dynamic which necessitates a modernized approach allowing flexibility to respond to the ever-changing requirements laid upon this critical sector of the federal workforce."

News of the memo was first reported by Federal News Network.