302 FW 1
Contracting Officers’ Certification and Appointment Program

Supersedes 302 FW 1, 04/25/08

Date:  April 11, 2013

Series: Logistics

Part 302: Contracting Officers

Originating Office: Division of Contracting and Facilities Management



PDF Version


1.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter provides guidance to our acquisition workforce and their managers concerning the Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting (FAC-C) program and the Contracting Officer Certificate of Appointment (COA) program.


1.2 What are the objectives of this chapter? The objectives of this chapter are to:


A. Supplement the Department of the Interior’s FAC-C Manual and COA Manual, and


B. Describe the Service’s requirements and procedures for FAC-C certification and appointment as a Contracting Officer (CO).


1.3 What is the scope of this chapter? This chapter applies to all Service employees who are responsible for the acquisition of supplies and services for amounts above the micro-purchase threshold. The micro-purchase thresholds are currently amounts up to:


A. $3,000 for a single transaction of supplies,


B. $2,500 for services, and


C. $2,000 for construction.


1.4 What are the authorities for this chapter?


A. Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Act, as amended (41 U.S.C. 405(a)).


B. OFPP Policy Letter 05-01, Developing and Managing the Acquisition Workforce, 04/15/05.


C. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum, The Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting Program, 01/20/06.


D. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 1.6, Career Development, Contracting Authority, and Responsibilities (48 CFR).


E. Department of the Interior Acquisition Policy Release (DIAPR) 2010-11, Federal Acquisition Certificate in Contracting Program Manual, 04/08/10.


F. DIAPR 2010-09—Amendment 1, Contracting Officer Certificate of Appointment Program Manual, 04/08/10.


1.5 What is the Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting (FAC-C) program? OFPP established the FAC-C program in 2005. FAC-C describes the minimum education, experience, and training standards for COs and others in the acquisition workforce. The FAC-C Manual provides detailed standards.


1.6 What is the Contracting Officer Certificate of Appointment (COA) program? The COA program replaces the Contracting Officer Warrant System program. It provides the authority and procedures for appointing COs and granting them a certificate of appointment, previously known as a warrant. An applicant must be certified under the FAC-C program before receiving a COA. The COA Manual describes the program in detail.


1.7 Who is responsible for the FAC-C and COA programs in the Service?


A. The Chief, Division of Contracting and General Services, Headquarters (CGS/HQ):


(1) Is the Bureau Procurement Chief;


(2) Recommends FAC-C applications for approval to the Department’s Acquisition Career Manager;


(3) Gives final approval of COAs for the Service;


(4) Changes, suspends, or terminates CO appointments; and


(5) Assigns a member of his/her staff to be the Bureau Acquisition Career Coordinator.


B. The Bureau Acquisition Career Coordinator, CGS/HQ makes recommendations to the Bureau Procurement Chief on actions for FAC-C certification and COA applications.


1.8 What are the steps leading to certification under the FAC-C program?


A. The employee who plans to be a CO must:


(1) Meet the qualifications in the FAC-C Manual, and


(2) Complete and submit the FAC-C application for review and approval by the Regional CGS Chief (for HQ, the Branch Chief - Branch of Acquisition Operations (BAO)), Bureau Acquisition Career Coordinator, and Bureau Procurement Chief.


B. The Regional CGS Chief/HQ BAO Chief must:


(1) Review the application and supporting documentation for completeness and to ensure the employee is qualified, and


(2) Recommend or decline to recommend the employee for certification.


C. The Bureau Acquisition Career Coordinator must:


(1) Review the application to ensure the employee meets the qualifications, and


(2) When the application is acceptable, endorse it and send it to the Bureau Procurement Chief.


D. The Bureau Procurement Chief reviews the application, and, if acceptable, endorses it and sends it to the Department’s Acquisition Career Manager.


E. The Department’s Acquisition Career Manager reviews the package and issues the certificate or takes other appropriate action.


1.9 What are the steps leading to an employee receiving a Certificate of Appointment?


A. The employee must meet the qualifications in the COA Manual.


B. Effective January 1, 2013, all applicants for a new COA, including renewals, must also complete one continuous learning point of green procurement training. Evidence of completion, such as a training certificate, must be included in the application. See 301 FW 7.


C. The Regional CGS Chief or his/her designee determines the number of CO appointments a Region needs. In HQ, the BAO Chief determines the number of appointments. Following are the general guidelines they should consider for determining the number of COs for an office:


(1) Consider receiving support from other components before requesting a new appointment,


(2) Have a minimum of 100 open-market contract actions annually (contract awards, purchase orders, or modifications) in the office, and


(3) Have a minimum of 100 open-market contract actions annually for each additional CO to be appointed in the same office.


D. After the employee completes and submits the COA application and gets the required approvals from the Regional CGS Chief or HQ BAO Chief and the Bureau Acquisition Career Coordinator, the Bureau Procurement Chief:


(1) Generates a report from the Procurement Information System for Management (PRISM) to review the number of existing COs by level at the location, and


(2) Approves the COA or takes other appropriate action.


E. If the COA is an update to an existing COA, the Bureau Acquisition Career Coordinator submits a Financial and Business Management System (FBMS) request to have the limits updated n PRISM. For a new COA, the CO and his/her supervisor must submit a request through the Regional/HQ Account Controller to have the user assigned the “CO/BUYER” role in FBMS.


1.10 What are the levels of authority for COs? Depending on the needs of the office and the experience and qualifications of the employee, COs have different levels of authority. They are only allowed to issue contracts and task and delivery orders with a total value up to their authorized dollar threshold. Table 1-1 shows the levels of authority for COs.



Table 1-1: CO Levels of Authority

COA Level


Required FAC-C Level

Open Market

(Up to a maximum of)

Interagency Agreements4

(Up to a

maximum of)

Ordering from Established Sources

(Up to a

maximum of)

Level IA1

Any Series

Level I

$10,000 Supply,

$2,500 Service &

$2,000 Construction



Level IB2

1102 & 1105

Level I




Level II2


Level II




Level III2 & 5


Level III




Space Leasing

Any Series


Unlimited, general purpose and special

use space only


Unlimited, general purpose and special use space only


Notes: 1 Level IA authority is for non-procurement personnel (any classification series) performing simplified acquisitions as a collateral or part-time duty. Each Region is only allowed to have one Level 1A field COA unless the Bureau Procurement Chief approves an exception.

 2 Level IB, II, and III may only be individuals who report to a major acquisition buying office within the Service that is supervised and under the direction of an equal or higher FAC-C certified GS-1102.

3 Appointments may only be made to Federal employees.

4 COs are only required to sign obligations, i.e., funding being transferred to another agency, not agreements under which the Department receives funds.

5 A Region and HQ may only have one Level III COA unless the Bureau Procurement Chief approves an exception.


1.11 Can a COA be transferred to another location?


A. If a CO is reassigned to another office or location within a Region, the existing COA is automatically suspended until the Bureau Procurement Chief documents the need for the COA at the new office or location.


(1) In the Regions, the Regional CGS Chief sends the documentation to the Bureau Procurement Chief asking him/her to reinstate the COA.


(2) Section 1.11A above does not apply to employees promoted or reassigned to a new GS-1102 or 1105 series position within the same office.


B. If a COA is needed in a Region and the CO will be reassigned from a different Region within the Service, the Region needing the COA must first send an application to the Bureau Procurement Chief for approval. If approved, the Bureau Procurement Chief terminates the COA from the original Region and establishes a new COA in the Region requiring the CO. The COA does not transfer.


C. The Service does not recognize COAs that other bureaus or agencies issue.


D. At the request of a Regional CGS Chief, the Bureau Procurement Chief may authorize an employee with a current COA to exercise his/her CO authority for up to 6 months at a duty station other than the one to which he/she normally reports. This covers emergency situations and applies even if the new duty station is in a different Region.



1.12 What are the requirements for emergency COAs?


A. An emergency may require us to issue an emergency COA. An emergency is a situation that threatens danger to someone’s life or physical safety or to property (e.g., a forest fire).


(1) When a Regional CGS Chief identifies a need for an emergency COA beyond the Region’s boundaries (e.g., for a wildfire that crosses Regional boundaries), he/she must send a request to the Bureau Procurement Chief for authorization for an employee with an existing COA to exercise his/her authority at another location (see section 1.11D).


(2) If a Regional CGS Chief needs a new COA to cover an emergency, he/she must request a new COA that does not specify a location. The request must:


(a) Explain the nature of the emergency, and


(b) Specify the length of time that he/she needs the COA.


B. The Bureau Procurement Chief may issue an Emergency Acquisition Contracting Officer (EACO) COA to a Federal employee who does not have a FAC-C certification.


For information on the content of this chapter, contact the Division of Contracting and General Services. For additional information about this Web site, contact Krista_Bibb, in the Division of Policy and Directives Management.  

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