Part 501 - General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation System
Subpart 501.1 - Purpose, Authority, Issuance
(a) The General Services Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) contains agency acquisition policies and practices, contract clauses, solicitation provisions, and forms that control the relationship between GSA and contractors and prospective contractors.
(b) The GSAR addresses rules directly to you, the contracting officer , unless otherwise indicated.
GSA’s Senior Procurement Executive issues the GSAR under the authority of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended.
(a) General. The GSAR applies to contracts for supplies or services, including construction.
(b) Acquisition of leasehold interests in real property. part 570 establishes rules for the acquisition of leasehold interests in real property. Other provisions of 48 CFR Chapter 5 (GSAR) do not apply to leases of real property unless specifically cross-referenced in part 570.
(c) Relationship to statute. Some GSAR rules implement and interpret laws and other authorities affecting procurement. A GSAR rule specifically directed by statute has the force and effect of law.
501.105-1 Publication and code arrangement.
The GSAR is published in the following sources:
(a) The Federal Register at https://www.federalregister.gov/.
(b) Annual Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), as Chapter 5 of Title 48.
501.105-2 Arrangement of regulations.
(a) The GSAR numbers and captions policies and procedures to correspond to how they appear in the FAR, e.g., 1.104 in the FAR is 501.104 in the GSAR.
(c) The GSAR may have gaps in its numbering scheme because a FAR rule may not require GSAR implementation.
501.106 OMB Approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act.
The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (44 U.S.C. 35, et seq.) imposes a requirement on Federal agencies to obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before collecting information from 10 or more members of the public. The information collection and recordkeeping requirements contained in this regulation have been approved by the OMB. This table includes OMB approved control numbers from GSA (3090 series) and the FAR (9000 series) that are applicable to GSA acquisition requirements. The following OMB control numbers apply:
OMB Control No.
3090-0163, 3090-0235, 3090-0250, 3090-0262, 3090-0303, 3090-0306
3090-0080, 9000-0070, 9000-0102
(a) A new requirement for a certification by a contractor or offeror may not be included in the GSAR unless
(1) The certification requirement is specifically imposed by statute; or
(2) Written justification for such certification is approved by all of the following:
(i) The head of the contracting activity (HCA);
(ii) The Senior Procurement Executive (SPE); and
(iii) The GSA Administrator.
501.170 General Services Administration Acquisition Management System.
(a) Description. The General Services Administration Acquisition Management System consists of the General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) and agency and Service non-regulatory acquisition policies and procedures guidance documents. The General Services Administration Acquisition Manual (GSAM) consolidates acquisition policies and procedures for all GSA personnel.
(b) Applicability. The GSAM applies to GSA contracts for supplies or services, including construction. The GSAM does not apply to the acquisition of leasehold interests in real property, unless specifically cross-referenced in part 570.
(c) Format. The GSAM adheres to GSAR numbering and drafting conventions (see GSAR 501.105-2). Shading distinguishes regulatory material from non-regulatory material that applies internally to GSA. GSAR material is shaded. Non-shaded material is non-regulatory.
(d) Availability. The GSAM is available electronically at https://www.acquisition.gov/browsegsam.
Subpart 501.3 - Agency Acquisition Regulations
(1) GSA’s implementation and supplementation of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is issued in the GSAM, which includes the GSAR. The GSAM is under authorization and subject to the authority, direction, and control of the SPE. The GSAR contains acquisition policies and procedures that have a significant effect beyond the internal operating procedures of GSA or a significant cost or administrative impact on contractors or offerors.
(2) Relevant acquisition procedures, guidance, instruction, and information that do not meet the criteria in paragraph (a)(1) of this section are issued through the non-regulatory portion of the GSAM (see 501.170) and other GSA publications (see 501.370).
(b) See 501.304 for when Federal Register publication is required for any acquisition policy, procedure, solicitation provision, contract clause, or form.
501.304 Agency control and compliance procedures.
(a) Federal Register publication. Federal Register publication is required for any acquisition policy, procedure, solicitation provision, contract clause, or form, that has a significant effect beyond the internal operating procedures of GSA or a significant cost or administrative impact on GSA contractors or offerors, including any significant revisions (see FAR 1.501-1 and 501.501(a)).
(1) SPE approval is required for all Federal Register publications covered by paragraph (a) of this section.
(2) The Office of Acquisition Policy will coordinate with the HCA or authorized designee to adjudicate any comments received in response to a Federal Register publication.
(b) Business case. When publication in the Federal Register or a change to the GSAM is identified by a contracting activity, the HCA shall develop and submit a business case to the SPE for review and approval. The business case shall include, at a minimum, the following information—
(1) The name of the Service (e.g., PBS) and, if applicable, the contracting activity requesting the change;
(2) The rationale supporting the need, including a–
(i) Description of the problem or matter to be addressed; and
(ii) Discussion of the benefit to the agency and/or organization.
(3) A discussion of the effect, if any, on GSA's internal operating procedures, including an analysis of any impact on the following–
(i) The acquisition workforce;
(ii) Another office within GSA (e.g., FAS, PBS, OSDBU, OIG); or
(iii) Automated systems (i.e., financial and procurement).
(4) A discussion of the effect on contractors or offerors, if any, including an analysis of the following–
(i) The contracts and contractors affected (e.g. number, dollar value, and business size);
(ii) The estimated annual costs and benefits associated with the proposed change; and
(iii) The burden of new information collection requirements (see 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.), if any, associated with the proposed change (see 5 CFR 1320.8).
(5) An analysis of alternatives, risks, and risk mitigation;
(6) A discussion of the approach to be used to implement and monitor success;
(7) The proposed amendments to the FAR or the GSAM in line-in line-out format;
(8) A listing of the organization(s), if any, that have been briefed or involved in drafting the proposed amendments (e.g., Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Category Management Leadership Council); and
(9) A statement of legal sufficiency from the requestor's legal counsel.
(c) Compliance. HCAs are responsible for ensuring compliance with this section. At a minimum, HCAs should consider establishing a structure for reviewing new policies issued at a higher level (e.g., FAR and GSAM) and how this will facilitate the timely updating of any internal acquisition policy, procedure or guidance issued by the HCA consistent with their delegated authorities.
501.370 Other acquisition policies, procedures, and guidance.
(a) SPE Issuance. The SPE may issue an acquisition letter to provide interim acquisition policies, procedures, and guidance for a specific period of time or until such time that it can be incorporated into the GSAM or FAR, as applicable.
(b) HCA Issuance.
(1) HCAs, consistent with their delegated authorities, may issue internal acquisition policies, procedures, and guidance as described in FAR 1.301(a)(2) for their respective contracting activities.
(2) Internal acquisition policies, procedures, guidance shall not–
(i) Unnecessarily repeat, paraphrase, or otherwise restate the FAR, GSAM or SPE acquisition letters.
(ii) Except as required by law or as provided in subpart 501.4, conflict or be inconsistent with GSAM content.
(3) Prior to issuance, any new Service-level acquisition policy, procedure, or guidance shall be distributed to the following for review:
(i) The Office of Small Business Utilization, if applicable.
(ii) The Office of Acquisition Policy.
(c) Contents. All acquisition policy documents must contain the following elements, as appropriate—
(2) Document type (e.g., policy, procedure, or guidance);
(4) Effective period;
(5) Other affected or cancelled policies;
(6) Applicability (i.e., the offices to which the document applies);
(7) Instructions or requirements;
(8) Designated point of contact or e-mail address; and
(9) Supporting documents, as attachments.
(d) Availability. All GSA publications that include acquisition policies, procedures, or guidance (including those issued according to paragraph (b) of this section) must be accessible through the GSA Acquisition Policy Library available at https://insite.gsa.gov/acquisitionpolicylibrary.
(1) The Office of Acquisition Policy is responsible for maintaining a current list of acquisition policies, procedures, and guidance issued by the SPE within, or accessible through the GSA Acquisition Policy Library.
(i) The Service-level policy organization (e.g., FAS' Office of Policy and Compliance and PBS' Office of Acquisition) is responsible for maintaining a current list of acquisition policies, procedures and guidance issued by their respective contracting activities within, or accessible through, the GSA Acquisition Policy Library.
(ii) Each HCA is responsible for reviewing new or amendments to existing acquisition policies, procedures and guidance issued at a higher level (e.g., FAR and GSAM) to ensure their existing acquisition policies, procedures and guidance are current. If changes are needed, the HCA shall
(A) Notify affected contracting activities; and
(B) Update the GSA Acquisition Policy Library.
501.371 Regulatory Agenda Reviews.
(a) The Office of Acquisition Policy conducts a review of existing acquisition policies issued by the SPE biannually as part of GSA’s Regulatory Agenda. The purpose of the review is to prioritize resources for incorporating, as appropriate, active acquisition policies into the FAR or GSAM or for taking other actions, as necessary, to ensure currency of the existing acquisition policies.
(b) HCAs are encouraged to review GSA's Regulatory Agenda and existing acquisition policies issued by their respective contracting activities and to provide recommendations to the Office of Acquisition Policy for inclusion in GSA’s Regulatory Agenda.
Subpart 501.4 - Deviations from the FAR and GSAR
For purposes of determining whether an individual or class deviation is appropriate, as used in FAR subpart 1.4 and in this subpart—
“Contract action” means–
(1) Any oral or written action that results in:
(i) The purchase, rent, or lease of supplies, services, or construction;
(ii) The lease of real property; or
(iii) Modifications to these actions.
(2) Contract actions include, but are not limited to:
(i) Leases for real property;
(ii) Definitive contracts;
(iii) Any type of contract or agreement against which calls, orders, or purchases may be placed (e.g., governmentwide acquisition contracts, multi-agency contract, multiple-award contract, and blanket purchase agreements); and
(iv) Any call, order, or purchase made under leases for real property, contracts, or agreements.
(a) Uniformity is a goal of GSA's Acquisition Management System. Despite this desire for uniformity, a contracting activity may take any of the following actions:
(1) Develop and test new acquisition policies, procedures, methods or techniques.
(2) Adopt alternate acquisition policies, procedures, methods, or techniques to satisfy unique programmatic or managerial requirements.
(3) Change an
(i) Existing non-regulatory provision, or
(ii) Existing regulatory provision, including those implementing a statutory requirement provided the deviation does not violate the underlying statute.
(b) Deviations, as described by paragraph (a) of this section, must not be used to defeat the FAR or GSAM approval requirements.
(c) When an HCA believes that a deviation may be required on a permanent basis, the HCA should recommend an appropriate FAR or GSAM revision. Recommendations shall be submitted to the Office of Acquisition Policy.
501.403 Individual deviations.
(a) Individual deviations to the FAR may be approved by the HCA. This authority may not be delegated.
(b) Individual deviations to the GSAM may be approved by the HCA. HCAs may delegate approval authority for individual deviations to the GSAM to a level no lower than the Contracting Director.
(c) If GSA delegates authority to another agency and requires compliance with the GSAM as a condition of the delegation, the Contracting Director in the agency receiving the delegation may approve individual deviations from the GSAM, unless the agency head receiving the delegation designates another official.
(d) Copies of approved individual deviations shall be sent to the Office of Acquisition Policy within five business days after approval.
501.404 Class deviations.
(a) General. Class deviations to the FAR and the GSAM may be approved by the SPE, unless FAR 1.405(e) is applicable. A deviation to a multiple-award contract as defined in FAR 2.101 is considered to be a class deviation.
(b) Submission requirements. Class deviation requests shall be submitted through the contracting activity's respective policy organization (e.g., FAS' Office of Policy and Compliance and PBS' Office of Acquisition) to email@example.com for SPE review and approval.
(c) Expiration. Unless otherwise specified in the deviation itself or extended, class deviations expire 12 months from the date of approval.
(d) Other agencies. If GSA delegates authority to another agency and requires compliance with the GSAM as a condition of the delegation, the HCA in the agency receiving the delegation may approve class deviations from the GSAM, unless the agency head receiving the delegation designates another official.
501.470 Content requirements.
(a) Deviation requests shall include the information in 501.304(b) as well as the following information—
(1) Identification of the type deviation (i.e., an individual or class deviation);
(2) Identification of which paragraph(s) of FAR 1.401 best categorizes the request;
(3) Citations to the specific part or parts of the FAR or GSAM from which a deviation is needed;
(4) The proposed effective period of the deviation; and
(5) If the request is to support a new acquisition, provide a copy of the draft solicitation and acquisition plan.
Subpart 501.5 - Agency and Public Participation
501.501 Solicitation of agency and public views.
(a) A revision to the FAR or GSAM requires public participation through the rulemaking process if it is considered to be significant, as defined at FAR 1.501-1. For example, the revision—
(1) Contains a new certification requirement for contractors or offerors that is not imposed by statute (see FAR 1.107 and 501.107); or
(2) Will be used on a repetitive basis and imposes a new requirement for the collection of information from 10 or more members of the public (see FAR 1.106).
(b) A revision to the FAR or GSAM does not require public participation through rulemaking if it is not considered to be significant as defined at FAR 1.501-1. For example, the revision—
(1) Is for a single-use intended to meet the needs of an individual acquisition (e.g., a clause developed as a result of negotiations and documented in the business clearance or similar document), except for clauses that constitute a deviation as defined at FAR 1.401; or
(2) Is used on a repetitive basis, but does not impose a new requirement for the collection of information from 10 or more members of the public (e.g. a requirement for a statement of work)(see FAR 1.106).
Subpart 501.6 - Career Development, Contracting Authority, and Responsibilities
“Acquisition Career Manager (ACM)” means the GSA agency official within the Office of Acquisition Policy that has been appointed by the CAO, or designee, to lead the agency's acquisition career management programs.
“Administrative Warrant Issuing Agent” means the Director of the GSA Acquisition Workforce Division (AWD) within the Office of Acquisition Policy.
“Acquisition Career Management Point of Contact” means the GSA agency official identified by the HCA to lead the implementation of acquisition certification, warrant, training and career development programs for that organization.
“Contracting Officer Warrant Board (COWB)” means a group of senior-level acquisition employees within a contracting activity who receive, evaluate, and process requests for selection and nomination of contracting officers at the basic, simplified, intermediate, and senior levels.
“Contracting Officer Warrant Program (COWP)” establishes the criteria for the appointment and termination of GSA contracting officers. This ensures that GSA follows a standardized process for qualifying and appointing individuals as contracting officers based on the organization's needs for contracting authority.
(b) Responsibilities of Acquisition Career Management Positions.
(1) Acquisition Career Manager (ACM). The ACM is responsible for ensuring that the agency’s acquisition workforce (AWF) meets the requirements established by the agency, OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), and other applicable authorities. The functions of the ACM role include, but are not limited to–
(i) Managing the identification and development of the AWF;
(ii) Providing recommendations on acquisition-related human capital strategic planning;
(iii) Ensuring that agency policies and procedures for acquisition workforce management are consistent with those established by OFPP;
(iv) Serving as the agency senior advisor for acquisition human capital matters; and
(v) Representing the agency in government-wide acquisition workforce forums, including, but not limited to the Interagency Acquisition Career Management Committee, Federal Acquisition Council on Training, and other government-wide groups, as applicable.
(2) Administrative Warrant Issuing Agent. The Administrative Warrant Issuing Agent will issue warrants centrally in the official government-wide career management system of record. The Administrative Warrant Issuing Agent is not an HCA and does not bear responsibility for any of the actions carried out by the contracting officer under the warrant. The HCA for a contracting activity shall retain authority and responsibility for acquisition career management, including but not limited to
(i) Managing the identification and development of the AWF;
(ii) Providing recommendations on acquisition-related human capital strategic planning;
(iii) Fulfilling the obligations established in GSAM 501.603.
(3) Acquisition Career Management Points of Contact.
(i) Pursuant to applicable HCA delegation memos, FAS, PBS and the Office of Administrative Servicesare responsible for establishing an infrastructure to support acquisition career management for their workforce members. The strategy and implementation timelines for the acquisition career management infrastructure are determined by organizations according to their respective business needs and structure.
(ii) Primary points of contact for acquisition career management shall be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org within ten (10) business days of appointment or termination with the subject line "Acquisition Career Management POC".
(iii) Designated Acquisition Career Management Points of Contact will be posted to the Acquisition Career Management pages on the GSA Acquisition Portal at https://insite.gsa.gov/acquisitionportal.
(c) The Career Management System of Record. The Clinger-Cohen Act (Public Law 104-106 §4307) mandated federal agencies to have a database containing education, experience, training and other data about their AWF. The government-wide career management system is the official system of record for the federal civilian agency AWF and is maintained by the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI).
(1) The AWF shall utilize the official government-wide career management system of record to conduct and maintain their career management activities for certifications, warrants, and acquisition training.
(2) Employees are responsible for maintaining the records needed to demonstrate that they have satisfied certification, warrant and training requirements for quality assurance purposes.
(3) Supervisors must ensure that AWF members are registered in the career management system of record and maintain data accuracy in the system for their direct reports.
(d) Required Continuous Learning.
(1) GSA-required training within the curricula of a certification or warrant may be assigned, upon issuance of a certification or warrant, as mandatory continuous learning with a specified deadline for completion.
(2) Failure to complete any required training within the specified time may result in the expiration or revocation of the certification or warrant.
(e) For additional information on any of the topics covered in GSAM subpart 501.6, refer to the Acquisition Career Management page on the GSA Acquisition Portal at https://insite.gsa.gov/acquisitionportal.
501.602 Contracting officers.
(a) Fund sufficiency. A requisition or purchase request signed by an authorized individual is evidence that sufficient money for the purchase is available in the fund cited.
(b) GSA revolving funds. A requisition for indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts requiring a guaranteed minimum quantity must specify enough funds to pay for the guaranteed minimum.
(c) GSA funds, other than revolving funds.
(1) The requisitioning activity must certify that additional funds are available before contract or purchase order award if the purchase exceeds the dollar amount on the requisition by 10percent or $50, whichever is greater.
(2) If a requisition is not used, e.g.,lease of real property, the contracting officer must ensure funds are available before awarding the contract.
(d) Other Federal agencies’ funds. A GSA buying activity must not exceed a fund limitation on a customer agency’s purchase request unless authorized by supply support agreements. If a purchase request indicates insufficient funds to cover all costs, the customer agency must provide additional funds. Regardless of which Central Office or Regional buying activity will make the acquisition, the office initially receiving the requirement requests the additional funds.
501.602-3 Ratification of unauthorized commitments.
(a) Authority to ratify. Under FAR 1.602-3, the contracting officer may ratify unauthorized contractual commitments if the HCA approves the ratification action. An HCA may not redelegate approval authority.
(b) Criminal investigation. Generally, the Government is not bound by commitments made by persons with no contracting authority. Unauthorized commitments may violate laws or regulations. They constitute serious employee misconduct and may warrant disciplinary action. If unauthorized commitments involve any type of misconduct that might be punishable as a criminal offense, either the contracting officer or the employee’s supervisor must report the matter immediately to the Office of the Inspector General with a request for a complete investigation.
(c) Documentation required for ratification. The individual who made the unauthorized commitment gives the contracting director all records and documents about the commitment and a complete written statement of facts, including all the following:
(1) Why normal acquisition procedures were not followed.
(2) Why the contractor was selected.
(3) Other sources considered.
(4) Description of work or products.
(5) Estimated or agreed-upon contract price.
(6) Appropriation citation.
(7) Status of contract performance.
(d) Documentation waivers. Under exceptional circumstances, a contracting director may waive the requirement that the individual who made the unauthorized commitment must initiate and document the request for ratification. In such a case, the individual who does initiate the request for ratification must provide a written determination stating that an unauthorized commitment was made and identifying the individual who made it. For example, an exceptional circumstance may occur when the person who made the unauthorized commitment is no longer available to attest to the circumstances.
(e) Processing a ratification.
(1) The contracting officer must process the request for ratification. Prepare a summary statement of facts addressing the limitations in FAR 1.602-3(c) and recommend whether or not the procurement should be ratified. Include a recommendation for other disposition if you advise against ratification.
(2) Submit to the HCA all the following:
(i) Request for ratification,.
(ii) The contracting officer’s statement of facts and recommendation(s).
(iii) Concurrence of assigned legal counsel (except when the contracting officer recommends payment based on quantum meruit or quantum valebant).
(iv) If applicable, recommendation for payment on a quantum meruit or quantum valebant basis (see 501.602-3(f)).
(v) Recommendation for corrective action to prevent recurrence.
(f) Payment based on quantum meruit or quantum valebant.
(1) If ratification is not permissible due to legal improprieties, the contracting officer may recommend that payment be made under either:
(i) Services rendered on a quantum meruit basis (the reasonable value of work or labor).
(ii) Goods furnished on a quantum valebant basis (the reasonable value of goods sold and delivered).
(2) To base payment on either of these conditions, there must be a showing that the Government has received a benefit (See FAR 1.602-3(d)).
(3) The contracting officer must obtain the approval of assigned counsel before making any payment on a quantum meruit or quantum valebant basis.
(g) HCA action. The HCA either:
(1) Approves the ratification request in writing and sends the approval to the contracting officer for issuance of the necessary contractual documents.
(2) Forwards a recommendation for payment on a quantum meruit or quantum valebant basis to assigned counsel for approval.
(3) Returns an unjustified request or recommendation with a written explanation why the request or recommendation is denied.
(h) Files. The HCA maintains a separate file containing a copy of each request to ratify an unauthorized contractual commitment and the response. The HCA must make this file available for review by the Senior Procurement Executive and the Inspector General.
501.603 Selection, appointment, and termination of appointment for contracting officers.
“Contracting experience” means personal and substantial involvement in purchasing, renting, leasing, or otherwise obtaining goods or services from federal and non-federal sources and includes any of the following functions: preparing and issuing purchase orders, including issuing requests for quotations or solicitations, evaluating bids or proposals, selecting sources, price/cost analysis, participating in price negotiations, and contract award and administration.
“Lease amendment” includes the dollar value of Reimbursable Work Authorizations and is based on the absolute value of changes.
“Total lease contract value” means the entire lease award amount at initial award, including the dollar value of option periods and excluding the dollar value of Reimbursable Work Authorizations for tenant improvements that are above standard agency tenant improvement allowances.
(b) Certifications. All employees, regardless of series, must be certified at the designated level in the appropriate acquisition certification program pursuant to GSA policy and guidance in order to be considered for a contracting officer warrant.
(1) Application Process:
(i) Applicants are responsible for preparing an application package for submission electronically through the career management system of record. The electronic application must include all supporting documentation including transcripts, training certificates, resume, and any other supporting documents.
(2) Waivers. The SPE may waive the requirement for obtaining a certification prior to appointment as a contracting officer. Waivers will only be considered in compelling and well documented circumstances. This authority is non-delegable. Waivers are not transferable to other agencies.
(c) Contracting Officer Warrant Program (COWP). GSA’s COWP is administered by the Office of Acquisition Policy.
(1) Factors in determination of need for warranted contracting officers. The COWP ensures that a GSA organization has qualified individuals as contracting officers who meet the organization's needs for contracting authority. Factors considered in determining the number of contracting officers appropriate for a given organization include volume of actions, work complexity, and organizational structure.
(2) Training, education and experience. The COWP ensures warrant applicants meet all federal and agency requirements for training, education and experience.
(i) GSA’s SPE:
(A) Establishes the policies, procedures, and requirements that govern COWP.
(B) Approves/disapproves in writing, any deviations, waivers or exemptions from any of the COWP requirements.
(C) Minimum standards for GSA warrants are identified on the Acquisition Career Management pages on the GSA Acquisition Portal at https://insite.gsa.gov/acquisitionportal.
(A) Establish and budget for training plans for contracting officers.
(B) Monitor contracting officers’ performance.
(C) Establish controls to ensure compliance with laws, regulations, procedures, and good management practice with respect to warrant use by contracting officers.
(D) Determine the number of contracting officer warrants necessary for a particular work unit and the grade levels at which the warrant authority will be granted.
(E) Establish an infrastructure to support acquisition career management, including certifications and warrant programs, for workforce members.
(F) Appoint the contracting activity’s Contracting Officer Warrant Board (COWB) to process requests for contracting officer warrants.
(G) Establish written procedures for the COWB to ensure the requirements of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)1.603 and this section 501.603 are met when appointing contracting officers.
(H) Select and nominate through the COWB qualified candidates for appointment as contracting officers.
(I) Appoint contracting officers. The HCA may further limit warrant authorities at each warrant level.
(J) May establish additional requirements beyond the minimum standards for training, education, experience and certifications prior to issuing a warrant.
(K) Retain acquisition career management responsibilities for warrants, based on the contracting officer's organizational assignment..
(A) Ensures consistent implementation of the COWP across GSA.
(B) Establishes minimum criteria for the contracting activity's COWB to use in the selection, appointment, and termination of appointment of GSA contracting officers.
(4) Applicability. COWP applies to all contracting officers except those appointed under the Inspector General Act (Pub. L. 95-452). Contracting authority is not required to:
(i) Sign training authorizations for public course offerings.
(ii) Sign travel documents.
(iii) Order printing and duplicating services from Government sources.
(iv) Order supplies from GSA stock through GSA Advantage! or other electronic means.
(v) Sign Government Bills of Lading.
(vi) Sign system-generated orders for motor vehicles or for requisitions under the Federal Acquisition Service Special Order Program.
(vii) Authorize interagency transfers of funds.
(viii) Use the Government telephone systems for commercial long distance and local service and/or approving payments for such services.
(ix) Use the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) nationwide contract for express small package transportation services and/or approving payments for such services.
(x) Certify receipt and acceptance of goods or services. (This does not apply to certified invoices under 513.370.)
(5) Warrant levels.
(i) COWP warrant levels are based on the dollar value of individual transactions.
(ii) Individual transactions include the following:
(A) The dollar value of a contract ataward or a total lease contract value at award, including the dollar value of option periods.
(B) The dollar value of a modification award or lease amendment award, individually,and not the aggregate contract dollar value of a contract or lease including the contract modification or lease amendment.
(C) The dollar value of a blanket purchase agreement award including the dollar value of option periods.
(D) The dollar value of a blanket purchase agreement modification award, and not the aggregate blanket purchase agreement dollar value.
(E) The dollar value of an order award against an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (e.g. Federal Supply Schedules, Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts, Multi-agency Contacts, agency- specific indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts) including the dollar value of option periods, and not the aggregate contact dollar value.
(F) The dollar value of a modification award to an order against an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract, and not the aggregate order dollar value.
(G) The dollar value of a purchase order.
(H) The dollar value of a modification to a purchase order and not the aggregate purchase order dollar value.
(iii) If an individual transaction includes both additions and deductions, the aggregate, absolute value of the changes determines the warrant level required for award (e.g., the value of an individual action that adds $35,000 of work and deducts $80,000 is $115,000).
(iv) Warrant level thresholds.
SAT (SLAT for Leasing)1
1 SLAT Warrant Procurement Limit. Lease procurement awards using a Simplified warrant shall not exceed a total lease contract value of $10,000,000.
(v)GSA use of the Government purchase card for micro-purchases shall follow the instructions under GSA Order 4200.1A CFO.
(d) Change order authority. Contracting officers may authorize COR change order authority in accordance with the limitations in GSAM 543.202, Authority to issue change orders.
(e) If the HCA determines that the considerations listed under GSAM 542.302(c) warrant the establishment of a contract administration office, a contracting officer with an unlimited warrant may authorize contract administrative functions in accordance with GSAM 542.302(d).
(a) Contracting Officer Warrant Board (COWB).
(1) The COWB ensures that all of the applicable criteria have been met prior to granting any GSA contracting officer warrant.
(2) Composition of the COWB. The HCA appoints the Board members and the Chair.
(i) COWB Chair. The COWB Chair evaluates the contracting officer candidate's credentials prior to submission to the COWB.
(ii) Senior leadership representing each type of warrant issued by the contracting activity.
(iii) Other specialized representation, such as legal counsel assistance (as requested).
(iv) Any other designee with knowledge and experience in the warrant procedures.
(b) Nominations for appointment. Nominations for appointment are submitted by the candidate's supervisor of record to the designated Acquisition Career Management Point of Contact. The designated Acquisition Career Management Point of Contact must coordinate with the candidate and COWB to facilitate approval by the HCA.
(c) Evaluation of candidates for contracting officer warrants.
(1) Experience requirements. The COWB must consider the candidate's relevant experience in determining the candidate's capability to assume contracting officer responsibilities at the desired level. The COWB must consider the quality of past contracts and leases as it pertains to the review of contract files for conformity to policy, quality of documentation and appropriate contracting action and the results of any independent review conducted by the contracting activity to verify the nominee's contracting experience as defined in 501.603-1(a) at the intermediate and senior level.
At least 1 year of current (within last 3 years) contracting experience with progressively broader assignments
At least 2 years of current (within the last 5 years) contracting experience with progressively broader assignments
At least 3 years of current (within the last 7 years) contracting experience with progressively broader assignments
At least 4 years of current (within the last 10 years) contracting experience with progressively broader assignments
(2) Training requirements. Warrant applicants must complete specific training for the applicable warrant type as a condition of being issued that warrant as identified on the Acquisition Career Management pages on the GSA Acquisition Portal at https://insite.gsa.gov/acquisitionportal.
(3) Educational requirements. Employees who were warranted prior to January 1, 2000, are considered to have met the educational standard for their existing warrant; however, warrant increases or new warrant applications are subject to applicable warrant requirements.
(a) Certificate of appointment.
(1) HCAs approve warrants and appoint contracting officers, prior to issuance of the SF-1402.
(b) Types of appointments. Candidates are nominated for either an interim or permanent appointment.
(1) Interim appointments. Interim appointments are for a specified period of time. Personnel who hold interim warrants must complete all training required for a permanent warrant within 1 year of the interim appointment. Personnel who hold interim warrants above the simplified level must complete all training and formal education required for a permanent warrant within 3 years of the interim appointment.
(2) Permanent appointments. A permanent appointment may be made when a candidate meets all requirements for experience, education, and training at the time the appointment is made.
(c) Applicability of Warrant Authority.
(1)Warrants are valid agency-wide within GSA, with noted exceptions. Operational guidance is available on the Acquisition Career Management pages on the GSA Acquisition Portal at https://insite.gsa.gov/acquisitionportal.
(2)Contracting officers that transfer to a new contracting activity maintain their existing active warrant in the new contracting activity upon HCA approval.
(3) Exceptions. Warrants will be administratively terminated upon employee transfer if:
(i)The contracting officer transfers to a non-contracting activity;
(ii)The warrant authority is specific (e.g., Real Property Leasing, Real Property Disposal, Fleet Acquisition, Fleet Sales, Personal Property Disposal) and the receiving contracting activity does not have authority for execution of work associated with the requisite warrant;
(iii)The receiving contracting activity does not have an organizational need for the warrant; or,
(iv)The receiving contracting activity needs to increase or decrease the warrant threshold.
(d) Authority to make purchases for domestic and national security emergencies.
(1) A contracting officer may enter into contracts on behalf of a GSA organization different from the organization specified in their Certificate of Appointment in response to a contingency operation, defense or recovery from certain attacks, major disaster declarations as defined in FAR 18 and other domestic or national security emergencies.
(2) The Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer (OCAO) or HCA may grant higher contracting authority during emergencies for Basic, Simplified and Intermediate warrants.
(3) The OCAO or HCA may appoint contracting officers with authority limited to entering into contracts required to respond to domestic or national security emergencies. This will provide GSA a cadre of emergency contracting officers who can instantly respond to emergencies if necessary. For warrants issued as a direct result of an emergency, the OCAO or HCA must have reasonable assurance that the employee is eligible to be warranted if the nature of the emergency precludes submission of otherwise required documentation for the warrant (see 501.603-3(b)).
(e) Record maintenance and disposal.
(1) HCAs are required to keep and maintain comprehensive files containing relevant information on all appointed contracting officers until such time as all warrant data is fully maintained in the career management system of record, and as determined by the ACM.
(2) HCAs are required to submit reports, at least on a quarterly basis, to the ACM with consistent and up to date information on the contracting officer warrants issued and terminated until such time as all warrant data is fully maintained in the career management system of record, and as determined by the ACM.
(3) Acquisition professionals are responsible for maintaining a copy of their acquisition training history and source documents used for certification requests.
(4) In accordance with GSA Order OAS P 1820.1, GSA Records Management Program, dispose of expired contracting officer files and warrants by placing the contracting officer records in an inactive file following reassignment, termination of employment or revocation of designation. The inactive file cutoff date is the end of the fiscal year. The files are to be destroyed two years after the cutoff.
(a) The SPE has the authority to suspend or terminate any GSA contracting officer appointment in any organizational component of the agency. SPE suspensions or terminations of warrants may not be overridden by any other GSA appointing official.
(b) At any time, an HCA may terminate an appointment, change a permanent warrant to an interim warrant, reduce the warrant level, or refuse to accept a warrant from another contracting activity.
(1) The supervisor of record must notify the designated Acquisition Career Management Point of Contact within the organization when a contracting officer does any of the following:
(ii) Transfers to another agency.
(iii) Is reassigned to another office within GSA.
(iv) Is terminated, or otherwise disciplined, for malfeasance or incompetence.
(v) Does not need the appointment.
(vi) Fails to comply with experience, education or training requirements.
(2)The Acquisition Career Management Point of Contact must notify the Administrative Warrant Issuing Agent in accordance with the procedures identified on the Acquisition Career Management pages on the GSA Acquisition Portal at https://insite.gsa.gov/acquisitionportal.
(d) Managers within the supervisory chain-of-command may at any time, suspend a contracting officer's appointment for any of the following:
(1) There is reason to believe that the contracting officer failed to exercise sound business judgment.
(2) There is reason to believe that the contracting officer engaged in other improprieties in carrying out contracting officer responsibilities.
(3) Failure of the contracting officer to comply with continuous learning requirements.
501.604 Contracting Officer's Representative (COR).
(a) The COR’s role is to develop proper requirements and ensure during contract administration the contractors meet the commitments of their contracts, including the timeliness and delivery of quality goods and services as required by the contract.
(b) FAC-COR Certification. When required and regardless of series, employees, must complete the GSA certification and training requirements to obtain and maintain an active Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer's Representative (FAC-COR) at the appropriate level in the career management system of record. COs determine the certification level required for each delegation of contract administration as described in the COR appointment letter.
(1) Timeframe. CORs must be certified at the appropriate level no later than 6 months from the date of their appointment.; an approved SPE waiver is not required to exercise this flexibility.
(2) If an employee has been appointed to serve as a COR, but does not hold an active FAC-COR certification at the appropriate level within 6 months from the date of the appointment, a waiver request must be submitted and approved by the SPE (see paragraph (d)). The CO shall remove the employee from the appointment until the certification has been obtained. COs must confirm that an employee holds an active FAC-COR certification in the career management system of record. The CO must confirm throughout the period of performance that the COR certification remains active.
(3) If a CO and/or the employee's supervisor is notified that an employee serving on a COR delegation is not certified at the appropriate FAC-COR level, the CO shall designate a replacement COR within 30 calendar days.
(c) COR Critical Elements. Every fiscal year, supervisors are required to include the mandatory standard (acquisition-related) critical element in all performance plans for GSA employees who hold a FAC-COR certification and are under an active delegation. Once the standard element is included, supervisors may add additional duties and performance metrics specific to the responsibilities of the employee.
(1) This requirement applies to all GSA FAC-COR holders, regardless of the dollar threshold and/or scope of the contract(s) that they are assigned to support as a COR.
(i) This requirement does not apply to Contracting Officers who also serve as CORs.
(ii) This requirement does not apply to GS-1170s or Leasing Contracting Officers, of any job series.
(3) Additional information and guidance can be found on the Acquisition Career Management pages on the GSA Acquisition Portal at https://insite.gsa.gov/acquisitionportal.
(d) Waivers. The SPE may waive the requirements for FAC-COR certifications certifications. Waivers will only be considered in compelling and well documented circumstances for a period not to exceed 6 months. This authority is non-delegable. FAC-COR waivers are not transferable to other agencies.
(e) Contracting officer’s responsibilities.
(1) In appointing CORs under GSAM 542.2, the contracting officer must take into consideration the appropriate FAC-COR Level needed to protect the government's interest. The contracting officer must consider the risk associated with the acquisition, including contract type, in order to determine the appropriate level of FAC-COR coverage.
(2) Contracting officers must provide appointment letters in writing to the contractor, outlining the COR's responsibilities under the contract and the limits of the COR's authority to the contractor. The contracting officer must also provide a copy to the COR and the COR supervisor, and maintain a copy in the official contract file, or a central file referenced in the contract file.
(3) The contracting officer is authorized to revoke a COR appointment. Any revoked COR appointment must be documented in writing and maintained in the official contract file or a central location referenced in the contract file. The CO must notify the COR, the COR's supervisor, the contractor and the designated Acquisition Career Management Point of Contact (ACM POC) within 7 calendar days of the revocation.
501.670 Category Managers.
(a) Category managers are responsible for identifying inefficient purchasing behavior and crafting smarter buying strategies within specific areas of spend as described in Government-wide Category Management, Guidance Document issued by the Office of Management Budget, available at https://hallways.cap.gsa.gov/information/Gov-wide_CM_Guidance_V1.pdf.
(b) Transactional data. Category managers should use transactional data collected via clauses 552.216-75 and 552.238-80 Alternate I in conjunction with commercial market benchmarks to identify potential areas for improvement in contracting methods, pricing, and terms or conditions.
501.671 Program and Project Managers (P/PM).
(a) General. The Federal Acquisition Certification for Program and Project Managers (FAC-P/PM) core certification program certifies program and project managers at three levels: Entry, Mid and Senior. This certification program is based upon a competency model of performance outcomes which measures the knowledge, skills and abilities gained by program and project managers through professional training, job experience and continuous learning. Program and Project Managers (P/PMs) are critical to project success, including developing accurate government requirements and managing life-cycle activities to ensure that intended outcomes are achieved. Information about FAC-P/PM is available at https://www.fai.gov/ and GSA’s Acquisition Portal at https://insite.gsa.gov/acquisitionportal.
(b) FAC-P/PM Certification. When required and regardless of series, employees must complete the GSA certification and training requirements to obtain and maintain an active Federal Acquisition Certification for Program and Project Managers (FAC-P/PM) at the appropriate level in the career management system of record. Depending on the project, the FAC-P/PM IT Core-Plus specialty certification may also be required:
(1) Timeframe. The employee's supervisor must confirm that an employee holds an active FAC-P/PM certification or specialization at the appropriate level when assigning the employee as a program manager, project lead or integrated project team (IPT) lead; if not, PMs must be certified at the appropriate level no later than 12 months from the date of their assignment to a program, project or IPT; a waiver from the SPE is not required to exercise this flexibility.
(2) If an employee has been assigned to serve as a program manager, project lead or IPT, but does not hold an active FAC-P/PM certification at the appropriate level within 12 months from the date of their assignment, a waiver request must be submitted and approved by the SPE (see paragraph (d)).
(3) Any program manager for a major acquisition, including major programs as defined by OMB Circular A-11, must be FAC-P/PM Level III certified.
(c) FAC-P/PM-IT Specialization.
(1) Applicability. The FAC-P/PM-IT Specialization is required for all GSA P/PMs and IPT leads who support the following covered projects and programs:
(i)IT projects or programs included in the GSA IT Dashboard https://itdashboard.gov/drupal/summary/023, meaning they have been designated as major IT investments by the GSA Chief Information Officer;
(ii)IT projects or programs identified by GSA’s IT Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) team as a major investment and shared with the Acquisition Career Manager; or
(iii)IT projects or programs designated by HCA as major or mission critical.
(2) Certification requirements. Any GSA employee pursuing the FAC-P/PM-IT must first hold a mid or senior level FAC-P/PM Certification (Levels II or III).
(3) Timeframe. Any GSA employee required to have a FAC-P/PM-IT Specialization must obtain a the certification within 12 months of project assignment. If an employee has been assigned to serve as a PM for a major program, but does not hold an active FAC-P/PM-IT Specialization within 12 months from the date of their assignment, a waiver request must be submitted and approved by the SPE (see paragraph (d)).
(d) Waivers. The SPE may waive the requirements for FAC-P/PM and FAC-P/PM-IT certification. Waivers will only be considered in compelling and well documented circumstances for a period not to exceed 12 months. This authority is non-delegable. FAC-P/PM-IT waivers are not transferable to other agencies. Waiver requests shall be submitted by the ACM POC for the requesting organization to the OGP Acquisition Workforce Division for review and routing to the SPE.
501.672 Acquisition Certification Programs.
(a) All GSA employees are required to obtain and maintain Federal Acquisition Certifications (FAC) and GSA-Specific Acquisition Certifications as determined by the business needs of their organization with emphasis upon the type of work they will perform. To obtain and maintain such certifications, GSA employees shall comply with the certification and training requirements established by the OMB, OFPP, FAI and GSA. Information about the certification and training requirements is available at http://www.fai.gov and GSA's Acquisition Portal at https://insite.gsa.gov/acquisitionportal.
(b) GSA-Specific Acquisition Certification Programs. The SPE has established agency-specific certification programs as specializations for Acquisition Workforce (AWF) members who perform under acquisition and contracting authorities that are unique to GSA. The AWF member shall obtain such credentials and complete specialty training relevant to the needs of their current job assignment, and will engage in relevant continuous learning to maintain the certification pursuant to the requirements of the program.
(1) GSA Fleet Acquisition Certification Program (Fleet-C). GSA Fleet Acquisition employees working in the Accident Management Center (AMC) and Maintenance Control Center (MCC), when required by business and operational need and regardless of series will be required to obtain and maintain the Fleet-C certification, pursuant to GSA policy and guidance.
(i) The Fleet-C, in good standing, shall be required for warrant eligibility of Fleet personnel.
(ii) All Fleet Acquisition COs with warrants issued prior to October 1, 2015 shall be excepted from the education requirement for this certification program. Training and experience requirements shall not be excepted.
(2) GSA Real Property Leasing Certification Program (LCP). GSA Leasing, Outleasing, and Site Acquisition Contracting Officers regardless of series, are required to obtain and maintain this certification, pursuant to GSA policy and guidance.
(i) This certification shall be required for warrant eligibility for Leasing, Outleasing, and Site Acquisition professionals.
(ii) All Leasing, Outleasing, and Site Acquisition COs with warrants issued prior to October 1, 2015 shall be excepted from the education requirement for this certification program. Training and experience requirements shall not be excepted.
(3) GSA Personal Property Disposal-Fleet Sales Certification Program (PPFS-C). GSA Personal Property Disposal and/or Fleet Sales employees when required by business and operational need and regardless of series, are required to obtain and maintain the PPFS-C certification, pursuant to the policy and guidance.
(i) The PPFS-C shall be required for warrant eligibility by all personal property disposal and fleet sales personnel.
(ii) All Personal Property Disposal-Fleet Sales COs (SCOs) with warrants issued prior to October 1, 2015 shall be excepted from the education requirement for this certification program. Training and experience requirements shall not be excepted.
(4) GSA Real Property Disposal Certification Program (RPD-C). GSA Real Property Disposal Contracting Officers (Disposal COs), regardless of series, are required to obtain and maintain this certification, pursuant to GSA policy and guidance.
(i) The RPD-C shall be required for warrant eligibility for real property disposal personnel.
(ii) All Disposal COs with warrants issued prior to October 1, 2015 shall be excepted from the education requirement for this certification program. Training and experience requirements shall not be excepted.
(c) Surrender. If an AWF member wishes to surrender their FAC or agency-specific certification, their ACM POC must submit the request to AWD stating that the employee has:
(1) Attained approval for the termination from their supervisor,
(2) Confirmed that the certification is no longer needed within the next two fiscal years,
(3) Understood that, in order to obtain a new certification after the surrender, they will be required to complete the certification requirements in effect at that time, and
(4) Agreed that any warrant associated with their FAC-C or agency-specific certification will be terminated.
(d) Waivers. The SPE may waive the requirements for a certification program. Waivers will only be considered in compelling and well documented circumstances. This authority is non-delegable. Waivers are not transferable to other agencies. Waiver requests shall be submitted by the ACM POC for the requesting organization to the OGP Acquisition Workforce Division for review and routing to the SPE.
(e) Reciprocity of Certification Programs. Pursuant to the policies and guidance established by GSA, the applicant shall present evidence of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) or FAC certification for consideration to obtain a FAC or agency-specific certification through reciprocity.
(1) Reciprocity with DOD Certification Programs. GSA may recognize DAWIA certifications (Public Law 101-510) issued by DOD activities.
(2) Reciprocity with FAC Programs.
(i) FAC-C to FAC-COR. Individuals certified as FAC-C are considered to have met FAC-COR requirements per OMB Memo "Revisions to the FAC-COR" dated September 6, 2011 (see https://www.fai.gov/). Individuals certified as FAC-C at Level I or higher are considered to have met the FAC-COR requirements for Level II or higher.
(ii) FAC-P/PM to FAC-COR. Individuals certified as FAC-P/PM are considered to have met FAC-COR requirements per OMB Memo "Revisions to the FAC-COR" dated September 6, 2011 (see https://www.fai.gov/). Individuals certified as FAC-P/PM Level II or higher are considered to have met the FAC-COR requirements for that same level.
Subpart 501.7 - Determinations and Findings
501.707 Signatory authority.
(a) The FAR frequently refers to determinations made by the agency head. Under section 309 of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, the Administrator authorized HCA’s to act as agency head to facilitate procurement of property and services under Title III of the Act. (See GSA Delegation of Authority Manual, ADM P 5450.39C.)
(b) An HCA normally signs a class D&F.
(c) If a statute precludes an agency head redelegating authority, the Administrator must sign the D&F (See, for example, FAR 6.302-7).