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Program execution in Fiscal Year 2005

by Lt. Col. Rich Fuentes
6th Contracting Squadron commander

Support to the joint-warfighter is the premier focus for the 6th Contracting Squadron-we deliver acquisition capability by competitively negotiating contracts covering a myriad of services, construction and commodities. With over $360 million obligated in Fiscal Year 2004, we're gearing up for an anticipated robust program execution for FY 2005.

One important process I want our customers to keep in mind is that we follow a methodical acquisition process promulgated in the Federal Acquisition Regulation by the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984. This set of rules provides the framework for a disciplined approach to buy those capabilities for the Wing and tenant units.

I want to share with you what sometimes happens when unauthorized personnel take it upon themselves to commit the government before a bona fide funded requirement is processed through the contracting activity.

An organization at base X recently submitted an Air Force Form 9, Request for Purchase, to the local contracting office totaling more than $3,000. The description on the form stated "repair equipment" and listed the part number and a suggested source.

When the contract specialist contacted the suggested source to solicit a quote, the company representative said the item was recently in the shop. It turned out, the equipment had already been repaired, and this was the customer's way of submitting a request to pay the contractor. Someone in the organization had made an unauthorized commitment.

An unauthorized commitment is an agreement that is not binding solely because the government representative who made it lacked the authority to enter into that agreement on behalf of the government. Only a warranted contracting officer can enter into, administer or terminate contracts.

Ratification is when an authorized official approves an unauthorized commitment, after the fact. In the 6th Air Mobility Wing, only the 6th Contracting Squadron commander has authority to ratify unauthorized commitments of appropriated funds under $10,000. The host wing commander/vice wing commander has authority to ratify unauthorized commitments greater than $10,000, but less than $25,000; while the Air Mobility Command director of logistics must ratify unauthorized commitments equal to or greater than $25,000.

The process to ratify an unauthorized commitment requires the unit affected commander to prepare a report on the circumstances surrounding the commitment to include any corrective actions taken to prevent further occurrences. Ratifications are serious and the unauthorized individual can face disciplinary action and may be required to pay for the item or service received if the justification is not approved.

We all know that our focus is "Mission first, People always, and America forever" and we in 6th CONS want your requirement bought on time with delivery synchronized to meet your mission goals.



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