In FY 2010, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) spent $6.4 billion on contracting. Like other agencies, USAID is working to improve how they contract to ensure that they spend money wisely and eliminate waste and abuse in taxpayer dollars. An important part of this effort is developing the acquisition workforce – both in terms of ensuring the right number of acquisition personnel and ensuring appropriate ongoing training for employees.
The inflation-adjusted dollar value of contracting increased much faster than the number of contract specialists between FY 2000 and FY 2008. The effect of this trend is that acquisition personnel often cannot spend sufficient time on important pre-award activities (such as acquisition planning and requirements development) or important post-award activities (such as contract management), which increases the chances of cost overruns, schedule delays and other poor acquisition outcomes. The table below shows for each agency the current and target numbers of contract specialists (1102 series), a position which is critical in the acquisition process. More information is available in the Frequently Asked Questions.
In addition to increasing the number of civilian agency acquisition personnel, the Administration wants to ensure that all acquisition professionals are sufficiently trained and appropriately certified. Each agency has taken an inventory of its contract specialists (1102 series) to find out what percentage are certified, and also has set a target for certifying more employees. The graph shows the percentage of contract specialists (1102 series) that were certified in FY09 as well as the targets for future years.We focus on contract specialists because they play a key role in the acquisition process and ensuring that the government gets the best value for taxpayer dollars. Visit the Frequently Asked Questions section for more information on this metric.