Contracting Officer

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A Contracting Officer (CO or KO) is a person who can bind the United States government to a contract that is greater than the Micro-Purchase threshold.[1] This is limited to the scope of authority delegated to the Contracting Officer by the head of the agency.

In the US Department of Defense the acronym KO is used for Contracting Officer, instead of CO which stands for Commanding Officer. K is also the abbreviation for the word contract in legal terms, so a KO is a Contracts Officer. A KO enters into, administers, or terminates contracts and makes related determinations and findings, and is appointed by a (SF) 1402, Certificate of Appointment. A CO is a federal employee who is appointed in writing on an Standard Form (SF) 1402, Certificate of Appointment. Subsection 414(4) of Title 41, United States Code, requires agency heads to establish and maintain a procurement career management program and a system for the selection, appointment, and termination of appointment of contracting officers. Agency heads or their designees may select and appoint contracting officers and terminate their appointments. These selections and appointments shall be consistent with the Office of Management and Budget/Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s (OMB/OFPP) standards for skill-based training in performing acquisition, contracting and procurement duties as published in OFPP Policy Letter No. 05-01, Developing and Managing the Acquisition Workforce, April 15, 2005.

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