A Contracting Officer (CO, also KO) is a person who can bind the Federal Government of the United States to a contract which is greater in value than the federal micro-purchase threshold ($10,000). This is limited to the scope of authority delegated to the Contracting Officer by the head of the agency. The abbreviation "KO" is frequently used  because the abbreviation "CO" is used in a military context for "commanding officer".
A Contracting Officer enters into, administers, or terminates contracts and makes related determinations and findings, and is appointed by a (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.
The responsibilities of a Contracting Officer are detailed in FAR (48 CFR) Part 1.602-2: "Contracting officers are responsible for ensuring performance of all necessary actions for effective contracting, ensuring compliance with the terms of the contract, and safeguarding the interests of the United States in its contractual relationships."
- Kennedy, J. L. and Cornelius, R. A., Contracting officer's representatives: What to expect, Army Sustainment, published 31 January 2019, accessed 20 February 2020
- Abbreviations.com, Abbreviations: Contracting Officer, accessed 20 February 2020