Acquisition gets a double dose of expertise

FAI, DAU teaming together to provide contracting officers and others training and tools.

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

The Federal Acquisition Institute and the Defense Acquisition University are figuring out how to build off each other even more.

Kathleen Turco, the General Services Administration’s associate administrator of the Office of Governmentwide Policy, recently met with the DAU president Katrina McFarland to focus on workforce improvements.

“We focused on two areas: What is our working relationship? And where can FAI be value-add to DAU and vice versa?” Turco said after a recent event in Washington.

FAI and DAU have been sharing training courses and other tools over the years. Turco said she wants to bring that relationship even closer through a memorandum of agreement.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy also believes the relationship between FAI and DAU is a key component to improving the federal acquisition workforce. As part of OFPP’s Mythbusters campaign, the two organizations will conduct awareness and training courses at agencies about the campaign, and provide sessions at widely-attended procurement conferences to increase awareness of the need for more industry engagement.

The Obama administration is trying build up FAI, asking for $24.9 million in the 2011 budget request and another $16.9 million in the 2012 request to improve acquisition workforce training across the government. The goal is to make FAI for the civilian agencies what DAU is for the Defense Department in terms of providing training and best practices for the acquisition workforce.

Along with overseeing FAI, Turco also is working with the Office of Management and Budget on getting rid of excess federal real property.

Turco said OGP is on the Real Property Advisory Board, which OMB Director Jack Lew and controller Danny Werfel established in May. Membership on the board includes agency chief financial officers and real property executives.

“We are working to identify the issues and problems we have in disposing of excess property or the analysis around the underutilized properties,” she said. “We hope that our work will be in the advisory capacity to the proposed BRAC-like organization that is in the 2012 budget.”

The board is an internal working group that is laying some of the ground work while Congress approves the legislation to create an updated civilian property disposal process. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Public Buildings approved the bill May 25.

This effort also aligns with OGP’s work to make federal buildings more sustainable. Turco said OGP’s role is to review research and make it practical to everyday operations or construction.

“The challenge we have, how do we make the business case for government?” she said. “How do we substantiate the investment it will take? And what, we think, will be the business results in terms of reduced operating costs, having better, greener space? We think there is a business case to be made. GSA wants to be in the forefront in making it.”

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