Office of Federal Procurement Policy
The federal government spends approximately $530 billion annually for a wide range of goods and services to meet mission needs. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) in the Office of Management and Budget plays a central role in shaping the policies and practices federal agencies use to acquire the goods and services they need to carry out their responsibilities. OFPP was established by Congress in 1974 to provide overall direction for government-wide procurement policies, regulations and procedures and to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in acquisition processes. OFPP is headed by an Administrator who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
Through a variety of statutory authorities and results-oriented policy initiatives, OFPP seeks to ensure the federal acquisition system provides the best value to the taxpayer. Current priorities are designed to provide for a better skilled and more agile workforce, consistent and effective use of competition, contract vehicles that reflect the government’s buying power, and a data system that gives federal managers the information they need to evaluate results and plan effectively for the future.
OFPP’s statutory authorities and responsibilities are set forth in the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act, 41 U.S.C. 401, et seq. OFPP’s primary responsibilities include the following:
Overseeing the development of acquisition regulations. OFPP provides overall direction to shape the government’s procurement regulations. The Office’s primary focus is on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), the government-wide regulation governing agency acquisitions of goods and services. OFPP staff review all proposed changes to the FAR and agency FAR supplements for consistency with law, Administration policy, and good management principles. OFPP staff coordinates with OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which has responsibility for reviewing all government regulations, in accordance with Executive Order 12866. OFPP also coordinates with OMB Resource Management Offices (RMOs) when they have a particular interest in the subject matter. OFPP reviews approximately 200 rules per year, as well as a number of paperwork clearances under the Paperwork Reduction Act, and plays a key role in resolving differences among the agencies in the formulation of regulations.
The OFPP Administrator serves as chair of the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council). The FAR Council -- whose members include the DOD Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Procurement, and the GSA Chief Acquisition Officer -- oversees development and maintenance of the FAR. OFPP chairs quarterly meetings to discuss and resolve significant or controversial FAR changes.
The OFPP Administrator is authorized to issue policy letters stating principles that must be followed by the agencies and incorporated into the FAR, as necessary. Over 40 such policy letters have been issued since OFPP was created. (One recent policy letter addresses the development needs of the acquisition workforce.) In addition, the Administrator may, with the concurrence of OMB, rescind agency acquisition rules that are inconsistent with Administration policy.
Formulating and coordinating acquisition legislation. OFPP oversees the formulation of the executive branch position on all legislation relating to procurement. In close consultation with the major procuring agencies, OFPP develops legislative proposals for the Administration and formulates positions on congressional bills addressing acquisition issues. OFPP staff works with OMB’s Legislative Reference Division, Office of Legislative Affairs, and congressional committees to explain and refine legislation as it proceeds through hearings, markups and conference to final passage. The Administrator testifies frequently before Congress on pending legislative proposals and in support of the Administration procurement agenda. OFPP has played a significant role in all major acquisition laws enacted since the Office was created, including the Competition in Contracting Act, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act, the Clinger-Cohen Act, and the Services Acquisition Reform Act.
Leading the activities of the Chief Acquisition Officers Council (CAOC). The CAOC is the principal interagency forum for monitoring and improving the Federal acquisition system. The Council promotes the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) and the President’s specific acquisition-related initiatives and policies. The OFPP Administrator leads the Council’s activities on behalf of OMB’s Deputy Director for Management, who officially serves as the Chair. OFPP staff provide support to each of the Council’s working groups, which currently are focusing on competitive sourcing, contracting with small businesses, human capital, electronic government, performance management, and contingency contracting.
Managing the government-wide procurement data system. OFPP is responsible for collecting, developing, and disseminating procurement data. This responsibility is accomplished through several government-wide data collection tools, the most significant being the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS). OFPP provides overall direction for the FPDS, which is housed and operated on OMB’s behalf by GSA. OFPP is working closely with GSA to transform FPDS from a static database into a management information system that collects and disseminates business information in real time to federal managers that need this information to evaluate the effectiveness of their acquisition programs and shape future acquisitions. In addition to FPDS, OFPP works with GSA and other agencies to collect information on contractor performance, and ensure the dissemination of information on contracting opportunities through a single point-of-entry, known as FedBizOpps.
Directing the activities of the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI). OFPP directs the Federal Acquisition Institute to improve the caliber and professionalism of the acquisition workforce. For example, FAI provides core acquisition training and workforce support to the civilian acquisition community and actively partners with the Defense Acquisition University to leverage workforce development opportunities. In 2004, OFPP chartered a Board of Directors, which reports to the OFPP Administrator, and ensures that FAI’s focus is synchronized with government-wide policy priorities.
Promoting maximum participation of small businesses in government contracting. OFPP is responsible for developing policies, in consultation with SBA, that promote maximum participation of small businesses in government contracts. In 2002, OFPP developed a strategy for unbundling contracts and improving the access of small businesses to federal contracting opportunities. In 2004, OFPP drafted Executive Order 13360 to increase contracting opportunities for service-disabled veterans. OFPP works closely with SBA on an ongoing basis to promote achievement of statutory percentage contracting goals for small businesses, including small businesses owned by women, service-disabled veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
Chairing and supporting the Cost Accounting Standards Board. The OFPP Administrator serves as Chair of the Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB), an independent board which has exclusive authority to establish standards for use by contractors and subcontractors to achieve uniformity and consistency in the measurement, assignment and allocation of costs to government contracts. The CASB’s cost accounting standards are promulgated as regulations. OFPP provides staff support to the CASB.