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C. Ford Heard: VA Working to Identify Positions for ‘Acquisition Corps’

Veterans Affairs Department logoThe Department of Veterans Affairs is planning to establish a professional acquisition workforce of contracting officers and program managers to serve veteran needs across all IT and healthcare service requirements, Federal News Radio reported Tuesday.

“We are in the process now [of] identifying positions that will be part of the Acquisition Corps,” C. Ford Heard, VA’s deputy senior procurement executive, told Federal News Radio.

“Also, based on qualifications (training, education, and experience), we are identifying those individuals now who qualify for induction into the Corps.”

Jason Miller reports the VA has an annual budget of $17.5 billion for procurement and is among other federal agencies focusing resources on training, education and retention programs for acquisition workers.

A Federal News Radio survey of federal senior-level acquisition officers indicated having a skilled acquisition workforce as key to their agendas for 2014, Miller writes.

Majority of respondents said they are pushing for additional training for their acquisition workers, as some stated they are having difficulty hiring qualified program managers and contracting officers to meet their increasing workload.

According to Heard, VA will launch the Acquisition Corps qualification program sometime this year as well as boost procurement oversight through vendor suspensions and debarment and strategic sourcing.

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