March 30, 2009
The Department of Energy's Acquisition Workforce and its Impact on Implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Signed by the President on February 17, 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) seeks to strengthen the U.S. economy through the creation of new jobs, aiding State and local governments with budget shortfalls, and investing in the long-term health of the Nation's economic prosperity. Under the Recovery Act, the Department of Energy will receive approximately $40 billion for various energy, environmental, and science programs and initiatives. To have an immediate stimulative impact on the U.S. economy, the Department's stated goal is to ensure that these funds are spent as expeditiously as possible, without risking transparency and accountability. Given the Department's almost total reliance on the acquisition process (contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, etc.) to carry out its mission, enhanced focus on contract administration and, specifically, the work performed by Federal acquisition officials is of vital importance as the unprecedented flow of funds begins under the Recovery Act. As the largest civilian contracting agency in the Federal government, sound contract administration policies as well as a stable, experienced acquisition workforce are essential components for the effective execution and performance of the Department's core missions. In recent years, the concern over the availability of acquisition professionals in sufficient numbers to provide effective contract administration has been recognized as one of the Department's most significant management challenges. The Department's enhanced responsibilities under the Recovery Act underscore the importance of this challenge.