Washington, D.C. – The Federal Acquisition Improvement Act introduced by Senator Susan Collins, and co-sponsored by Senators Joseph Lieberman, Daniel Akaka, Claire McCaskill, Robert Bennett, and George Voinovich was approved by the Senate last night.  The bill would ensure consistent training standards across the civilian acquisition workforce, make better use of our acquisition training dollars, and strengthen the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI) as the premier civilian acquisition training center. 

The bill also would provide that the FAI Director be appointed by, and report directly to, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Administrator.  This would erase any reporting ambiguity and provide accountability. Second, at the request of the OFPP Administrator, the bill expands the use of the Acquisition Workforce Training Fund (AWTF) to include any purpose currently delineated in the OFPP statute.  In the past, the existing language has been interpreted very narrowly to prevent the use of funds for functions such as recruiting highly qualified candidates to the acquisition field. 

“Improving the Federal Acquisition Institute is a good first step to address our ongoing procurement challenges” said Senator Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.   “This is a wise investment that will yield substantial returns.  With $538 billion spent by the Federal government each year on procurement, better-trained acquisition professionals could help save the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.  If better training can help avoid overpaying even one percent of total contract spending, the taxpayer would save more than $5 billion each year.  The numbers speak for themselves.”

“The federal government faces critical shortfalls in its acquisition workforce, which leads to waste, fraud, and abuse in the expenditure of taxpayer dollars.  This bill will help strengthen the Federal Acquisition Institute as a premier place to train contracting officers and other procurement specialists who will be able to help ensure taxpayers are getting the most bang for their buck when the government spends their hard earned dollars,” said Senator Lieberman, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

“The Federal Acquisition Institute is an important piece of our acquisition workforce development strategy,” said Senator Akaka, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Federal Workforce.  “Elevating the Institute’s prominence and ensuring it has adequate resources will ultimately lead to more effective oversight of government contracting.”

The bill must now be approved by the House of Representatives.