STUDENT 1 (Amy):
In reading our textbook (Defense Contingency Contracting Handbook) this week and the other links provided, I found a lot of good information on the head of contracting activity (HCA) and the senior contracting official (SCO). The HCA has many responsibilities and roles and is appointed by the Department of Energy Senior Procurement Executive. The HCA is the entity responsible for putting in writing who the SCO will be. The HCA also defines what the SCO’s area of responsibilities and authorities are. The SCO has contingency contracting officers (CCOs) under them. The CCOs are appointed by the HCA. However, the HCA can grant the SCO power to give regional contracting centers (RCCs) various authorities. For example, the SCO may allow the RCCs to assign their own CCOs under their RCC chief.
The authorities granted to the HCA can be delegated out if deemed necessary. When considering the management of a contract, the HCA is ultimately held responsible. However, delegation appears to be a tool used to help with the contract management. The HCA can be viewed as an overseer of the contract and can delegate authorities to the SCO and various responsibilities and authorities can trickle down from there. The SCO acts as the support line for the HCA in monitoring a contract and ensuring all of the required rules and regulations are being met. The SCO has a long list of responsibilities including but not limited to overseeing contract programs and contract closeouts, conducting reviews, coordinating audits, acting as the chairman of the Joint Contracting Support Board (JCSB), performs as a member of the Joint Requirements Review Board (JRRB), and record keeping.
Acquisitions Guide: Head of Contracting Acitivty (HCA) Authority, Functions, and Responsibilities: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/06/f32/PF2007-17a.pdf
Defense Contingency Contracting Handbook (DCCH)- Chapter 2: https://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/ccap/cc/jcchb/DCC_Handbook_v.5_April2017.pdf
STUDENT 2 (Dave): Head of Contracting Activity (HCA) are officials who have been designated by the President or by the Secretary, as the Heads of Operating Units. Such officials are designated as the HCA for procurements initiated in support of the procurement activities of that operating unit. The Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration has been designated as the HCA for procurements initiated in support of the programs and activities of the Office of the Secretary and all other Secretarial Offices and Departmental Offices.
Authority that has been delegated to an HCA will come in one of two forms, non-delegable or delegable. Non-delegable, as the name implies, is authority that cannot be re-delegated by the HCA to someone else. Typically, these are reserved for instances deemed to be of such importance or sensitivity that personal attention, expertise, or involvement by the HCA is mandatory. Conversely, a delegable authority is one that maybe re-delegated to another individual. When authority is re-delegated in this manner, it is not meant to imply that the authority is relinquished by the HCA.
The Senior Contracting Official, or Officer, is the staff official that has been designated by a service head of contracting activity to execute theater support contracting authority for a specific command and/or operational area. With their appointment, the SCO is delegated certain authorities to include the appointment of contracting officers under their control. Furthermore, SCOs also may delegate certain authorities to regional contracting centers (RCCs), including appointment of Contracting Officers under the control of the RCC Chief.
STUDENT 3 (Derek): The DOD and its Service Branches are each considered executive agencies. Congress, in the execution of its resource allocation process, first commits funds to each of these executive agencies in the form of a budget authorization. The budget authorization is not only a determination of how much potential funding the executive agency could be appropriated but also for which express purpose and period of time the executive agency is authorized to spend those funds on. This is where an executive agency receives its budgetary authority. But while executive agencies receive budgetary authority to spend funds, they do not have the authority to obligate those funds or obligate the government contractually in accordance with the Antideficiency Act.
The Code of Federal regulation grants this authority to contracting officers the CFR instructs the head of executive agencies to appoint a Head of Contracting Activity (HCA), who, in turn, is responsible for managing the contracting activities of that executive agency. The HCA oversees contracting to ensure it complies with applicable statutes, regulations, and sound business practices. The HCA then appoints Senior Contracting Officials who oversee contracting activities for specific command components or contracting activities within an operational area.
The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology represent the HCA for the Army, represented by the Army Materiel Command (AMC). Below the AMC are various Senior Contracting Officers such as the Military Installation Contracting Command (MICC), which operates Installation contracting command offices in each Army base, providing contract support for base operations. The Army provides regional contract support to the Army and GCCs through its Army Contracting Commands (ACC) and Contracting Support Brigades (CSB).