How are CORs selected and designated?

FAR 1.602-2(d) states:

COs shall designate and authorize, in writing, a contracting officer's representative (COR) on all contracts and orders other than those that are firm-fixed price, and for firm-fixed price contracts and orders as appropriate. However, the CO is not precluded from retaining and executing the COR duties as appropriate. See FAR 7.104(e).


1. Must be a government employee, unless otherwise authorized in agency regulations

2. Shall be certified and maintain certification in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memorandum entitled "The Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer Technical Representatives" (FAC-COTR), dated November 26, 2007, or for DoD, DoD Regulations, as applicable.

3. Must be qualified by training and experience commensurate with the responsibilities to be delegated in accordance with department/agency guidelines

4. May not be delegated responsibility to perform functions that have been delegated under FAR 42.202 to a contract administration office, but may be assigned some duties at 42.302 by the CO.

5. Has no authority to make any commitments or changes that affect price, quality, quantity, delivery, or other terms and conditions of the contract, and

6. Must be delegated in writing, with copies furnished to the contractor and the contract administration office:

Specifying the extent of the COR's authority to act on behalf of the CO

Identifying the limitations of the COR's authority

Specifying the period covered by the designation

Stating the authority is not redelegable, and

Stating that the COR may be personally liable for unauthorized acts.

OMB memorandum "Revisions to the Federal Acquisition Certification for Contracting Officer's Representatives (FAC-COR)," dated September 6, 2011, revises and replaces the November 2007 memorandum. This new memorandum establishes a risk-based, three-tiered certification program for civilian agencies that better reflects the important role of the COR. The new requirements, which were effective January 1, 2012, apply to all executive agencies except for the Department of Defense.

Where the previous FAC-COTR had just one level of certification for all CORs, the new FAC-COR has three levels of certification with varying requirements for training, experience, and continuous learning, depending on the types of contracts being managed. The COR level required for a particular acquisition is determined by the CO during acquisition planning and in consultation with the program manager. Details pertaining to FAC-COR are available at

For more information on how your agency will implement the new certification requirements, contact your Acquisition Career Manager (ACM). A listing of ACMs is available at acquisition-career-managers-acms.

What selection criteria does an agency use to select the COR?

In addition to the regulatory requirements outlined in Question #8, the COR is usually selected on the basis of a recommendation by the program office, i.e., the requiring activity that initiates the contract requirement.[1] It is preferable that the COR be the technical expert on the requirements of the contract on which he or she will be working. Some agencies use a nomination process, including a nomination letter, to nominate an individual for the CO's consideration.

  • [1] The term "requiring activity" generally refers to the technical activity or program (project) office that originally initiated the contract requirements to satisfy a need. Most of the time, the requiring activity is the end user of the contract deliverables. In other instances a technical activity will generate a contractual requirements package on behalf of other end users (e.g., a DoD program office acquiring weapons in support of troops).
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