Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Paul W. Thurston, PhD


The purpose of this research was to identify current disagreement among acquisition professionals in regards to their role and authority; and to identify benefits and risks associated with combining program management and contracting officer roles into a single position. The research questions were answered through a literature review and use of the Delphi technique. The literature review indicated that the DoD has been operating with multiple conflicting perceptions of authority among its key acquisition professionals. The literature also identified the need for complex organizations, such as DoD acquisition offices, to pair high levels of responsibility with equally high levels of authority. Ten program manager and contracting experts, representing the Air Force and industry, participated in four cycles of the Delphi technique. The research identified critical overlaps in perceptions of the roles and authority between a program manager and a contracting officer. The program manager was noted as having a lack of sufficient authority to guide the program. The contracting officers roles were noted as shifting towards that of a business advisor. The culmination of this research effort was a discussion and presentation of recommendations for the future of the relationship.

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DTIC Accession Number