Highly skilled federal contract managers are leading the fight against waste and inefficiency in government spending. These professionals are experts in administering and negotiating contracts, preparing requests for proposals (RFPs), and supervising fulfillment of contract terms and conditions according to federal policies, regulations and legislation.
The advanced training needed to prepare for National Contract Management Association (NCMA) certification and land a sought-after federal contract manager job can be acquired through a contract management certificate program.
A federal contract manager job description will generally have more requirements than a contract manager job in the commercial sector. That’s because federal government and defense agency contracts are highly regulated, being subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and its agency supplements.
Government contracting officers work with suppliers of goods and services through every phase of contract performance. From negotiation to termination, federal contract managers’ typical job duties include reviewing proposals, evaluating compliance with requirements and regulations, maintaining communication to ensure timely execution, and analyzing contract documents. They also provide guidance to and supervise team members on contracts administration, concepts and regulations.
Federal contract manager jobs are also frequently found in the private sector. Defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin depend on the expertise of professional contract managers to ensure compliance with applicable federal regulations, as well as contract terms and conditions. Federal contract managers in the private sector also advise senior management on government contract requirements and procedures. Some serve as external spokespeople for an organization on matters pertaining to policies, plans and objectives.
Other duties in a typical federal contract manager job description include: supervise proposal preparation; execute non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), terms and conditions, and modification requests; and settle disputes regarding contract interpretation, conditions or compliance with legal requirements. In addition, federal contract managers often oversee the contract change process, develop strategies for negotiation in alignment with company objectives and lead negotiations for complex contracts. They must also stay on top of new laws and proposed legislation, and interpret the potential impact on current and future contracts.
Government contractors and the federal government employ significant numbers of contract management professionals, and represent a primary source of new contract manager job opportunities. A recent NCMA survey found that of the 4000+ respondents, 80% worked for either the federal government (24%) or a government contractor (56%).
Senior contract manager jobs in the government sector generally require a strong foundation of specialized skills and knowledge, as well as a commitment to continuous improvement to protect company interests and improve profitability. These professionals draw upon advanced training to make sound business decisions when analyzing, preparing and executing government contracts. Federal contract managers are also typically expected to exercise independent judgment to assess current procedures and develop new policies and processes.
Professional contract managers typically function as the lead contact in all areas of a project, including control, legal, billing, procurement, subcontracts and pricing. They often interface with contract support staff, product and business unit managers, customer and supplier law departments, senior management and outside counsel.