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Handbook 09-16
July 2009


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This handbook addresses the roles and functions of Soldiers performing as field ordering officers (FOOs) and paying agents. The Army relies on contracts for equipment, supplies, and services. Most contracts are not million- or multi-million-dollar programs that receive multiple levels of review. Most procurements are small “micro-purchases” units use to meet one-time, immediate needs. However, the basic standards of ethics and business practices for large programs also apply to micro-purchases. This handbook provides many basic standards and serves as a ready reference for FOOs and paying agents while they support their units’ requirements.

Key lessons: 

FOOs and paying agents must work closely together, but they are not alone. They are part of an acquisition team that includes the contract and financial management experts who will provide the guidance and direction to each FOO and paying agent to meet the unit’s needs. 

While performing as FOOs or paying agents, Soldiers work for and must respond to guidance from the chief of contracting who appointed them. 

A FOO cannot be a paying agent. Likewise, a paying agent cannot be a FOO. Neither one can act as a property book officer or property accountable officer. 

FOOs and paying agents must be careful when dealing with local nationals. Because FOOs and paying agents have a ready source of cash, local nationals may overestimate the influence of FOO and paying agent teams. 

Issues that get FOOs and paying agents in trouble include security (personal and cash); unauthorized purchases (the kind of purchase, the number of items purchased, or the single item or extended dollar amount); split purchases to get around limits; poor record keeping (which can cost FOOs and paying agents a lot of money); gifts (of any kind); and accepting and not reporting gifts.

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