Senior Acquisition and Assistance Specialist (US and Third Country Nationals)

  • Senior-level, Long-term consulting assignment
  • Posted on 8 July 2020
  • Cotonou, Benin
  • Closing on 9 July 2020
  • Current
  • Annual gross 92977 - 120868 US Dollar

Job Description


The Senior A&A Specialist is responsible for providing the full range of A&A services in support of USAID/Benin’s foreign assistance objectives. S/he will be required to apply highly specialized A&A knowledge, skills, and abilities involving a variety of actions that range from simplified acquisition to complex multi-million dollar, multi-year awards. This includes providing support to a range of technical portfolios on all aspects of contract/award management relating to and affecting USAID assistance programs, policy and project planning, design, implementation, learning and evaluation.

Given the quantity, complexity, and high dollar value of current instruments and future designs, USAID/Benin is seeking one Senior Acquisition and Assistance (A&A) Specialist who is highly experienced, self-motivated, and who is capable of independently performing quality and professional work in an expedited manner under stressful conditions. The Senior A&A Specialist will serve in USAID/Benin as a team lead and key advisor to the Supervisory Contracting Officer (SCO) for all A&A matters. The Senior A&A Specialist will mentor Missions’ FSN A&A Staff, and will provide expert advice on how to leverage the tools of procurement to more effectively advance USAID’s goals, and should assist mission staff in improving their Contracting/Agreement Officer Representative (C/AOR) skills.

The incumbent is expected to work primarily in accomplishing the specific tasks as outlined below. Given the nature of the position, the Senior A&A Specialist will also be expected to respond to any changes in priorities that emerge during the contract period to provide efficient, timely, and effective services to the Mission.

USAID/Benin has a $24 million program budget. The incumbent will oversee the contractual actions for multiple USAID portfolios that are estimated at over $40 Million. S/he will represent Regional Acquisition and Assistance Office (RAAO) and the SCO in providing design feedback for new activities and will be responsible for reviewing A&A package documents to ensure completion in preparation for final review and approval by the Contracting/Agreement Officer.

The Senior A&A Specialist will manage the entire USAID/Benin portfolio. S/he will be responsible for mentoring up to four (4) Cooperating Country National (CCN) staff members and is expected to further develop these employees’ skills. The Senior A&A Specialist will be a member of the Senior Management Team for USAID/Benin.

The Senior A&A Specialist will be located in USAID/Benin and will work within USAID/WA RAAO located in Accra, Ghana.


The Senior A&A Specialist is responsible for the wide range of A&A support services to the Missions, will function as a Team Lead reporting to the SCO and will manage office workload as well as one or more technical portfolios and Operating Units. A comprehensive and up to date knowledge of A&A processes and procedures is essential as little of the work involves repetitive actions and is assigned based on project support needs. The Senior A&A Specialist must provide informed technical assistance necessary to execute a full range of procurement actions, including but not limited to the following:

  • ● Cost-reimbursement and fixed price contracts, task orders, delivery orders, purchase orders, blanket purchase agreements, grants, cooperative agreements, grants to public international organizations, interagency agreements, fixed amount awards, and other agreements and award types;
  • ● Various modifications to all of the above;
  • ● Other miscellaneous administrative requirements associated with A&A awards;
  • ● The provision of training, mentoring, and coaching to Mission staff, especially RAAO staff and designated Agreement Officer’s Representatives (AORs) and Contracting Officer’s Representatives (CORs), and local partners; and

The Senior A&A Specialist must be able to discuss and assess situations with a degree of expertise sufficient to provide the basis for well-founded recommendations to senior Mission management and the SCO. A clear understanding of the differences between acquisition and assistance in achieving USAID’s operation and strategic development is essential. Both the underlying purposes, as defined in law, and the different relationships, as reflected in the different terms and conditions, must be understood at a level that permits the specialist to effectively and accurately represent U.S. Government policy to outside organizations and to a full range of programmatic and administrative officials within USAID/WA up to the level of Mission Director.

S/he must perform a full range of pre-award and post-award duties described below with independence. Actions will be highly complex and represent critical Agency objectives with short lead times. S/he must be available to Mission staff for consultation on all aspects of procurement from the procurement planning stage through to the administration stage. The Senior A&A Specialist must also provide expert advice on program objectives, budgetary issues, and procurement policy.

S/he must be a recognized technical expert able to independently interact with high-level officials to obtain advance approvals for critical actions. This requires extensive knowledge of the USAID and Federal Acquisition Regulations (AIDAR and FAR), USAID assistance regulations (2CFR 200 and 700, 2 CFR 228), OMB Circulars, the USAID Automated Directive System, the Department of State Standard Regulations (DSSR), USAID A&A Policy Directives (AAPDs), and Contract Information Bulletins (CIBs). S/he must also keep updated with new regulations issued through the Agency’s General Notices. The Senior A&A Specialist must also mentor RAAO and its staff in their performance of the same.

The Senior A&A Specialist will be responsible for on-the-job training of the Mission RAAO, AOR, and COR staff in all relevant aspects of A&A policy and procedures. S/he is expected to mentor the RAAO staff work actively to keep the team engaged and updated on the latest procurement guidance, and continuously improve the services they offer. The incumbent should possess strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work across teams and portfolios and with diverse clients. S/he must be fully versed in internet applications, vital of which is Google’s G Suite, and other mandated US Government and Agency applications and software related to A&A work, such as the full Microsoft Office Suite, the Global Acquisition & Assistance System (GLAAS), and the Agency Secure Image and Storage Tracking (ASIST) system.

Specifically, the incumbent will:


The incumbent will:

Manage assigned procurement planning functions for the Missions, which may include reviewing strategic objective agreements and/or results frameworks, participating in program planning meetings, identifying components of the plans that should be accomplished through the participation of outside provider organizations, the management of OAA’s internal procurement planning, and the Agency Business Forecast/A&A Plan.

Lead Mission technical and support offices in developing annual procurement plans for the Mission A&A activities. Ensure that these plans are always current. Collaborate with technical office members in the preparation of advance procurement planning documents for proposed actions. Input shall reflect the steps required by regulation or policy in the selected mechanism’s process, realistic estimates of the time required to accomplish each step utilizing Agency Procurement Action Lead Times (PALTs) as a guide, and a commitment to maintain the agreed-upon timelines.

Working in tandem with technical teams, ensure that all A&A planning documents are completed, such as the Individual Acquisition Plan, the Source Selection Plan, and the Assistance Selection Plan.

Ensure that technical offices use M/OAA’s mandatory A&A templates. Advise Mission management and technical office personnel concerning the selection of appropriate A&A instruments to use in order to accomplish the Mission’s programmatic objectives. Working with technical counterparts and RAAO, make choice of instrument recommendations to the Mission and to the CO/AO. Contract methods and types used procure large, highly complex, and significant equipment systems, programs, services, or construction where little or no contractual precedent exists. Serves as lead negotiator responsible for a significant program or for major procurements, which may include several types of instruments.

Identify A&A issues/potential problems that require guidance or concurrence from the Resident Legal Officer (RLO) and obtain such guidance and/or concurrence. Provide expert guidance to technical office members in the preparation of required descriptions of the proposed project including, as appropriate, statements of work, specifications, program descriptions, program announcements, evaluation criteria, etc.

This guidance may take the form of directing them to the appropriate Automated Directive System (ADS) and/or to any other agency guidance, reviewing drafts, providing periodic training on the preparation of such documents or on Federal and USAID regulations, policies, and requirements.

Emphasis should be placed on defining contractible, performance-based, results-oriented statements of work or program descriptions.

Carefully review incoming requisition documents to ensure they adequately reflect and protect U.S.

Government interests in the accomplishment of the programmatic objective and comply with pertinent statutory, regulatory, and policy requirements and to ensure compliance with Agency and Mission requirements and appropriateness for the proposed action. Ensure proper recording of requisitions in Agency management information systems, such as ASIST and GLAAS. Analyze requisitions and other documents and obtain necessary clarifications from the requesting technical office. Make recommendations for corrections to requesting documents when they are inadequate, inappropriate, or significant documentation is missing.

Depending on the action type, draft and/or review required pre-solicitation and solicitation documents, including determinations and findings (D&F), synopses, Justification and Approval (J&A) requests, Justification to Restrict Eligibility (JRE) requests, Request for Proposals (RFPs), and Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) which reflect Federal and USAID regulations, policies, and procedures governing A&A instruments, as applicable. Determine adequacy and choice of evaluation criteria, type of mechanism, the extent and mechanisms of advertising solicitation documents, the appropriateness of the time permitted for proposal or application preparation, the need for a pre-solicitation or pre-proposal conference, and any special terms and conditions that may be required, particularly if their use would require a deviation from governing regulations. Issue amendments, when necessary, to clarify questions or correct errors. Control the flow of information from the Missions to the offering community during the proposal/application preparation stage, ensuring that all competition requirements are met and that the integrity of the procurement process is upheld.

Prepare the Technical Evaluation Committee Instructions/Selection Committee Instructions and provide guidance to the evaluation/selection committees regarding rules and procedures in conducting source selection. Analyze proposals/applications, ensuring compliance with all published evaluation criteria and factors and Federal and USAID regulations, policies, and procedures.

Coordinate and provide expert guidance in the technical and cost evaluations.

Obtain pricing assistance as necessary and available and perform such cost evaluations as are necessary, reasonable, and appropriate to the circumstances. Document the results of these reviews in writing for use in source selection. Determine the need for further discussions. Prepare requests for confirmation of the results of the negotiation, including requests for proposal revisions, and revised financial or program plans, as applicable. Make competitive range determination recommendations to the cognizant CO/AO for competitively negotiated acquisitions. Take all reasonable steps necessary to determine the financial responsibility of any party to whom an award is expected to be made. This may include performing or requesting pre-award financial and program management reviews, as circumstances dictate or permit.

Plan the negotiation strategy, coordinates the strategy with the negotiation team, and leads the negotiations which are conducted with contractors/grantees to develop the contract/grant prices and terms.

Prepare the award documents, modifications, and administrative procurement documents for CO’s review, that reflect the results of all discussions, any special needs of the project, and all required terms and conditions and applicable provisions and clauses.

Distribute award documents to relevant offices and provide all required notifications to unsuccessful offerors and applicants.

Provide notifications to U.S. Government award publication points (such as the Congressional Liaison Office and the Federal Business Opportunities). Provide debriefings when requested.


Responsible for award administration sufficient to ensure award terms and conditions are met and that the contractor delivers the required goods or services in a timely manner to achieve the objectives of the Agency’s projects and programs. Responsibilities include but are not limited to: periodic site visits, approval of changes to incremental funding, preparation of rate and cost adjustments, redirection of effort, coordination of time extension, incorporation of change orders, preparation of stop work orders, preparation of cure notices or show cause letters, salary and equipment approvals, and contract closeout.

Conducts post-award orientations to clarify issues on award requirements (eg. billing procedures, delivery schedules, terms and conditions of the award, reporting requirements, etc.), and works closely with the Regional Financial Management Officer and Resident Legal Officer to resolve issues associated with claimed costs, audit findings, fraud, disallowance of costs, organizational conflicts of interest, contractor/recipient personnel issues, headquarters/field office questions, and recommend corrective action to be taken to remedy situations when warranted.

Advises technical office counterparts and contractors/implementing partners on their administration responsibilities contained in the contract or agreement and as conveyed by the AOR/COR Designation Letter.

Evaluates the adequacy of the contractor’s/implementing partner’s business management systems for areas such as personnel compensation, insurance, subcontracting procedures, and financial management.

Ensures that contractors submit required subcontracting plans, inventory reports, and quarterly financial reports. Responses to contractor performance reports, follow-on extension needs, funding needs, and ensures new requirements/clauses are incorporated in current awards as required and necessary. Disseminates performance reporting procedures to AOR/CORs and follows up to ensure that reports are completed with input of contractors, cognizant Contracting Officer and AORs/CORs. Takes appropriate action and prepares documentation on any issues that may arise in the course of performance, including changes, disputes, work stoppages, problems with Government Furnished Property or materials, changes in scope or direction, replacement of key personnel, failure to make acceptable progress, default, payment problems, or unacceptable performance/deliveries.

Conducts in-depth compliance review and evaluation of complex, unusual, or unprecedented award actions requiring higher-level approval. Manages Contract Review Board actions for large procurements.

Negotiates terminations of awards for the convenience of the Government or for default by the contractor. The incumbent is responsible for the preparation of all documentation necessary to support and defend termination decisions.

Resolves audit findings on post-award audits. Responds to protests by researching and developing necessary analysis, documentation, and history. Works with the Regional Legal Officer (RLO) in preparing the Agency’s position and Contracting Officer reports to support the Government’s defense on protests to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Works with the Regional Financial Management Office (RFMO) to prepare responses to audit findings. Conducts desk audits of A&A instruments pursuant to Agency policy and procedures. Via the AOR/COR, ensures payment vouchers are processed in a timely manner and that outstanding invoice issues are resolved.

Reviews procurement files to ensure that documents (such as, memorandum of negotiation, class justifications, and other relevant documentation) are included in procurement files and that the files are maintained in accordance with Agency policies and standards.

Closes out completed contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements in a timely manner following Agency procedures and prepares all relevant close-out documentation. Reviews official contract files to ensure no pending administrative action; contract is complete and ready to close, and to obtain approval of all closeout documentation. Reviews completed official award files to determine that all contractual actions are satisfied, that no pending administrative actions remain, that all file documents are signed, that there are no litigation actions are pending, and that the award file is ready to be administratively closed according to Agency policies and procedures.


The Senior A&A Specialist will receive supervision from the Supervisory Contracting Officer on procurement related matters and the USAID/Benin Country Representative for all personnel matters.


a. Education

A bachelor’s degree or equivalent of a four-year US university degree (equivalency accreditation if a non-US institution) in law, accounting, business/business administration, economics, finance, contract management, procurement, industrial management, marketing, or other related field is required.

b. Prior Work Experience

A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in the field of acquisition and assistance execution, administration, cost and price analysis, procurement planning, and analysis and evaluation of proposals is required, of which five or more years must be overseas experience working on complex pre-award, award, and post-award responsibilities in an international organization or USG agency. In addition, demonstrated experience in coaching and training acquisition and assistance staff is required.

c. Language Proficiency

Fluency in both written and spoken English.

USAID/Benin – Cotonou, Benin

ELIGIBLE OFFERORS: Open to U.S. Citizens (including Permanent legal residents) or Third Country Nationals.

How to Apply

All offers must be submitted to the Point of Contact via email:

Any questions must be directed in writing to Patience Charway at with a copy to Guadalupe Ramirez at


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