Field Ordering Officer and Paying Agent Handbook
Field Ordering Officer
The supporting contracting officer appoints a field ordering officer (FOO) in accordance with Army Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (AFARS) 5153.9002. This appointment delegates the contracting officer’s authority to obligate the government for micro-purchases (check with your supporting contracting officer for current purchase thresholds) for supplies and limited services. This appointment also eases the administrative burden on a unit and its supporting contracting office (and vendors) by eliminating lengthy contracting procedures for small purchases. See Appendix G for an example of a FOO appointment letter/order.
Paying Agent (formerly known as Class A Agent)
Paying agents make specific payments. The disbursing officer within a supporting financial management (FM) unit appoints Soldiers to the position of paying agent. Each paying agent is under the exclusive supervision of the disbursing officer in all matters concerning custody and disposition of funds advanced to the paying agent. The paying agent will comply with all instructions and regulations the disbursing officer issues pertaining to paying agent duties. Each paying agent holds the funds advanced to him at personal risk. The paying agent must account for those advanced funds to the disbursing officer immediately upon completion of the transaction(s).
FOOs negotiate with vendors for goods and/or services to meet the needs of the requiring activity, and the paying agents make the payment to the vendor, then safeguard and account for cash and/or payment documents. Separating duties in this manner protects against errors, theft, and fraud.
Reminder: A FOO may not hold the additional duty of paying agent, property book officer, or property accountable officer. Likewise, a paying agent may not hold the additional duty of a FOO, property book officer, or property accountable officer.
Commanders cannot delegate the duties of FOOs or paying agents. It is imperative that the individual nominated be the one performing the duties until he has properly cleared the contracting office (FOO) or disbursing office (paying agent) or is terminated for whatever reason. It is a good idea to have an alternate trained FOO and paying agent as a standby if the primary person is unable perform his assigned duties.
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