ARTICLE: THE ROLE OF CERTIFYING AND DISBURSING OFFICERS IN GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS * Skip over navigation
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Military Law Review

ARTICLE: THE ROLE OF CERTIFYING AND DISBURSING OFFICERS IN GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS *



* The opinions and conclusions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Judge Advocate General's School, the Department of the Army, or any other governmental agency. This article is based upon a thesis submitted by the author in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the LL.M. degree at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., during academic year 1980-81.

Winter, 1982

95 Mil. L. Rev. 1

Author

Major James F. Nagle, Jr. **

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

Money alone sets the world in motion. 1

This quotation is as appropriate today as when it was first written, over 2,000 years ago. It is especially applicable to government contracts. Efforts are constantly made to purchase goods and services at a reasonable price which also provides sufficient profit incentive to unleash the contractor's creative and technological energy.

Given such a maxim and its relevance to Government contracts, it might be assumed that those officials who control the money of the various departments and agencies would have exceptional prominence, awesome authority, and overwhelming responsibility and liability in the procurement process. Such is not exactly the case.

These individuals who control the purse strings are called certifying officers and disbursing officers. While more detailed definitions will be developed and explained later, suffice it to say that certifying officers are those officials who validate the fact that a certain amount is owed to a specific payee by the United States. Disbursing officers are those who, based on this certification, issue the check or otherwise render payment to the payee. 2

All agencies and departments have certifying officers. 3 Most civilian agencies, however, do not do their own disbursing. 4 Consequently, once the certifying officer certifies a voucher, it is sent to the nearest Regional Disbursing Office of the Department of Treasury for payment. 5

The Department of Defense, Postal Service, United States marshals, and certain other governmental entities do their own disbursing. 6 In these ...
 
 
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