An unauthorized commitment is an agreement that is not binding solely because the Government representative who made it lacked the authority to enter into that agreement on behalf of the Government. An unauthorized commitment (UC) usually results in the receipt of goods or services on behalf of the Government by someone with apparent authority, but that lacks the authority to obligate the Government; it can be intentional or unintentional.
Only a warranted contracting officer has authority to obligate government funds and contractually bind the government for supplies and services within their warrant authority.
In accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) as supplemented by the Army Federal Regulation Supplement (AFARS), UCs have the possibility of being approved or ratified, by an official who has authority to do so when specific conditions are met; however, some commitments are not ratifiable, in which case the individual who made the unauthorized commitment may be held personally liable for the cost and/or the matter may be subject to resolution through claim procedures or through other extraordinary contractual actions. Personnel responsible for unauthorized commitments are required to give detailed written explanations of their actions and may be subject to disciplinary action, especially if violations are flagrant and/or repetitive. Before accepting or requesting supplies or services from a business entity on behalf of the Government, take to time to consider whether or not you have that authority and contact a member of your contracting team to be certain.
There is substantial manpower and administrative costs associated with processing a single unauthorized commitment; manpower and funds that are better served in conserving the fighting strength and supporting our Warfighter. Not to mention the individual embarrassment and command visibility. Personal financial liability, and being on the receiving end of disciplinary admonishment should serve as effective deterrents. Also consider the additional costs associated with delayed invoice payment to a Contractor or business entity and their contract service providers and employees due to the time required to properly document, process and ratify an unauthorized commitment.
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- FAR 1.602-3, Ratification of Unauthorized Commitments
- AFARS 5101.602-3, Ratification of Unauthorized Commitments
- AFARS 5101.302-3-90, Ratification Procedures
- U.S. Army Medical Command Pamphlet 715-2, U.S. Army Medical Command Request for Approval of Unauthorized Commitments
- OTSG/MEDCOM Policy Memo 20-001, Unauthorized Commitment (UC) Policy
- MEDCOM Form 747R