John S. Pachter recently published an article entitled "The Incredible Shrinking Contracting Officer," in the Summer 2010 edition of the Public Contract Law Journal. The article criticizes a continuing trend of legislative, judicial, and regulatory pronouncements which have diminished the authority of the contracting officer to the detriment of federal acquisition management.
Mr. Pachter argues for a restoration of the FAR's first principles which state that "the contracting officer must have the authority to the maximum extent practicable and consistent with law, to determine the application of rules, regulations, and policies, on a specific contract." FAR 1.102-4(a).
The full text of the article is available here.