Lawmakers Pressure Defense Secretary to Rely Less on ContractorsPublished: Monday, May 07, 2012
Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. have sent defense secretary Leon Panetta a letter requesting that DoD tip its workforce balance away from contractors and toward federal employees.
The letter, carrying the signatures of another 26 senators, argues that capping the civilian workforce at 2010 levels is causing DoD to lean too heavily on a more expensive contractor workforce that was not capped. A group of more than 100 House members recently sent the Pentagon a similar letter.
The letter acknowledges the need to adapt to budget constraints but says a lack of comparable constraints on workforces hired through contractors would be an incentive for managers to use contractors even when more expensive.
"We also believe that there are a number of sensitive roles that should be performed by direct employees," they wrote, adding, "When determining whether services should be performed by employees or contractors, DoD's sourcing decisions should be made on the basis of the law, cost, policy, and risk, and not because DoD managers simply have fewer civilian employee slots."
The letter calls on DoD to eliminate the cap on the civilian workforce or provide a waiver, embrace a total force management approach to consider the military, civilian, and contractor workforces together, and cap service contract spending at fiscal 2010 levels.
It also praised DoD for issuing guidance in December for conducting formal cost comparisons when making outsourcing decisions and asked that the guidance be elevated as a priority requirement.