A Senate amendment to the Department of Defense
authorization bill (S-2400) has been passed to increase
the defense acquisition workforce.
Introduced by Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), the
amendment — which he calls an overdue common sense
approach — speaks out against contractor abuse and
government waste in the federal procurement, citing
inadequate staff to monitor and manage the process.
“At times, it seems as though an impenetrable fog hangs
over government contractors, clouding the process by
which taxpayer funds are awarded and spent,” said
The amendment provides that during fiscal 2005, 2006
and 2007, DoD will increase the defense acquisitions
workforce by five percent of the September 30, 2003
“baseline number” of full time employees. The Secretary
of Defense could waive the required increase by
certifying to Congress that the savings would not offset
the cost of the additional personnel.
“The problem is attributable, in part, to the draconian
staff cuts in the federal acquisition workforce. These
are the civil servants who analyze proposed prices on
bids, who keep tabs on cost overruns, who commit
contractual fine print to memory so they can make sure
requirements and standards are met. Since 1989, the
number of these civil servants has been cut in half–one
of the most dramatic reductions in the entire federal
workforce since the end of the cold war,” said Byrd.
“All of this makes it increasingly tempting for companies
to inflate their prices and to hide the real costs
behind impenetrable contractual jargon.”