Federal Manager's Daily Report

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

Senator Byrd.

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.”