Federal Manager's Daily Report

The AFGE union has called the new DoD leadership’s attention to limits on contracting for certain work set by law and DoD policy which it said have not been followed, leading to the “marginalization” of civilian employees there.

The union—which represents some 300,000 of DoD’s civilian workforce of about 750,000—said that one symptom of over-reliance on contractors is that the department on average spent $1.8 billion less than budgeted for its own employees over 2015-2019, “some of which the Department of Defense inspector general documented as being spent on lower priority functions, including private contracts for services.”

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It noted that law sets standards barring private sector performance of “inherently governmental” functions and said the department is using a narrow definition of that term that would mis-characterize virtually all of the department’s work as ‘commercial.’”

Further, it said, some DoD officials “seem to be unaware” that there is a long-standing ban on conducting so-called “A-76” studies for the potential conversion of in-house work to contractor performance.

It asked that the department reinstate a mechanism established under the Obama administration that was dropped in the Trump administration for unions to address such issues with management and further asked to be included in working groups being established to carry out an executive order from President Biden on “revitalizing” the national security workforce.

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2021 Federal Employees Handbook