It’s far from certain when—or even if—those jobs (see above related item) will be put up for bid. The 1998 law set no timeframe but said only that studies should be performed within a “reasonable” time. And the Pentagon says that it wants to reserve nearly 200,000 of those positions for performance by federal employees, meaning that the pool of jobs that could be put up for bid is closer to 300,000. Performing cost studies even on that reduced number could be a significant management challenge to the agency. DoD has been struggling just to keep to a schedule it set several years ago of studying some 230,000 positions for possible conversion to contract through fiscal 2005. Less than half of those studies have gotten under way.