The Defense Department has said that 504,000 of its civilian employee jobs are subject to contracting-out competitions with the private sector, a figure that surprised even those who closely follow contracting policy. DoD always has had most of the federal jobs not deemed “inherently governmental” but a lower figure was expected because in recent years the Pentagon has cut hundreds of thousands of jobs, many of them of a commercial or industrial nature that are the prime candidates for contracting-out. The report came under a 1998 law requiring agencies to publish inventories of jobs subject to competition.