House committee adds 'in-sourcing' amendment to Defense bill

Federal employees would be able to compete for thousands of jobs currently held by Pentagon contractors under a measure approved by the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday.

During markup of the Defense Authorization bill, (H.R. 2586), the committee passed an amendment by Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, that directs the Pentagon to subject equal numbers of government and contractor jobs to public-private job competitions each year. At present, only jobs performed by federal employees are routinely subject to public-private competitions at the Defense Department. "This might be called an in-sourcing amendment," said Abercrombie in introducing the amendment. "It doesn't prevent outsourcing." The amendment also sets annual targets for letting public employees bid on new work at the Pentagon once it is identified. For example, in fiscal 2003, federal workers would be able to compete for 10 percent of all new projects. This provision would change federal contracting rules, which currently make the private sector the default provider of new work that is commercial in nature. The Abercrombie amendment, which was opposed by contractor groups including the Contract Services Association, passed by a 34-25 vote. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Penn., chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Readiness, led the opposition to the amendment, arguing it would interfere with a General Accounting Office panel studying federal outsourcing policy. Congress created the panel in last year's Defense Authorization bill. "If we take steps while the [GAO] committee is meeting, I think our integrity is questioned because we created the committee," said Weldon. The GAO panel is slated to deliver recommendations to Congress by March of next year. Abercrombie responded with a withering critique of how the Defense Department handles outsourcing decisions, saying that Defense tries to bypass public-private competition to reward contractors. "They don't want to do [public-private] competitions because then they can't deal with their [contractor] pals," he said, alleging that the Pentagon tries to award contracts to private firms that are led by retired senior officers. Abercrombie added that Pentagon officials had been circulating a legislative alert from the National Defense Industry Association, a nonprofit group that advocates a strong defense industrial base. The alert likened his amendment to union-backed outsourcing legislation. "I've got the Pentagon sending out legislative alerts [calling my amendment] the TRAC amendment," Abercrombie said, referring to the Truthfulness, Responsibility, and Accountability in Contracting (TRAC) bill introduced by Rep. Albert Wynn, D-Md in February. "I didn't think truthfulness, responsibility, or accountability was a bad thing, but apparently [Pentagon officials] think it is." The Abercrombie amendment is now part of the Defense Authorization bill, which will be introduced on the House floor after the August recess.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.