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 Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

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