GAO faults Pentagon data measuring insourcing

Dennis Cook/AP

Days before the release of the Obama administration’s fiscal 2013 defense budget, the Pentagon’s three-year effort to move more contractor work in-house drew criticism from auditors for lacking clear and internally consistent data measuring progress.

The Government Accountability Office, in an assessment released Thursday and required under the 2011 Defense Authorization Act, found that the Defense Department did not report how many contractor employees were moved into government staff positions because it does not keep such data. Pentagon officials told GAO they focus on services delivered by contractors and leave it up to contractors to determine the number of employees needed to do a job.

Defense officials do track the number of new civilian positions authorized as a result of the 2010 insourcing initiative, which is designed to better control functions deemed inherently governmental and to reduce the $200 billion spent annually on contractors. But Congress, the auditors said, required the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to report use of contractors in terms of full-time equivalents.

GAO also faulted the reliability of data that Defense managers assembled from components of the department. The Navy’s Fleet Forces Command, for example, categorized 348 of 354 new insourcing authorizations as “inherently governmental when they should have been designated as exempt from private sector performance for continuity of infrastructure operations,” auditors said.

Nor did the data collected on insourcing properly align with strategic workforce plans, GAO added. Such plans could well change in the coming budget year, according to outside analysts.

Finally, Defense managers acknowledged that they had “coded jobs by occupational series, such as budget analyst, while the insourcing report used function codes indicating broad areas of work, such as logistics.” There is no crosswalk between the two, the report said.

Defense officials agreed that creating better metrics would help them continue using insourcing to find the right workforce mix to maintain readiness while assuring that all inherently governmental functions are performed by federal employees.

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

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

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


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