Customs, border bureau forges ahead on insourcing

Insourcing might be slowing down at many federal agencies, but at the Homeland Security Department's Customs and Border Protection bureau, the push to federalize private sector functions is picking up steam.

During a conference on Wednesday in Washington, Ken Ritchhart, deputy assistant commissioner for the Office of Information and Technology at CBP, said his unit planned to cut about 1,200 contractors and replace them with 1,000 new federal employees, according to media reports. The technology office employs more than 3,200 contractors.

The plan to use federal employees rather than contractors would save up to $40,000 annually per worker, Ritchhart told attendees of an executive session hosted by the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council, according to the reports. The office expects to save a total of $40 million through its insourcing initiative, in part by relying on entry-level hires.

The insourcing initiative is already under way, Ritchhart reportedly told conference attendees. CBP has cut about 200 contract workers and hired 700 new IT staffers. The office's budget, meanwhile, has been reduced by more than $300 million during the past two years.

A CBP spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment about the proposed contractor cuts.

The Homeland Security Department traditionally has relied heavily on contractors. In 2010, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee the department employed about 200,000 contractors and 188,000 federal employees, excluding uniformed members of the Coast Guard.

Napolitano initiated a plan in 2009 to rebalance the department's workforce through aggressive insourcing and the elimination of several private sector functions. A spokesman was unable to provide recent data on the number of private sector functions that have been brought back in-house departmentwide.

Elsewhere, insourcing appears to have slowed down, in part due to a hiring freeze at Pentagon offices and agencies. But insourcing has been allowed to continue at the military services, which are exempt from the fiscal 2011 billet freeze.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates did not mention insourcing last week when he announced that the department had identified a total of $154 billion in efficiencies over the next five years through cutting overhead, improving business practices and eliminating troubled programs.

Insourcing also could be falling out of favor with lawmakers. The 2011 Defense authorization bill President Obama signed earlier this month was stripped of several provisions that would have expanded insourcing opportunities, and the law included language prohibiting agencies from establishing an "arbitrary" insourcing goal or target. The Defense Department and the Government Accountability Office will be required to examine the governmentwide insourcing initiative.

Lawmakers have yet to introduce any legislation in the 112th Congress that would restrict federal insourcing. But several congressional panels are reportedly planning to look at whether the initiative is being implemented strategically.

The Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Procurement Policy is expected to issue final guidelines soon on work federal employees must perform.

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.