Air Force A-76 decision prompts two DoD reviews

The Defense Department has launched a review of all A-76 competitions at the U.S. Air Force in the wake of a controversial decision to outsource hundreds of jobs at the Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Defense's inspector general will conduct a separate review of the Lackland decision. In a Dec. 20 memorandum, Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy de Leon directed Jacques Gansler, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics to conduct a review of the Air Force's A-76 process and make recommendations to "ensure the Air Force follows open, fair and consistent procedures that can be understood by all parties to a competition." In a different memo, de Leon called on the inspector general to investigate the Lackland decision and "recommend any necessary changes."

"The potential impact of our actions on our dedicated government workforce requires us to assure that the A-76 process is fully respected, not only to maintain actual fairness during the process, but also to assure the appearance of fairness," de Leon said in both memoranda.

The Defense reviews should meet the request by six members of Texas' congressional delegation - Republican Sens. Phil Gramm and Kay Bailey Hutchison, GOP Reps. Henry Bonilla and Lamar Smith, and Democratic Reps. Charles A. Gonzalez and Ciro D. Rodriquez - who called for an investigation of the Lackland decision in a Dec. 15 letter to Air Force Secretary F. Whitten Peters.

On Dec. 13, the Air Force reversed itself for the second time in a case involving more than 700 airfield support positions at Lackland and awarded a $336 million, 5 1/2 year contract to Lackland 21st Century Services Consolidated, a California-based contractor. This ruling - which reversed a November appellate decision in favor of government workers at the base - prompted a congressional outcry and protests from the American Federation of Government Employees, the union representing the Lackland workers.

De Leon did not specify a deadline for the Defense inspector general to complete the Lackland review. De Leon directed that Gansler's general review of Air Force A-76 process be completed by Jan. 10.

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