White House seeks cuts to defense contractor workforce

White House officials today proposed cutting the number of contract workers at the Defense Department and collecting delinquent taxes from federal contractors more quickly as part of a plan to save $17 billion next year.

The Obama administration said it intends to save $900 million in fiscal 2010 by decreasing DOD's use of contracted support service personnel and bringing many of those jobs in-house for federal employees to perform, according to a budget document.

Under the plan, the DOD contractor workforce would drop to a pre-2001 level of 26 percent of the total defense workforce, down from the current 39 percent. DOD “expects to achieve savings by replacing selected contractors with 33,500 federal civilians by 2015,” the report states.

The administration also said it will change procedures so the Treasury Department can more quickly collect unpaid taxes from federal contractors, for a total of $2 billion in 10 years. In 2007, the Government Accountability Office reported that about 60,000 federal contractors were delinquent on $7.1 billion in federal taxes.

The plans are part of 121 proposals from the administration to save $17 billion next year by trimming and eliminating programs.

“The administration identifies programs that do not accomplish the goals set for them, do not do so efficiently, or do a job already done by another initiative — and recommends these programs for either termination or reduction,” the report states.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Thu, Nov 24, 2011

I am a contractor, and work side by side with both GS employee and an active duty military members. We work in healthcare and see patients. Some of the people are responsible for filling their schedulke if they get a failed appointment The active duty member has other military obligations, so she only sees about 1/2 the number of patients that the rest of us do. The GS person really has no incentive, or accountability, and therefore makes no effort to fill her vacant appointments. She prefers to check emails and other various website. She even made a comment that since she gets paid less than the contractors, then it doesn't matter if she doesn't keep her scheduled filled. The contractor who does the same job as this GS lady busts her ass, and is honestly the hardest working person in the clinic. Too bad the clinic treats the contractors like crap. We aren't asking for special priviledges, but when I see lazy GS workers being rewarded ( yes the GS lady got a big-time award) when the contractor who does the same job twice as good, weel it make me sick. Everyone should have quarterly evaluations, contractors, and GS!

Mon, Aug 1, 2011 Washington, DC

I work at FAA and watch federal contractors do all of the work in the Office of Information Systems Security and the AIO Office. These jobs are all GS-14, GS-15 or SES positions - highest paid jobs in the agency and they pay for people to go on training all over the U.S. It is fraud, waste and abuse. The DOD CIO's office only has 5 to 7 people and the CIO office at FAA has over 100 people. They go to 2 hour lunches, have uneducated people at these grades, some only high-school or GED graduates and abuse money like it is going out of style. They have people in these offices that cannot write a sentence and are getting paid $165,000 plus. Please, please audit this fraud, waste and abuse. They all have telephones that are abused, franklin planners, telephones, used for personal calls - check it out, it is all true. It is the biggest office of fraud, waste and abuse in FAA. They are all overpaid and have contractor's do their work. Every office in FAA has their own CIO and do not need the CIO or the AIS office at the FAA. Do away with the whole thing and save us taxpayer's money. THey get pay raise, bonuses and have people in positions making $125,000 a year and they are glorified secretaries. Come on Congress, start looking at the offices at FAA, GSA - do away with Education, Energy and Commerce -- not needed. Have worked hard all my life and could not believe the Office of Information Systems Security and Chief Information Office were in FAA - they waste money and pay salaries more than Congress and Senator's make! Next, I am writing my Senator to report it.

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 JG VA

I guess its just better to put a bunch on money the the big defense contractor's pocket instead of the productive employee. NOT

Tue, Oct 12, 2010 GS

O...let's see.... we take the contractor convert him to GS-14 over regular GSs working for decades to get the promotion. Converted contractor does no longer any incentive to work hard. After one year, he leaves the organization for a better place as GS. What is screwed up here now? Taxpayer, organization and regular GS employees. What a mess. Anything initiated by the government, it is waste of tax payers money. SHAME !

Fri, Sep 17, 2010 D.C

Wile I am currently a contractor, I have previously been active military, and Federal government employee, so I have seen all sides of this. There are a number of factors that impact on the issue of government or contractor and these factors can not always be applied across the board. IF the gov does their job and manages the oversight of a contract properly, it can be very cost effective. But if they don't, like anything else, there will in some cases of abuse by the contractor. Pros for the contractor - knows their job - works when the time and schedule set by the gov - can be fired for almost anything - doesn't take time off - while the hourly rate is higher for the contractor, the gov is not supporting the retirement of them or their health and insurance costs for the life of that individual, only for the time they are working for the gov. If a gov worker turns out to be incompetent in their job, you may not be able to get them removed. The gov subsidises the gov employees health, insurance and retirement for life. Gov employees get extra time-off, get to attend special "events", get training, incentive pay awards, and other benefits that contractors are not allowed. A contractor works because his job depends on it, the gov employee (not all, but a high percentage) just show up and don't really put in any effort to doing their job. This has the affect of creating a bloated work force that is inherently slow to respond and has a "it will be there tomorrow" attitude. Now, with all this being said is not to say that this is the case at every gov office. Some places it all works well together. Good contractors and good govies. In other places you can have a mix of good/bad on both sides. That's what makes the government not work. Unfortunately the gov system creates an environment for the gov employee not to work to his/her full ability and over time they become unresponsive to the work environment and less than effective in their job. Go to any large DMV office to see this in practice. SO what's the answer? The answer is to hold the government to their responsibility of selecting the right contractor and providing the oversight needed to ensure the contractor performs as required. That is when the two elements work together as a responsive gov/contractor entity. Just saying "convert contractors to government" is not the answer.

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