GAO announces outsourcing advisers

Commercial Activities Panel

The General Accounting Office announced Tuesday the membership of a public/private panel to study best practices for outsourcing federal functions to industry.

Congress called for the commercial activities panel in the fiscal 2001 Defense Authorization Act, following two years of emphasis on the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act of 1998, which requires agencies to list functions that could be outsourced to industry.

The new Bush administration has also placed increased focus on the FAIR Act and federal use of commercial resources. This is laid out in the new fiscal 2002 budget released last week and in several memos from the Office of Management and Budget detailing specific goals for agencies over the next year.

In addition to creating the panel, Section 832 of the authorization act requires that a study be submitted by May 1, 2002, that reviews the procedures for determining whether functions should continue to be performed by government employees.

The report also will examine procedures for comparing the cost of the government performing a function vs. outsourcing that function to a contractor. And it will look at the procedures for the Defense Department to best perform public/private competitions under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 and DOD's implementation of the FAIR Act.

As part of the study, the panel will hold public hearings throughout the year, to be announced through the Federal Register.

The 12 people appointed to the panel are:

David Walter, chairman, comptroller general at GAO. Frank Camm, senior economist, Rand Corp. Mark Filteau, president, Johnson Controls World Services Inc. Stephen Goldsmith, former mayor of Indianapolis. Bobby Harnage Sr., national president, American Federation of Government Employees. Colleen Kelley, national president, National Treasury Employees Union. Sean O'Keefe, deputy director, OMB. David Pryor, retired senator and director, Institute of Politics, Harvard University. Stan Soloway, president, Professional Services Council. Robert Tobias, distinguished adjunct professor and director of the Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation, American University. Director, Office of Personnel Management (pending confirmation). Undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, logistics and technology (Pete Aldridge, announced, pending nomination and confirmation).

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