DOD looks for A-76 exemption

The Pentagon is looking for an exemption to the Bush administration's outsourcing goals in its efforts to transform the Defense Department, said Pete Aldridge, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

In a Dec. 26, 2001, memo to Sean O'Keefe, then deputy director at the Office of Management and Budget, Aldridge said that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is "committed to improving the efficiency of the department and ensuring resources are allocated to high-priority programs. To do this, we must have the freedom to manage limited resources in ways that best support our strategic objectives and evolving national security strategy."

OMB has been pushing agencies to open more programs to public/private competition in accordance with OMB Circular A-76. The Bush administration has been pushing these competitions as part of its government reform efforts. In its guidance last year, OMB directed agencies to compete 15 percent of the federal jobs considered commercially viable by the end of fiscal 2003. Under the Federal Activities and Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act, agencies must create a list of jobs that are not inherently governmental.

"Rather than pursuing narrowly defined A-76 targets, we propose to step back and not confine our approach to only A-76," Aldridge said.

"We look for the best instrument available — whether through competitive sourcing, re-engineering, divestiture, privatization, public/private competition, public/private partnership, diversification, etc. — to determine the most efficient and effective way to do government business better," he said.

Rumsfeld's Quadrennial Defense Review changed the Pentagon's defense strategy and placed particular emphasis on homeland defense, Aldridge said. Furthermore, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, DOD is expanding its focus on generating savings, not solely relying on manpower reductions.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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