DOD must stick to A-76 rules

The Defense Department will be required to meet the Bush administration's outsourcing goals, said Angela Styles, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

"They're going to meet our 15 percent goals using the A-76 process," said Styles, referring to Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76, which lays out the process for outsourcing government work. Part of the A-76 process is a competition between potential bidders and federal employees that are currently doing the work.

In a December 2001 memo to OMB, DOD sought an exemption from using A-76 and proposed to use other ways to reach the 15 percent goal for fiscal 2003. "Rather than pursuing narrowly defined A-76 targets, we propose to step back and not confine our approach to only A-76," Pete Aldridge, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said in the memo.

In its guidance last year, OMB directed agencies to open to competition 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.

Styles said that A-76 was the process that had been determined as the most fair for all interested parties.

"As many bad things as people say about A-76, it ensures that public employees have an opportunity to compete for their jobs," she said.

DOD spokesman Glenn Flood said that the department had "always been in absolute agreement with the president's management reform agenda."

Aldridge is leading the DOD Business Initiative Council, which is responsible for changing DOD business practices to improve mission effectiveness and reduce cost, Flood said. That group is working on a plan that will include "quantifiable indicators for documenting savings" for DOD's fiscal 2004 budget.

"The department has long been the leader in the federal government in competing commercial functions with the private sector under the rules of OMB Circular A-76," Flood said.

In a Jan. 30 meeting between officials from OMB and DOD, Flood said: "We reached agreement that our ongoing efforts would allow us to meet the 15 percent goal by fiscal 2003. And we are continuing to develop metrics and timelines for the broader [Business Initiative Council] plan, including the use of A-76, to reach the overall 50 percent goal consistent with the president's management reform agenda."

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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