Lawmakers to watch A-76 closely

Lawmakers are leery about the Bush administration's proposal to compete 15 percent of the federal jobs considered commercially viable by the end of fiscal 2003.

"We're going to be doing a lot of oversight on this issue," Rep. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee's Military Readiness Subcommittee, told Bush administration officials during a March 13 hearing.

In some cases, the Clinton administration needlessly forced competition for jobs, Chambliss said. "We're going to be looking over your shoulder on this," he warned the officials. The Office of Management and Budget has been pushing agencies to open more programs to public/private competition in accordance with OMB Circular A-76.

Despite having significant reservations about the A-76 process — particularly the length of time it takes — officials from the armed services told lawmakers they would meet the 15 percent target.

In December, Pentagon officials requested an exemption from A-76 and said that the Defense Department could meet the target using other processes. But Angela Styles, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, stressed that DOD will use A-76 for this initial round of competitions.

Although DOD is still pursuing a number of A-76 competitions, "we believe that the department's future interests are best served by employing a wide range of business tools, of which A-76 competition is one," said Michael Wynne, principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and technology.

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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