Letters to the editor

Following are responses to an FCW.com poll question that asked: Should government outsource more IT services?

As we have seen time and time again, price is usually the deciding factor in awarding a contract. The low bidder is rarely qualified to complete the job as necessary, requiring either follow-on contracts or re-awarding a contract. It is less costly to keep the experts in place.

D.R. Moody

Air Force


Reasons why I think government should do its own IT:

1. Security. Many contractors automatically give new employees confidential clearances until they have been investigated — which may take months. Imagine what damage can be done in the meantime.

2. Cost. Contractor labor rates (loaded with overhead) are much higher than General Services Administration or Navy Department rates, which is what we charge our sponsors.

3. Expertise. We need to keep the capability in-house, especially with the mergers of many contractors into a few who can then dictate how much.

4. Trust. I trust the government more than the contractors. On the other hand, we are all human and prone to making mistakes and taking the easy way out, especially when there's profit involved.

Name withheld by request


If Congress and the White House want to eliminate government workers, there is a better way to accomplish the mission than to fire personnel. One way is to slowly contract out work. As government employees retire, move their functions to contract personnel. Government employees can save money if given the chance. Why not see if the government organization can cut 10 percent of its costs before invoking A-76 rules.

Name withheld by request


My answer (yes) is ambivalent, because although it is clear that contractors have more IT knowledge than most government managers (and in many cases more management knowledge too), there are many unsolved problems with outsourcing: rivalry between contractors, reluctance of contractors to subcontract when appropriate, lack of service-level agreements and clear measures of performance, lack of knowledge about contractor performance within government and inadequate skill assessments of contractors.

Name withheld by request


We welcome your comments. To send a letter to the editor, use this form.

Please check out the archive of Letters to the Editor for fellow readers' comments.


  • IT Modernization
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    OMB provides key guidance for TMF proposals amid surge in submissions

    Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat details what makes for a winning Technology Modernization Fund proposal as agencies continue to submit major IT projects for potential funding.

  • gears and money (zaozaa19/Shutterstock.com)

    Worries from a Democrat about the Biden administration and federal procurement

    Steve Kelman is concerned that the push for more spending with small disadvantaged businesses will detract from the goal of getting the best deal for agencies and taxpayers.

Stay Connected