Letter to the editor

It's very interesting that the Army has announced plans to contract out more than 200,000 jobs, including almost all information technology jobs. Yet the Office of Personnel Management Web site posted six new Army IT jobs today [written Nov. 4].

A few musings:

1. Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing? Wouldn't it make more sense to contract out those jobs now? If the secretary of the Army is serious, shouldn't he issue an edict ending the hiring of any more Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act Category B jobs immediately and direct the use of contractors? There are plenty of contractors that would be happy to provide the support short term until the general contracting out occurs.

2. Does anyone wonder about the skill level of applicants, since most folks would be somewhat wary of taking a job with a potential near-term termination date? Will the hiring organization tell them that the job could disappear in the next year or so? Does anyone wonder about the morale of the current Army IT staff, and whether they're looking for jobs? If they're successful finding other jobs, will the Army then post more job announcements for jobs they're going to contract out?

3. So much for the president's management initiative on "human capital." Perhaps the terminology should be modified. The initiative on "human leasing" seems more apropos.

4. It appears the Army is serious about its slogan, "An Army of One." At the current pace of downsizing and contracting out, it may achieve that, oh, say about 2023.

Name withheld by request

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