Air Force CIO: A-76 takes too long

Navigating the complex legal framework set up by Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 is too time-consuming to efficiently outsource information technology positions, according to the Air Force's chief information officer.

"We're struggling because we want to outsource, but not with A-76; it takes too darn long," Air Force CIO John Gilligan said last week at a breakfast hosted by Input. Circular A-76 outlines how the public and private sectors compete for commercial-like government functions.

Specifically, the Air Force has decided it wants to reassign employees in the Air Force Pentagon Communications Agency (AFPCA) and place them back in core warfighting jobs, Gilligan said.

"The legal framework to do that is very complex," he said. "Our progress is gated by that legal framework. We're trying to find a good way to do it, but we're struggling. With A-76, it will take [more than] three years to do, and we want to do it next year."

AFPCA provides information systems services for Air Force headquarters, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and other defense professionals within the National Capital Region.

OMB is working to revise the A-76 process so it can be completed in one year, but JohnThrelkeld, a legislative representative at the American Federation of Government Employees, said he was skeptical that that would stop the Air Force and other agencies from outsourcing IT jobs.

"The Air Force is not interested in actually conducting a competition," he said. "It's pretty clear they want to privatize."

"There are legitimate but conflicting interests of the need to downsize and outsource [along] with protecting the incumbent workforce," Gilligan said.

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