DIA to consolidate intell support
New award would reduce number of vendors so the agency can streamline its oversight
- By Jason Miller
- Sep 29, 2007
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper said he never trusted contractors during his 32-year career in the Air Force. But that changed when he joined the private sector in 1995.
Now that he is back in government as the undersecretary of Defense for intelligence and director of Defense intelligence, Clapper said he is finding the sphere of work that only the government can be entrusted to perform the sacred trust has grown smaller and the government must rely on contractors to perform much of the business of government.
If no contractors came to work tomorrow, we would be out of business, Clapper said last month in Chicago at the Analytical Transformation Conference, sponsored by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.
However, he added, agencies must not rely too heavily on outside expertise. We need to maintain a sufficient competence to oversee contractors. That is the key.
Clapper said federal employees must focus on policy and leadership duties in addition to managing contractors.
One of the many advantages of using contractors is that they can expand and constrict their workforce as needed, Clapper said.
In a bid for contractors, Clappers former organization, the Defense Intelligence Agency, issued a request for proposals Sept. 14 to obtain contractor support for 29 areas of intelligence analysis in the next five years.
An agency spokesman said DIAs objective is to consolidate about 30 contracts, leaving the agency with about five contracts. This move is expected to give the Defense Department greater contract flexibility and enable it to exercise better oversight.
In an interview on Federal News Radio, Robert Cardillo, DIAs deputy director of analysis, said the agency is looking for contractors with specific skills that complement those of DIAs employees.
Cardillo said contractors would help translate documents, enter information in databases, and mentor and train new analysts because many qualified contractors are retired federal intelligence analysts.
The contract would have a ceiling of
$1 billion and include contractor support in areas such as computer network operations, emerging and disruptive technologies, military research and development, weapons of mass destruction, and infrastructure support.
Responses to the RFP are due Oct. 16.
In the past year, DIA also has been bringing work back into the agency instead of contracting it to the private sector. DIAs spokesman said the agency wants to ensure that it has the right mix of civilian, military, contractor and reserve employees to fulfill its mission objectives.