The Defense Department is not very enthusiastic about saving taxpayers’ dollars as it has decided to halt the statutorily required inventory of service contracts. Congress in 2008 required DoD to conduct an inventory of its service contracts to be used in strategic workforce planning as the contractor workforce could be larger than the civilian workforce and contractors are two to three times more expensive than civilian employees. The department was in the middle of collecting data for the inventory using a proven Army data collection methodology but then decided to halt the process to study the likelihood of switching to another inferior process. The pause causes confusion among DoD components and raises a question about whether DoD is still committed to following the law and establishing a reliable and comprehensive inventory of service contracts.
AFGE raised the issue with Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management Stephanie Barna during a recent meeting. We are now working with Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Richard Durbin to hold DoD to its commitments and to insist that it continue to use the proven Army methodology so there won’t be any more delay. AFGE’s request is consistent with the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which told DoD to use the Army method.
At the request of AFGE, House-Senate conferees to the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act, on a bipartisan basis, championed the Army method in strong report language: “According to [a Congressional watchdog], a key factor inhibiting the components’ inventory review is a lack of accurate and reliable data, which we note the inventory could provide if the components were to implement DOD-wide a common data system based on the Army’s existing system as directed by existing DOD guidance.”