AFGE is calling the Pentagon out on its recent invitation to private-sector representatives to advise the department on how to privatize more federal jobs even though contractors are two to three times more expensive than civilian employees.
The Pentagon’s assignment of a Defense Business Board (DBB) task force to examine DoD’s business processes to open more doors to contracting out of federal jobs is outrageous as the department has repeatedly cited a budget crunch when laying off thousands of civilian employees.
The DBB has no representatives from the department’s civilian workforce and has historically used its influence to promote the interests of contractors at the expense of military and civilian personnel. The use of management consultants also often creates a conflict of interest as contractors are making policy, developing budgets, awarding contracts, and overseeing other contractors.
AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. said in a Nov. 4 letter to Deputy Secretary and Chief Management Officer Robert Work that the biggest obstacle to reducing costs is the illegal cap on the civilian workforce, which forces the department to use expensive contractors. Even though the military and civilian workforces are being cut by 8.7% and 9.1% respectively, spending on service contracts is scheduled to increase in 2015 from $52.8 billion to 53.1 billion. This amount doesn’t even include funding for certain functions that federal employees are supposed to be doing such as Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.
“Would business consultants advise their private sector clients to ignore opportunities for savings from bringing outsourced work back in-house? Of course not. Will the DBB task force recommend that the department generate efficiencies through insourcing, regardless of the impact on contractors? Based on history, you can bet against it,” President Cox said.