Thursday, May 07, 2009

Pentagon to Add 20,000 Staffers for Contracting

Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn spoke to the House Armed Services Committee. Key facts include:

1. In the last 10 years, defense contracts tripled while the Pentagon's workforce fell by more than 10 percent

2. Defense spending on goods and services more than doubled between 2001 and 2008, from $145 billion to $388 billion.

3. The Pentagon plans to hire 20,000 new acquisition professionals by 2015

4. The DoD plans to bring back in house another 19,000 jobs currently performed by contractors.

5. Of the 39,000 new full time jobs, 30,000 are currently filled by contractors. Only 9,000 have to be filled from scratch.

President George W. Bush was a hapless general contractor, unable to provide the most basic management oversight. I envision him saying, "Pay somebody else to do it, preferably one of my heavy hitter political donors." Bush played the same game with contractors that he did with war funding. Don't count it. Pentagon FTE's were gamed, just like the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Is America's management model changing from contract at all costs? While this announcement could be a promising sign, it also could indicate an effort to contract better. Layers and layers of contractors, each with their 10-15% profit expectation, makes for an expensive arrangements. Rather than a boondoggle cost plus arrangement, contractor potpourri can produce the same $400 hammer that aggravated people greatly in the 1990's. The more they change, the more it stays the same.

No comments: