Members of the House of Representatives voting on a defense authorization bill last week let their voices be heard when it comes to the hot-button issue of in-sourcing.
In a “sense of Congress” amendment, which is not legally binding, the bill reiterated to the Defense Department that in the meticulous balancing of federal employees and contractors, the government should in-source only those positions deemed “inherently governmental.”
“The federal government should not be in the business of competing with its citizens and private enterprise, and as such, should not start or carry on activities if they can be procured more economically from a commercial source,” said co-sponsor Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) on the House floor, according to a report in Federal Times.
But Redding Hobby, executive director of strategic plans and initiatives at the Defense Logistics Agency, has said in-sourcing is hardly a black-and-white issue.
“In one year … DLA in-sourced almost 400 positions, and that saved us $19 million in one year,” he said, according to a Federal News Radio report. “The jury’s still out on the long-term effects on that, however, the numbers speak for themselves.”
Rather than sweeping congressional mandates, Hobby suggested, local control is often more effective.
“These decisions would probably be best left to management to work a business case analysis,” he said, adding that if staffing decisions are made “based on that, without statutory right or left limits or policy bookends that drive us to a specific decision, I think we’ll provide the best value to our customers, the best support to our warfighters and provide the enduring capability that our nation demands.”