Government Private Contractors Now Outnumber Government Employees

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Main Question or Discussion Point

It is time to crack down on the number of government contractors. Many that we have currently are of questionable honesty. They, as the llink suggests, have become a fourth branch of government. CACI International, the one the GSA just hired to investigate other contractors was recently under investigation.

Outsourcing the work of government agencies is nothing new, but it has doubled since 2000. It is also time to take a closer look at the contractor selection process.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 — In June, short of people to process cases of incompetence and fraud by federal contractors, officials at the General Services Administration responded with what has become the government’s reflexive answer to almost every problem. They hired another contractor.
Even the National Security Agency outsources heavily.

The contracting surge has raised bipartisan alarms. A just-completed study by experts appointed by the White House and Congress, the Acquisition Advisory Panel, found that the trend “poses a threat to the government’s long-term ability to perform its mission” and could “undermine the integrity of the government’s decision making.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/04/washington/04contract.html?em&ex=1170738000&en=3be996e56a43b0a1&ei=5087
 
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Answers and Replies

russ_watters
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I don't get it - if the government were to directly do everything governments do, we'd be communist. Should we nationalize Boeing?

The problem isn't contractors (directly - they do, of course all need leashes), it is stupid government policies for how to hire them. Governments waste money on everything they do and this is just another example of the same problem. Should we nationalize Lockheed because the F22 is too expensive? No, we should fix the laws governing procurement so that it doesn't cost so much to develop. The F117 was an incredibly economical project ($40m apiece, on a short production run), largely because it was developed outside normal government procurement rules.
 
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It appears that CACI international, the company awarded the GSA contact, has been doing lots of nasty little jobs for the government. They were one of the private contractors who providded civilian interrogators at Abu Garaib.:mad:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1391443,00.html
 
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I don't get it - if the government were to directly do everything governments do, we'd be communist. Should we nationalize Boeing?

The problem isn't contractors (directly - they do, of course all need leashes), it is stupid government policies for how to hire them. Governments waste money on everything they do and this is just another example of the same problem. Should we nationalize Lockheed because the F22 is too expensive? No, we should fix the laws governing procurement so that it doesn't cost so much to develop. The F117 was an incredibly economical project ($40m apiece, on a short production run), largely because it was developed outside normal government procurement rules.
I agree with that Russ. But it is not just the big military contractors, the whole privitization scenario has left the companies who work for governent agencies with too much power. Like the article says, they have become a fourth branch of government.

The G.S.A., like other agencies, said it did not track the number or total cost of its contract workers. The agency administrator, Lurita Doan, who previously ran a Virginia contracting firm, has actively pushed contracting. Ms. Doan recently clashed with her agency’s inspector general over her proposal to remove the job of auditing contractors’ proposed prices from his office and to hire contractors to do it instead.
We are hiring contractors to audit contractors, whats next?, Hire contractors to audit the auditors.
 
russ_watters
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It's a catch-22: if the government were efficient enough to be able to manage their subcontractors properly, it'd be efficient enough that it wouldn't need so many anyway. Boeing is a manufacturing company and you are, of course, mostly talking about service companies. The government is big enough that it should be able to realize a benefit to in-house service companies for things like securty and food service. But the reason it can't is the same reason it can't manage the subs either.
 
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I wonder at the real costs
like in iraq a guard or truck driver
can be paid 100k a year if a usa citizen
but what does the CORP bill our goverment
for the persons service 250k ??
 
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Im not so sure that you understand this russ. Companies like black water and many others have been contracted out by the government to do many of the jobs in Iraq that our troops previously did. They pull security, are basically singlehandedly in charge of supplies and even have built many r&r camps. This is a huge problem because contractors arent subject to the same standards as the military. This means that if they break a country's law they are simply fired, no real punishment. They can also just up and leave at any time. This leaves a real uncertanty on the battlefield because what happens if it gets too hot and your supply contractor says see you later. There has also been at least one major incident with the security teams. They dont need authorization to travel throughout the country, and back in 2003 5 security agents drove the fallujah and were slaughtered. This directly caused the marines to change their plan for attacking fallujah. Actually watch this its where I am getting most of this, its very interesting.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/view/
 
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russ_watters
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Im not so sure that you understand this russ. Companies like black water and many others have been contracted out by the government to do many of the jobs in Iraq that our troops previously did. They pull security, are basically singlehandedly in charge of supplies and even have built many r&r camps. This is a huge problem because contractors arent subject to the same standards as the military. This means that if they break a country's law they are simply fired, no real punishment. They can also just up and leave at any time. This leaves a real uncertanty on the battlefield because what happens if it gets too hot and your supply contractor says see you later. There has also been at least one major incident with the security teams. They dont need authorization to travel throughout the country, and back in 2003 5 security agents drove the fallujah and were slaughtered. This directly caused the marines to change their plan for attacking fallujah. Actually watch this its where I am getting most of this, its very interesting.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/view/
That is a problem, but it isn't the problem the OP was discussing. The article makes a passing reference to it, but the main point is the money.
 
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The past is the past yet it certainly needs to be investigated. The problem is The GSA has given a contract to a company which exhibited questionable behavior in Iraq to do the investigating.

In addition the investigations go far beyond Iraq and Katrina.

Non profit organizations who work in the interest of the people have done an admirable job exposing corruption in numerous situations. The news media has also contributed to this area. They usually do so by using the Freedom of Information act to obtain government information and data. They can not do this with private companies.

Private companies are exempt from the FOIA. With the vast amount of outsourced government contracts, even in the area of national security, this leaves us plunging deeper and deeper into a secret government.

Again as the article stated, private contractors have become a fourth branch of government and are quite apparently not held accountable to any one except perhaps another private company.
 
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