Defense wants out of A-76

The Pentagon does not like the limitations of Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76, and wants to develop its own ways of improving mission effectiveness while cutting costs.

Pete Aldridge, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said the new ways might include competitive sourcing, re-engineering, divestiture, privatization, public-private partnering or diversification.

Aldridge expressed these views in a Dec. 26 letter to then-OMB deputy director Sean O'Keefe.

Aldridge said OMB has been expanding its target numbers for A-76 competitions, which pushes the Defense Department to pursue public-private competitions for 15 percent of all jobs in its Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act listing by fiscal 2003. The competitions are part of President Bush's government reform initiative.

"Rather than pursuing narrowly defined A-76 targets, we propose to step back and not confine our approach to only A-76," Aldridge wrote. "We look for the best instrument available ... to determine the most efficient and effective way to do government business better."

Service branches have seen their share of controversial A-76 competitions. Last summer, the Air Force decided to suspend future A-76 initiatives at the Air Education and Training Command until a panel could meet to devise an acquisition strategy.

The decision was prompted by an inspector general's ruling that the Air Force made so many blunders in an A-76 competition at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, it should throw out the results and start over.

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