Give A-76 a Second Chance

January 8, 2012

As debt, deficit reduction and the looming end of U.S. engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan increase pressures on the defense budget, defense dollars will have to be spent more wisely and effectively, particularly in procurement and sustainment.

In recent years, there have been a number of efforts in this direction. Three are related to insourcing.

First, Congress has stopped so-called lead systems integrator (LSI) contracts for major weapon procurements. Cost and schedule overruns led to the cancellation or curtailment of the most conspicuous of these ambitious programs, in which the integrating contractor produced few of the program's systems and equipment. Seeking to head off further waste, Congress virtually forbade them — assuming, perhaps erroneously, that the government could achieve this function and do it at lower cost.

Second, there has been a push to reduce reliance on contractors by reassigning sustainment and other support functions that are not inherently governmental to federal employees, a process called insourcing. The presumption is that insourcing will save money. 

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