An Update on the Bush Administration’s Competitive Sourcing Initiative

July 24, 2003

Thank you for inviting me to testify today regarding the Bush Administration’s competitive sourcing initiative, which promises to subject at least 50 percent of the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act (FAIR Act) not-inherently governmental jobs to competition by some as-yet-to-be-determined date. As you know, the Office of Management and Budget has given some ground on the competition quotas—the 50 percent goal is still a bit fuzzy, but is embedded in the criteria governing the red-to-green ratings in the president’s management agenda.

As I have argued before, the competitive sourcing initiative is part of a long-standing effort to keep the total headcount of government as low as possible, whether through hiring freezes, personnel ceilings, or outsourcing initiatives. This is certainly the history of the FAIR Act, which is driving the current sourcing initiative.

Congress and the president have long understood that the federal government could not fulfill its mission without outside help. From the very beginning of the space and nuclear programs, for example, government has relied on contractors and consultants to conduct the essential research and manage the programs.