Air Force CIO is fed up with A-76

The Air Force's IT team doesn't want to hold any more competitions under OMB Circular A-76.

Why? Because the service has had such bad luck conducting competitions for systems work between its own employees and contractors using A-76 reviews, Air Force CIO John Gilligan said.

'We're struggling today in that area,' he said this month during a breakfast sponsored by Input of Chantilly, Va., and GCN's parent, Post Newsweek Tech Media of Washington. 'While we definitely want to outsource, we do not want to outsource using A-76. It takes too darn long.'
Gilligan said he was looking for effective models for outsourcing.

'We have to find some good examples that allow us to do smart outsourcing,' he said. 'With A-76, I can't find one that works very well. For IT, it doesn't work.'

The Air Force has had numerous problems with its A-76 competitions, most notably one it held at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

The objective at Lackland was to choose an organization to run 18 of the base's functions, including IT, logistics, civil engineering, communications services and transportation. But the Air Force made so many missteps in the competition process that the Defense Department Inspector General issued a report in September 2001 advising the service to throw out the results and start over.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy has since revised the circular. OFPP has been reviewing comments, making changes to the new policy and planning a pilot that would use an IT program.

Paul Cofoni, president of Computer Sciences Corp.'s federal sector, has had firsthand experience in dealing with the Air Force's use of A-76. CSC initially was chosen as the lead contractor for the Lackland outsourcing deal, but then the Air Force reversed its decision, giving the contract to the government employee team.

Cofoni echoed Gilligan's frustration, calling the A-76 process inherently flawed because it requires contractors to compete with government employees for work'and ultimately for their jobs

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