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Project on Government Oversight

Acronyms and Glossary (POGO Report: Bad Business: Billions of Taxpayers Dollars Wasted on Hiring Contractors

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September 13, 2011

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A-76 Office of Management and Budget’s Circular A-76
BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics
CBO Congressional Budget Office
CCE Army Contracting Agency’s Contracting Center of Excellence 
CEHNC Corps of Engineers Huntsville Center
CPS Current Population Survey
CRS Congressional Research Service
CSIS Center for Strategic and International Studies
CWC Commission on Wartime Contracting in Afghanistan and Iraq
DHS Department of Homeland Security
DOE Department of Energy
DoD Department of Defense
DOL Department of Labor
FAIR Federal Activities Inventory Reform
FAR Federal Acquisition Regulation
FTE Full-Time Equivalent
FY Fiscal Year
GAO Government Accountability Office
GS General Schedule
GSA General Services Administration
IG Inspector General
IGF Inherently governmental function
IRS Internal Revenue Service
IT Information technology

Logistics Civil Augmentation Program

MEO Most efficient organization
NCS National Compensation Survey
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
OES Occupational Employment Statistics
OFPP Office of Federal Procurement Policy
OMB Office of Management and Budget
OPM Office of Personnel Management
PCA Private Collection Agency
PDC Private Debt Collection Initiative
POGO Project On Government Oversight
PSC Private Security Contractor
RFP Request for proposal
SBAR Santa Barbara Applied Research, Inc.
SIN Special Item Number
SOC Standard Occupational Classification system
USACE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Acquisition workforce - Federal contracting officers (COs), contracting officer representatives/contracting officer technical representatives (COTRs), contract specialists (GS-1102 series), purchasing agents (GS-1105 series), procurement assistants (GS-1106 series), auditors, engineers, logistics specialists, and program managers or specialists with responsibilities for planning, defining the requirements of, purchasing, monitoring, and/or evaluating federal contracts and/or contractors.

Bid protest - An actual or prospective bidder’s challenge to a contract that has been, or is about to be, awarded alleging a violation of law or regulation that governs the contracting process. Generally, bid protests can be filed with the GAO and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Circular A-76 - The OMB policy for the competition of commercial activities between federal employees and contractors.

Closely associated with inherently governmental functions - An activity so integrally related to an inherently governmental function that it may be in the public interest for the activity to be performed by a federal employee. FAR Subpart 7.503(d).

Commercial function - A recurring federal service that could be performed by a contractor employee because it is not so intimately related to the public interest as to mandate performance by a federal employee. One of the designations used in FAIR Act inventories.

Commission on Wartime Contracting - An independent, bipartisan legislative commission established to study wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The CWC’s final report was issued in August 2011.

COMPARE - The A-76 costing software that allows a comparison of federal employee and contractor bids.

Contractor - An entity that provides goods to or performs services for a federal agency in accordance with a contract.

Cost estimating - Use of various analytical techniques to estimate the prospective cost or price of goods or services.

Cost overrun - Funds expended by an agency for goods or services in excess of the cost or price stated in the originally executed contract, task order, or delivery order.

Cost-plus contract - A contract under which the government reimburses the contractor for allowable costs incurred in providing goods or services. These contracts generally include a fee paid to the contractor in addition to reimbursement of costs. FAR Subpart 16.3.

Current Population Survey - A monthly survey of households conducted by the Bureau of Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It provides data on the labor force, employment, unemployment, persons not in the labor force, hours of work, earnings, and other demographic and labor force characteristics.

Direct conversion - When the federal government outsources government jobs without competition and cost comparisons. DoD is currently prohibited from making such conversions.

Estimated or projected cost savings - The amount of money the government expects to save when comparing government employee full compensation with contractor billing rates for the performance of services.

FedScope - An OPM dataset of federal salary information for all federal employees.

Federal Acquisition Regulation - The government-wide regulation governing federal contracts. The FAR is codified at 48 CFR Chapter 1, which sets forth the policies and procedures used in awarding and administering federal government contracts.

Federal agency - A department of the executive branch of the U.S. government, a sub-unit of a federal department, or an independent entity created by Congress.

Federal workforce - As used in this report, the totality of federal civilian and contractor employees who perform federal government functions. It does not include military personnel, Postal Service employees, or government grantees who also provide services for the government.

Full compensation - Compensation paid to government or private sector employees that includes salary plus a full fringe benefit package, based upon OPM and BLS data respectively.

Full-Time Equivalent - The standard for measuring the time a full time employee is required to be employed during one calendar year. As defined by the federal government, one FTE equals 40 hours per week at 52 weeks per year, or 2080 hours.

Inherently governmental function - A function that is so intimately related to the public interest as to mandate performance by federal employees. It includes activities that require either the exercise of discretion in applying government authority, or the making of value judgments in making decisions for the government. FAR Subparts 2.101 and 7.503(c). See also OMB Circular A-76, Attachment A, which defines inherently governmental functions as, “activities require the exercise of substantial discretion in applying government authority and/or in making decisions for the government.”

Insourcing - Transferring performance of government service functions from the contractor workforce to the federal employee workforce.

Logistics Civil Augmentation Program - LOGCAP is an Army Materiel Command program providing support from civilian contractors for military troops operating in wartime and in other contingency situations. Contractors provide laundry, food, maintenance, engineering, construction, medical, and management services. LOGCAP III was competitively awarded in 2001 to Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR). LOGCAP IV was awarded in 2007 to KBR, DynCorp International LLC, and Fluor Intercontinental Inc.

National Compensation Survey - A comprehensive survey of businesses, conducted and analyzed by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, that generates data on private sector occupational wages, employment cost trends, and employee benefits.

Occupational Employment Statistics - A program of the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics that produces employment and wage estimates for job occupations. These estimates include the number of people employed in certain occupations by federal, state, and local government agencies and in the private sector, as well as estimates of the wages and benefits paid to them.

Outsourcing - Transferring performance of government service functions from the federal employee workforce to the contractor workforce (also known as “competitive sourcing” or “conversion”), or hiring contractors to perform work not already performed by federal employees (also known as “direct conversion”).

Overhead costs - All costs of doing business except for direct labor, direct materials, and other direct expenses. As used in this report, given that work is performed on government sites, some examples of pertinent expenses might include accounting fees, advertising, insurance, legal fees, and taxes. OMB Circular A-76 outlines numerous costs, including a 12 percent overhead rate, that must be added to federal employees’ full compensation labor costs in order to accurately compare the total cost to the government when making public/private cost comparisons.

Public-private competition - The process where federal employees and contractors submit competing bids to perform government service functions. This competition is also known as an A-76 competition or the competitive sourcing initiative.

Privatization - The total transfer of a federal business or administrative function, including the responsibility for the affected services, to the private sector.

Shadow government - The workforce of contractor employees who perform federal government services.

Special interest functions - Functions that require increased management attention due to heightened risk of workforce imbalance.

Special Item Number - The General Services Administration’s categorization method that groups together similar goods and services to aid in the acquisition process.

Standard Occupational Classification system - A federal job coding and classification system created by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. All workers are classified into one of 840 detailed occupations according to their occupational definition.

Task order - An order for services placed against an established contract or with government sources. FAR Subpart 16.5.

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