Thousands of defense projects up for bid

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Washington--Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Sean O'Keefe said the Department of Defense is sticking with a plan instituted prior to the Sept. 11 attacks to accept competitive bids on hundreds of projects involving tens of thousands of workers, according a report published in the trade publication Government Executive.Union officials and civil service experts have argued against the competitive bid process at the Department of Defense and other agencies, saying federal employees have shown their mettle during the crisis. Those experts have expressed doubt whether public-sector employees could be as effective in time of crisis. O'Keefe said competitive bidding, strategic sourcing and recruitment of highly qualified purchasing executives remain top priorities at the OMB. The Bush administration directed prior to Sept. 11 that federal agencies outsource 5% of all commercial class federal jobs by Oct. 2.Brookings Institute scholar Paul Light has called on the federal government to suspend the competitive bid process and instead concentrate on immediately fixing management problems at such agencies as the Federal Aviation Administration.

--John Evan Frook

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