I did a quick post yesterday on Sen. George Voinovich’s hold on Rafael Borras, announced at yesterday’s DHS management hearing in the Senate Homeland Security committee.
One other colloquy from that hearing worth mentioning: Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., got into a discussion with Elaine Duke, the current undersecretary for management, about how many contractors work at DHS. McCaskill has been trying to get a hard number for years; the department finally sent her a spreadsheet last month, which lists 10,520 contractors in the Washington area. But it turns out even that figure might not be accurate. Here’s Duke:
The figures are based on algorithms… so they’re as accurate as we can get under the current conditions. There was an attempt about six years ago to start counting contractors… it was put out in the Federal Register as a public notice. The comment from industry was so strong that the notice was withdrawn, and the federal government did not go forward with that policy… we’re looking at that again, how should we be counting contractors, how should we be accountable.
Contractors say they’re being hired to provide a service, and it shouldn’t matter how many subcontractors they use to deliver a service; what’s more, they claim that’s privileged information. But it seems senators, particularly McCaskill, are going to push DHS to come up with an exact figure next year.