Competitive Sourcing Policy: More Sail than Rudder

36 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2004 Last revised: 29 May 2012

See all articles by Steven L. Schooner

Steven L. Schooner

George Washington University - Law School

Date Written: May 29, 2012


This essay predicts that the Bush administration's competitive sourcing initiative will fail. Granted, the number of government employees will continue to shrink, while the number of contractor personnel serving the Government will methodically increase. But the Government's unwillingness to appreciate the policy's costs leads to the corresponding failure to identify, obtain, and invest appropriate resources needed to properly effectuate the policy. The Government simply lacks sufficient qualified acquisition, contract management, and quality control personnel to handle the outsourcing burden. Because the Government is ill-positioned to successfully out-source in a manner that generates higher quality services, lower prices, greater efficiency, or, ultimately, better government, an aggressive outsourcing policy will further expose long-standing problems in service contracting, including poor planning, inadequately defined requirements, insufficient price evaluation, and lax oversight of contractor performance. All of which lead to disquieting expectations for the Government's future.

Keywords: public procurement, outsourcing, privatization, government contract law

JEL Classification: L33, H57, K23, H42

Suggested Citation

Schooner, Steven L., Competitive Sourcing Policy: More Sail than Rudder (May 29, 2012). Public Contract Law Journal, Vol. 33, p. 263-297, 2004; GWU Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 86; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 86. Available at SSRN:

Steven L. Schooner (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-3037 (Phone)
202-994-5614 (Fax)


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