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Sourcing Decisions for Air Force Support Services: Current and Historical Patterns

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The Air Force is currently seeking opportunities to expand outsourcing of support activities to enhance military readiness or quality of life and/or reduce costs. Toward that end, this briefing analyzes how and where contractors are currently used at Air Force installations. The briefing finds there is great heterogeneity in the current use of contractors at Air Force installations, both across and within commands and functions. This heterogeneity suggests that those seeking to use contractors should be able to draw useful lessons from installations that currently use contractors extensively. This briefing also examines the recent history of the Air Force's cost comparisons and direct conversions under the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-76. Analysis of this history suggests that A-76 cost comparisons have been particularly prone to cancellation and delay. This result provides a note of caution as the Air Force embarks on an augmented program of A-76 cost comparisons and direct conversions.