The Office of Federal Procurement Policy has made its final recommendation for what should be categorized as inherently governmental and critical positions, in the ongoing effort to identify what government positions should be outsourced or insourced.

The policy letter, which establishes new policies to be implemented October 12, makes eight changes to how agencies previously categorized inherently government functions. It expands and clarifies what jobs should be performed by federal officials including:

  • All combat
  • Security operations in certain situations connected with combat or potential combat
  • Determination of an offer’s price reasonableness
  • Final determinations about a contractor’s performance, including improving award fee determinations or past performance evaluations
  • Selection of grant and cooperative agreement recipients

The new list of inherently governmental positions is about 90 to 95 percent the same as the previous one in the Federal Acquisition Regulations, said Dan Gordon, OFPP administrator.

“The final version does clarify the inherently governmental status of several particular functions where there has been a lot of confusion and sometimes controversy about the role of contractors,” he said. “In particular… what you will see there is our saying that when you are talking about security operations that are either part of combat or likely to evolve into combat, you cannot be using contractors.”

Agencies will be provided a list of comprehensive responsibilities for functions closely associated with inherently governmental functions to use when deciding how to classify the functions. The OFPP wants agencies to define what are critical and “closely associated” functions and assess whether they are overly dependent on contractors in these areas. While this assessment was already required, the policy letter calls for government agencies to continue to pay attention to these functions.

Agencies that seek to bring previously contracted functions to large and small businesses back must use the “rule of two”. This rule requires that acquisitions be awarded to small businesses, “if there are two or more responsible small businesses capable of performing the work at fair market prices,” the letter states.

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Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO,, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine,, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.