Several items being considered in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 aim to increase information sharing within intelligence agencies. While the bill makes its way through the various Congressional committees, the House and the Senate, these items give a sense of some of the things that Congress considers important.
The first item is similar to an existing bill that has not been brought to the floor of either chamber, the Interagency Personnel Rotation Act of 2011. The intent of the item is to improve the flexibility of the Federal Government to move select subject matter experts from agency to agency within the security community. The ability to rotate between agencies would allow outside expertise to be brought into missions and tasks that would otherwise lack that informed input.
The items creates a board within OMB to define "national security interagency communities of interest", spanning agencies, and identify positions in multiple agencies belonging within a given community. Those personnel could then rotate between agencies, or even be requisitioned by an agency in the community. The personnel rotation plan is just one idea the intelligence community has presented to increase retentionin an increasingly mobile workforce. Last year the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) announced that it would be creating an entry-exit program that would allow employees – especially those in high demand fields – to enter and exit government service more easily.
A second item in the NDAA 2013 clearly demonstrates the frustration that Congress feels due to the lack of progress in most of DoD over development of a contractor inventory. In 2008, Congress mandated that the DoD and its component services create an inventory of contracts for services. The intent was to have those numbers appear as a component of the total force, and to improve oversight of those contracts and contractors.
The Army has been doing this since 2002. Its inventory is the model for others within DoD. The House Armed Services Committee takes the matter seriously enough that it has included substantial budget penalties for the Navy, Air Force and the Office of the Secretary for failure to demonstrate progress in the matter.
Allowing rotation is expected to increase to skillsets among national security personnel as well as increase retention, an area where the federal government struggles, particularly in highly-skilled intelligence areas.
Charles Simmins brings thirty years of accounting and management experience to his coverage of the news. An upstate New Yorker, he is a free lance journalist, former volunteer firefighter and EMT, and is owned by a wife and four cats.