Secrecy News

Congressional Oversight is Intensifying, ODNI Says

“Intelligence community contracting and procurement activities are receiving increasing scrutiny from Congress,” an official of the Office of Director of National Intelligence told a meeting of industry officials last month.

“Congressional oversight is intensifying,” said Daniel C. Nielsen (pdf), ODNI Deputy Procurement Executive.

Among other things, “Senior congressional leaders favor increased IC procurement data reporting,” he said.

He cited a 2006 proposal by Rep. Henry Waxman to require providing to Congress “the same information for classified contracts that is required for unclassified contracts.”

Although intelligence-related procurement programs run into the tens of billions of dollars annually, they have never been subject to accountability and reporting requirements comparable to those for unclassified acquisition. This is expected to change, Mr. Nielsen indicated.

See “Intelligence Community Procurement Metrics: Needs, Goals and Approach” by Daniel C. Nielsen, ODNI, presented May 16, 2007.

Baseline acquisition data-collection requirements were set forth last year in an Intelligence Community Directive (ICD), which stated that “all … major system acquisitions shall have a [program management plan] that includes cost, schedule, and performance goals, as well as program milestone criteria.”

See ICD 105, “Acquisition” (pdf), Director of National Intelligence, August 15, 2006.

“Acting under pressure from Congress, the CIA has decided to trim its contractor staffing by 10 percent,” reported Walter Pincus and Stephen Barr in the Washington Post today.

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