|Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 18:05:53 -0500 (CDT)
From: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Subject: ODNI Transcript: Conference Call on the Results of the Fiscal Year
2007 U.S. Intelligence Community Inventory of Core Contractor Personnel
Conference Call with Dr. Ronald Sanders
Associate Director of National Intelligence for Human Capital
Results of the Fiscal Year 2007 U.S. Intelligence Community
Inventory of Core Contractor Personnel
August 27, 2008
DR. RONALD SANDERS: Good afternoon, everybody. And I ll look
forward to hearing from you when we get to the question and answer part of
the discussion. Let me tell you first why we re here and why we care
about this topic, secondly who and what we re talking about, third a very
brief historical context. Some of you were part of this press briefing
last year, so that would be a bit repetitive. And then lastly, I m
prepared to give you some figures. Then we ll open it up for questions
and see where that takes us.
First, we are here to talk about the fiscal 2007 results of the intelligence
community s inventory of core contract personnel. And let me emphasize
here, these are core contract personnel funded by the national intelligence
program. As you may know, this is the second year of that inventory.
We began this effort in fiscal 2006 for a variety of reasons: congressional
concern, ODNI concern, a desire to get a handle on the role of contractors,
and the extent of contracting in the intelligence community.
Contractors are an important part of the intelligence community. They
are a key component of our total force. We define that total force
as military, civilian, and core contract personnel. Those core contract
personnel are a subset of the larger body of contractors that do various
things for the intelligence community everything from serving food in our
cafeterias to building satellites and computers. These are a subset.
And I ll talk a little bit more about that in a second.
The reason they re so important to us is because they provide flexibility,
responsiveness, and in many cases very unique expertise in support of the
intelligence mission. But, they do need to be subject to appropriate
accountability and oversight. And we ll talk about what the Office
of the Director of National Intelligence has done in that regard as we go
through the session this afternoon.
Let me now talk about the definition. It is probably easier to define
what these people are not. And one of our difficulties even in our
second year is getting clarity around this definition. There is no
single contract vehicle that characterizes core contract personnel.
They come in a variety of flavors, literally, from indefinite quantity contracts
to other things. And so we ve literally had to back into this definition.
As I suggested earlier, these are not what we ve called commodity
contractors. They do not build things and deliver them to the IC
satellites, computers, other things that are simply represented by our
requirement for a particular product and their delivery of that product.
Secondly, they don t provide what are commonly called commercial services
anything ranging from food services, guard services, and the like.
These are contract personnel that actually augment our intelligence staffs
the military and civilian members of the intelligence community.
One of the myths we hope to dispel in this afternoon s conversation is that
these core contract personnel, as I suggested, are a subset of the larger
expenditures that the IC makes that don t go to the direct labor our workforce
in the intelligence community. We buy power. We buy heat.
We pay rent. All of those things go into there are things other than
direct labor. And for example, the figure of 70 percent has been tossed
about that the intelligence community is 70 percent outsourced. I m
here to tell you that that 70 percent includes some of those things that
I ve just described heat, power, when you are buying computers, et cetera.
And we are talking about a subset of that 70 percent that perform various
core functions for the intelligence community.
As I suggested earlier, these contract personnel in this capacity have been
critical to our mission. The intelligence community went through a
period of fairly substantial downsizing in the 90s. We bottomed out
on September 11th or thereabouts. And on September 12th, as our operating
tempo increased dramatically and demands on our personnel increased dramatically,
contractors in this capacity operated more or less like the intelligence
community s reserves. We were able to expand very, very quickly by
using contract personnel. In many cases, these personnel were former
intelligence community employees. They were able to come in quickly
and perform the mission even as we were busy recovering the IC s military
and civilian workforce.
As you may know, we have been hiring a great deal since September 11, 2001,
in part to fill in some of the gaps that were created during the downsizing
of the 90s. We ve just about recovered. But as many of you may
know, it takes a fair amount of time to take a raw recruit off the street
and develop him or her into a seasoned intelligence professional an analyst,
a case officer, et cetera. And in the meantime, we ve had to use contract
personnel to augment our U.S. government military and civilian personnel
in order to perform the mission.
At the end of the day, we consider these contract personnel part of our total
force; and one of the reasons we re looking at them so closely is to get
a handle on our total capabilities to deal with any particular intelligence
issue or challenge. If we re faced with a particular challenge, it
doesn t matter to us whether we address that challenge with military personnel,
civilian personnel, or contract personnel. The important part is to
address the challenge. But in order to do that, we need to understand
what our core capabilities are among those three components of our total
force. So that s one of the purposes of this inventory.
Let me give you some figures and then we ll open it up for questions.
The fiscal 2007 results again to underscore, these are for the national
intelligence program only. There is a military intelligence program,
an appropriation that funds contract personnel as well. We ve only
begun to look at those. This is the national intelligence program.
And that is the appropriation controlled by the director of national
Let me first give you figures by function. And these are
percentages. As I suggested last year, I can t give you exact
figures. I can give you percentages, so that you can get a sense of
the relative contribution of contractors. In terms of the functions
they support, 27 percent of those contract personnel support collection and
operations; 22 percent support enterprise information and technology, literally
helping us run our computer systems, keeping them up to date, information
security, et cetera; 19 percent support analysis and production; 19 percent
support what we call enterprise management and support those are basically
the administrative functions, processing travel vouchers, processing personnel
actions, those support functions, backroom functions that enable the IC s
mission; 4 percent support something called mission management, basically
a coordinating function; and the rest support processing, exploitation, and
research and development activities. If you d like, I can go into some
of the specific things they do for some of our agencies again, not exact
figures, but more some of the functions they perform.
One of the things we asked our agencies to support is the reason they use
contractors in a particular case. We established a taxonomy and we
asked them to report that. Here again, I ll share percentages with
Our agencies reported that of the total number of contract personnel, core
contract personnel supporting the intelligence community, 56 percent of that
total provided unique expertise, whether it was scientific and engineering
expertise, foreign language, regional and cultural expertise, et cetera.
This is expertise that we did not have resident within the intelligence community
amongst our military and civilian personnel, or it s so scarce or rare that
we literally had to go out and find it and use and acquire it through
contracts. In some cases, these are individual contracts. In
other cases, these are contracts with companies. But again, in order
56 percent, far and away, the most reported use of contract personnel is
to provide unique expertise to IC missions and functions.
Eleven percent of that total involved work that had we had additional budget,
we would have hired U .S. government civilians to perform that work.
I d like to point out here that Congress has been very helpful in this
regard. Of course, they ve seen this report. They ve also seen
the classified parts of this report. And one of the things we were
able to demonstrate to them is that there is work being done by contract
personnel in the IC today that we would prefer be done by U.S. government
civilians, but for limitations on the number of civilians we can employ or
our payroll budgets, et cetera.
Congress in the fiscal 08 authorization bill (phone rings) even though that
bill has been vetoed somebody going to get that; I apologize for the interruption
even though that bill was vetoed, Congress in that bill provided flexibility
to exceed our employment ceilings in order to convert contract positions
to civilian positions. Now, as I said, that bill never become law.
But we have been exercising that flexibility.
Let me just note here that the figures I m sharing with you and some that
we ll get into later don t really reflect that change. Again, that
was a change in the fiscal 08 authorization. The figures I ve given
you are for fiscal 2007. So there is a lag here from a change in law
or a change in policy to its actual effects in our agencies and elements.
But I want to publicly express our appreciation to Congress to giving us
that flexibility. This will allow us now to optimize the balance between
military and civilian personnel on one hand and contract personnel on the
About 10 percent of the contract personnel are engaged in IC work because
it s simply more cost-effective to use them. About 8 percent are engaged
in IC work because of funding uncertainties. For example, year-to-year
emergency supplementals that fund, among other things, the global war on
terror, those funds are from year to year. And so, we are reluctant
to begin hiring permanent civilian employees against those supplemental funds
literally for fear that they go away and we have to lay off those
civilians. So because of funding uncertainties, 8 percent of our contract
personnel are brought on board in order to as a result.
About 5 percent of our contract personnel are on board because of surge
requirements, another 3 percent because of non-recurring projects.
Let me distinguish between the two. What we did after 9/11, we d
characterize as our surge, with contract personnel serving as our
reserves. We had to ramp up very quickly. And while we were busy
hiring civilians and training them and developing them and eventually deploying
them, we needed contract personnel to fill in the gaps.
Only 5 percent of our contract personnel are characterized as surge, in part
because we have now begun to completely recover our workforce. We have
begun to replenish our ranks. And so the contractors that we brought
on board in 2001 and 2002 are being shifted to more support operations or
in some cases let go altogether, which is again one of the advantages of
using contract personnel in circumstances like this. So 5 percent for
surge; 3 percent for non-recurring projects. And that s work that we
know up front has a very specific and definite duration.
So these are projects that may be the design and development of a building
before we occupy it or something else. But very clear we know when
the beginning is; we know when the end is. In those circumstances,
again, you don t want to hire U.S. government civilian employees for that
temporary work. You bring in a contractor. And when the work
is done, you let the contractor go. So surge is probably more
long-term. And even there, I think we re reaching the end of our
surge. Temporary and non-recurring projects, we ll always have a certain
amount of that in the intelligence community. And the remainder go
to such things as knowledge transfer, et cetera.
So those are let me also give you a sense of where the contractors are
located. These particular contract personnel, 73 percent, are literally
on our premises; 27 percent are off-premises. That means they re working
in a building owned and operated by their contract employer. But the
vast majority are literally in our midst. They are in buildings collocated
with U.S. government military and civilian personnel. Ninety-five percent
of them are in the continental United States. And of that, 81 percent
are in the greater Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area, so mostly a local
phenomenon if you define local as that greater Washington-Baltimore metropolitan
That concludes my remarks and I would be happy to take questions from the
folks on the line.
Q: Hi, I am Pam Hess with the AP. I ve got actually a bunch of
questions that have to do with the data. Can you tell us what percentage
of your total workforce, which you all have publicly estimated at around
100,000 is contractors? I understand the numbers that you ve given
us are how that pool of contractors breaks down between function. But
I don t have a sense of how large the contracting pool is versus the civilian
DR. SANDERS: I m sorry. I was interrupted there for a second.
I m going to have to break in about 20 minutes. But I ll come back
on the line. I ve got to take an important call. But I ll come
back if you all don t mind holding and we re still talking. I can this
year give you a sense of the percentage of contract personnel as part of
our total workforce. You ve given the figure that s been quoted around
100,000. Let me make sure you understand that s around 100,000 U.S.
government military and civilian personnel, funded by the national intelligence
When you consider our total workforce military, civilian, and contract contract
personnel represent 27 percent of that total workforce.
Q: And that s is that 27 percent above the 100,000 or 27 percent of
DR. SANDERS: No, it s above 100,000, so don t get
Q: I m trying is it 27 so if I were to back of the envelope, are there
roughly 27,000 contractors, or is this above roughly 27,000 contractors versus
73,000 military, civilian
DR. SANDERS: Let me walk you through this. And you ve reached
the limits of my mathematical expertise, so bear with me. Again, I
m not going to give you raw numbers. You ve got the around 100,000
figure. That s the best you re going to get from me this afternoon.
That 100,000 is military and civilian U.S. government personnel. So
the figure that we arrived at the 27 percent by adding together military
personnel, U.S. government civilian personnel, and contract personnel full-time
equivalents. That s the denominator of this equation. The numerator
is the number of contract full-time equivalents.
Q: Okay, you just confused me more.
DR. SANDERS: So if you divide the number of contract personnel full-time
equivalents by the total military, civilian, and contract personnel, you
get 27 percent.
Q: Okay. Here s what I m still unclear on: When you re
talking about around a hundred thousand, I just need to explain this very
simply to readers. Is 27 percent of that around a hundred thousand
contractors or is the 27 percent on top of that around a hundred thousand?
DR. SANDERS: It is not 27 percent of the hundred thousand.
Q: It s on top of.
DR. SANDERS: It s on top of. It s 27 percent of the combined
total of military and civilian, which is around a hundred thousand and the
contract personnel added in. That s the size of our total workforce
and the 27 percent represents the contract personnel contribution to that.
Q: Okay, do you have a breakdown of this the contracting pool, how
many of them are individual contractors and how many of them are working
for a company?
DR. SANDERS: No, I don t. One of the methodological challenges
here has been to figure out how we actually count this. And we re trying
to get as close to an apples-to-apples comparison between our military and
civilian personnel on the one hand and our contract personnel on the
other. I can tell you that of there are several thousand, literally,
individual contractors. I don t have an exact figure and that number
does vary a great deal. It s probably worth addressing that for a moment.
We do bring on board, particularly for unique expertise, individuals who
are former intelligence community employees, In most cases, we would
prefer to bring them back as U.S. government employees, but there are a couple
of constraints to that that we hope will eventually be eliminated.
As you may know, if you bring back a retired civil servant, that civil servant
has to give up some of his or her salary, an amount equivalent to his or
So, in many cases, if you brought them back as a government employee, they
d be working for free. As patriotic as our folks are, they re not likely
willing to come back to work for free. Now, Congress in the Intelligence
Reform Act gave us, gave the Director of National Intelligence, the authority
to wave that offset so that we can bring them back, let them collect their
full pension, and pay them a salary.
So that s in place. That s something called the National Intelligence
Reserve Corps. We established that in the summer of 2006. That
does allow us to bring back retirees without any financial penalty to
them. There is another constraint and, here again, I want to publicly
express our appreciation to Congress for this even if we brought them back
as government employees, without that penalty, they would still count against
our employment ceilings. Bringing them back as an independent contractor,
they do not count against our employment ceiling.
Q: Isn t the employment ceiling only at DNI?
DR. SANDERS: No. Let me get a bit technical here: Our
employment ceilings are established in our authorization bills. We
ve not had an authorization bill for now three years, but we ve respected
the limits that Congress has put on us and those limits have cut across the
entire intelligence community, the entire national intelligence program.
Now, one of the things Congress did in the 08 authorization bill again, it
didn t become law, but we re still going to exercise the flexibility they
provided for us they have accepted they no longer will require us to count
re-employed retirees against our employment ceilings.
Q: Okay. And I have
DR. SANDERS: So where before we had every there were just a lot of
incentives to bring back people as independent contractors: they didn t suffer
a penalty; they didn t count against our employment ceilings. Now they
don t suffer a penalty; and with the 08 authorization, vetoed, but still,
with the 08 authorization, they won t count against our employment
ceilings. So my bet is that that number of independent individual
contractors will begin to go down as we can now exercise that full flexibility.
Q: In the human capital report in 2006, DNI mentioned that the intel
community workforce had expanded by about 20 percent since 9/11; it had
recovered. I guess that was the goal. Does that 20 percent include
the additional contractors that you talked about at the beginning of this
or is that 20 percent within that denominator?
DR. SANDERS: It is only the U.S. government civilian component.
I m not sure where the 20 percent comes from, but I believe, in that context,
it s only the U.S. government s civilian component.
Q: Okay, I think I have one more (chuckles) and then I ll let my colleagues
get a word in edgewise: Do you have a goal set to reduce the reliance
on intelligence contracting or increase it or
DR. SANDERS: No, I think our goal is to first understand it and then,
second, to manage it, to optimize it. And that will vary by agency
and it will vary by function; and, frankly, it will vary over time.
Let me sort of reverse that equation. We do want to understand what
our core military and civilian employment requirements are. We call
that our base workforce. The nature of contractors is such that you
do have a great deal more flexibility. You can expand and contract
far more readily using contract personnel. So in any given day, week,
month, or year, that number may go up or down. Our objective is to
stabilize our military and civilian workforce and then use contractors as
appropriate to deal with temporary work surge, unique expertise, et cetera.
I will tell you that one of the things that we ve led in the Office of the
Director of National Intelligence is far more disciplined and sophisticated
workforce planning. Our agencies now all have very rigorous, extensive
civilian workforce plans. We are incorporating military personnel
requirements into those plans and, eventually, we ll do more than just report
contract personnel; we ll establish a doctrine for their use and then we
ll ask our agencies to begin managing them in a more deliberate (inaudible)
as you ve suggested.
Q: And I lied; I have one more question. Have you tabulated one
of the limits that Congress is seeking to put on you is a limitation on using
contractors in interrogations and in some detention operations. How
crippling will that be to those operations? How much do you depend
on them for that work?
DR. SANDERS: I m not going to get into particular pieces of legislation,
especially while it s pending. I can tell you that we have various
policies and laws governing the involvement of contract personnel in the
interrogation process and they vary literally by agency. So I would
refer you to our individual agencies for that specific question. They
re in a far better position than I am to respond.
Q: And I lied again: Congress said 125,000 per government employee
is the average cost; 250,000 is the average cost of the contractor.
How do those numbers track with yours?
DR. SANDERS: We ve actually gotten a little more precise in that regard
and, again, one of our challenges is to try to make an apples-to-apples
comparison. On the civilian side, the 125,000 is consistent with our
best guess. That s salary, benefits, as well as full lifecycle costs;
it is pension costs and health benefits into retirement, et cetera.
So 125,000 is a good figure.
This year, as a result of the second iteration of our contractor report,
we ve been able to I think become more precise in our per-capita cost per
contractor, contract personnel FTE. And we re now estimating it s about
207,000. So it s still higher than a U.S. government civilian.
And as best we can calculate it, that 207,000 is direct labor, does not include
overhead, When you start trying to figure where overhead plays on the
contract side as well as on the U.S. government side, it gets really, really
So we ve tried to narrow this down so that it s a the direct labor, salary,
and benefit costs of U.S. government civilian versus those as best we can
calculate them for a contract personnel, contract person, at least the full-time
equivalent. We ve literally had to do the latter contract by contract;
but the overall aggregate average is now about 207,000. And we have
provided that figure to Congress.
OPERATOR: Thank you, sir. Our next question comes from Siobhan
Q: Hi, thank you. Just a couple of questions to get at the trends
here: The 27-percent number that you were talking about before, I assume
that that is for the core contractors that you were talking about because
you also suggested in your opening comments that the 70-percent number is
accurate, but very broad, including things like electricity and food services
and things like that.
DR. SANDERS: That s right. That 70 percent, for example, if you
use the analogy of your household budget, I doubt whether you consider, whether
you think you re outsourcing electric power when you pay your electric
bill. But when we pay our electric bill, it s in that 70 percent.
So the 27 percent is a subset of that. Is that clear?
Q: Yeah. And that s the core contractors that you re talking
about in the report. In terms of the numbers, are you seeing a trend
of increasing or decreasing use of contractors when you look at the total
DR. SANDERS: From 2006 to 2007, that number was virtually unchanged.
We declined a little bit, but in the middle-double digits. And that
s probably within the margin of error. So it s essentially a flat line
from 06 to 07. But I will tell you that some of the flexibility the
Congress has given us and some of the specific initiatives that some of our
agencies have undertaken and in this case, I ll point as a potential benchmark,
the Central Intelligence Agency General Hayden has specifically said it is
now time, since we have replenished our core workforce, to begin shifting
contract support out of intelligence analysis and collection and either into
back-room support functions or out all together.
Those aren t reflected in the 07 figures because most of this has been occurring
in calendar, in fiscal 2008. And the flexibilities that we got to literally
civilian-ize those contract positions are in the 08 authorization.
So I would expect a re-balancing. I can t promise that they ll decline
because something may happen tomorrow that will require a surge or a unique
set of skills. But I can tell you that now that we have the tools,
we have the inventory, we have the oversight in place and the planning process
in place, we re going to be able to optimize and strike the right balance
on a forward-going basis.
Q: And are you are you also looking at how many contractors are doing
what is known as inherently governmental functions? I assume that s
something a little bit different from these core contractors.
DR. SANDERS: That s an easy question to answer. There are no
contract personnel doing inherently governmental functions, but there s a
technical nuance here. The definition of inherently governmental, the
very precise, technical definition, is in the Office of Management and Budget
circular number A-76 876. It is not the layperson s definition.
Most people, if you ask them what they believe is inherently governmental,
they would tick off functions that are far broader than that very narrow
definition. So we are in strict compliance with that definition but,
again, I want to emphasize, it s very narrow. It basically says the
only things that are inherently governmental are some of the key decisions
that are made with regard to resources and contracts and personnel.
But some of the other things we ve talked about, like core mission functions
analysis and collection the layperson may say those are inherently governmental;
but by the strict reading of the A-76 876 definition, they are not.
Q: Is there an effort to reduce the number of people who are performing
the types of functions that other wise you would have government employees
doing if, for example, the budget were to allow it? I mean, it s just
it s come up. Congressional officials have said that oftentimes they
ve expressed a concern that they re sort of I think in the broader sense
of inherently governmental functions, they feel that there are contractors
doing that kind of work. So I just didn t know if you were categorizing
that or examining that as a broader issue as opposed to the OMB definition,
which I understand as you re describing.
DR. SANDERS: Let me characterize that so I don t get in trouble with
my lawyers. Again, we don t do any we don t contract out any inherently
governmental work. We do have contract personnel doing core mission
functions, that literally an agency s configuration in that regard varies
agency by agency. It depends on the stability of their budget and mission
demands, et cetera, where they are in their workforce recovery, all sorts
of variables. I think our objective is not necessarily to reduce the
number in core mission functions, but, at the very least, we need to be able
to explain that number.
We ought to be able to go to Congress and say, here s how many U.S. government
military and civilian personnel we need in analysis or collection or research
and development. And we ll meet our surge temporary unique-expertise
requirement with contract personnel. So I think I hope that that will
begin to satisfy Congress, that at least we can explain the rationale behind
the mix without necessarily setting predetermined targets or quotas to have
so many of this or so many of that.
Q: Thank you.
DR. SANDERS: And let me apologize. Let me go make my call.
If you all don t mind holding, I ll come back in about five minutes.
Is that okay? I m going to assume okay.
DR. SANDERS: All right, everybody, I m back.
OPERATOR: Sir, you may proceed.
DR. SANDERS: Okay. I m ready for the next question.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Pam Benson.
DR. SANDERS: Hi, Pam.
Q: I was just wondering this issue of hiring back people, people leaving
and then, you know, returning as contractors, have you looked into that aspect
and are you seeing any increase in that or how much of an issue that is then?
DR. SANDERS: In terms of competing with our contractors for our own
personnel, I can tell you that we are not repeat, not hemorrhaging talent
to our contractors, especially as we ve been able to acquire some of the
tools I ve described to you. So, for example, if you re a retiring
intelligence officer, you now have the option of coming back as a reemployed
retiree where before you really your only choice, unless you wanted to work
for free, was to go to work for a contractor.
But we are not hemorrhaging talent either at the senior levels or in our
mid-career levels. We are losing talent from time to time, individuals;
and of course that happens. Frankly, we are becoming increasingly
successful in hiring contract personnel to become U.S. government
civilians. I can tell you I have hired two myself in the last six or
We want to just make sure that the playing field is level, and we want to
get a handle on the extent of that movement, if there is any. And I
do think now that we do have a handle on it. I will refer you to specific
agencies for specific initiatives. Here again I ll point to the Central
Intelligence Agency as a benchmark. General Hayden has specifically
announced what he calls a quote, Go Blue program, which refers to bringing
contract personnel into the intelligence community giving them the blue badge
that signifies that they re a U.S. government civilian.
So again, we re not hemorrhaging talent. We lose people from time to
time. We do gain people back from time to time, and I would not
characterize this as a major concern at this point.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Ben Bain.
Q: Yeah, hi. Thanks. I was wondering if you had any you mentioned
before the different percentages by functions of a 27 percent. I was
wondering if you had any idea of the percentage of contractors who would
be considered doing managerial roles versus those that might be doing
non-managerial roles in those different functions. I wonder if you
had broken it down like that?
DR. SANDERS: No, we haven t. I can tell you that it s a that
is one of the inherently governmental functions, to manage contract
personnel. On the other hand, there s most assuredly units that are
comprised entirely of contract personnel that have their own managers.
So I m sure there s some of that in there, but I just don t have a breakdown.
Q: Okay, and just one more question. In terms of getting these
baselines you know, mention you can understand kind of where you re at and
go from there do you have any idea how many more years you might want to
gather information to come up with that baseline? Are these two years
sufficient or do you need to kind of do another one?
DR. SANDERS: No, in fact, we re going to make this a permanent reporting
requirement. We have a directive in draft, and because it s in draft
I can t share all of the details with you. But that directive will
make this a permanent reporting requirement. We need to manage this
year in and year out. We need to build it into our budget. We
need to plan for it over the long term. Again, in part, this begins
with identifying our military and civilian requirements with the notion that
where necessary, we d use contract personnel to augment them. But,
no, this isn t going to go away. This is while we have two data points,
this is going to be a continuing requirement on into the future.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Max Cacas.
And as a reminder, anyone wishing to ask a question, it is *1.
Q: Hi. This is Max. Hi, Dr. Sanders. How are you?
DR. SANDERS: Good, how are you doing?
Q: Good, fine. I m kind of wondering. I m trying to put
this report that you released today in some context. And I know that the
Congressional Budget Office Study was recently done regarding the number
of contractor personnel versus the number of military personnel in Iraq isn
t on point with this. But if you were to make the same comparison and
I know you ve probably touched on this already, but I m kind of looking for
a neat sort of succinct way to make the same comparison when it comes to
the ratio of contractor personnel to staff within ODNI as the CBO did, if
it s possible.
DR. SANDERS: I m not sure it is. Let me try this, though.
If you look at that report, I ll go back to one of the reasons contract personnel
are so important to the intelligence community. They do allow us to
expand to meet mission surge requirements, and then to literally draw down
without any adverse impact to our core workforce. If you use the Iraq
analogy with the military, if and/or when we begin to draw down our military
forces, the contract personnel who are supporting them in various capacities
will be drawn down as well.
Those military forces will not be laid off; they ll be redeployed stateside
or somewhere else. They re part of the U.S. military core
capability. Those contract personnel, though, that s the flexibility
that contract personnel afford us. They do allow us to expand and contract
as mission needs dictate. And while the mission needs in Iraq have
been over the long term, half a decade or more, the fact is, as those
requirements change, as they decline, we can adjust without adversely impacting
our core workforce.
And I think the same thing holds true for the intelligence community.
We too have to surge in part to deal with mission requirements in Iraq.
And as those mission requirements change or stabilize, we ll be able to readjust
the contract support we require in that regard. Does that help?
Q: Yes, sir. Just to kind of follow up a little bit, are you
generally satisfied that the number of contractors you have within the
intelligence community, is it a sufficient number? Do you see some
needs, maybe agency by agency? Do you see this changing appreciably
over the out years?
DR. SANDERS: I can t predict from here whether the percentage will
change appreciably. This is literally an agency-by-agency
determination. As I suggested earlier, rather than trying to predict,
we just need to be able to know and explain. The inventory help us
know, not only in the aggregate across the community but agency by agency.
And then our agencies have to explain to us and we in turn have to explain
to Congress and OMB whether we have the right mix in that total force, military,
And, again, it will vary by agency, it will vary by mission. It will
vary depending on the operating tempo of that mission and other demands on
it. So, again, without trying to predict the future, what we re trying
to do is make sure we have the data and the tools to be able to manage this
in the right way. I will tell you that based on two data points, we
do not repeat, do not believe we are over-reliant on contract personnel to
accomplish our mission.
Q: Thank you, sir.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Robert O Harrow.
Q: Hi. Thanks for having us here. I d like to know a little
bit more about the basic number. I just need to be clear before I write
my story. There s 100,000 that you mentioned that sounds like it s
a number that excludes the contractor workforce. Is that correct?
DR. SANDERS: That s correct.
Q: On top of that, there is a proportion of contractor workers that
represent 27,000 of the overall workforce that includes contractors.
Is that correct?
DR. SANDERS: No. So let me try the algebra again. The 27
percent is the answer you get when you divide the raw number of contract
personnel, expressed in full-time equivalents, by the raw number of military
personnel, civilian personnel, and contract personnel. That denominator
represents our total force. You know approximately the value of two
parts of that total force. You know that military U.S. government,
military, and civilian personnel comprise around 100,000.
There is a third raw number that I m not going to give you that when you
add that number with the 100,000, you get a total. That s a total IC
workforce. When you divide that total IC workforce by the number, the
raw number of contract personnel, you get 27 percent. Have I thoroughly
Q: Well, it seems a little bit I don t why couldn t we just simply
derive the number? If 100,000 represents the workforce that doesn t
involve the government I mean, the contractor workforce, can t you just can
t we just derive the number of contractors with that? I mean, I don
t understand why you re only giving us a percentage?
DR. SANDERS: I suppose you could. The reason I m well, first
of all, the reason I m only giving you a percentage is that the raw numbers,
the breakdown of those three components remain classified. It remains
classified the raw number of military versus the raw number of civilians.
The only thing that has been de-classified here is the, quote, around 100,000
Q: So bear with me a second I just again, just to get this right because
this is going to be news for a lot of readers, and it s information and we
want to get it right.
DR. SANDERS: Absolutely.
Q: We know that the intelligence community, including contractors is
not 100,000 plus 27 percent of the total workforce. Is that correct?
DR. SANDERS: That s right, yes.
Q: And so that doesn t get us up close to 130,000 or 100 the total
workforce? I mean, if there is a way of thinking about a way of releasing
that or giving us an around number without giving us a classified number,
that would be helpful for clarity and precision. So think about that
before the call is over. That would be great.
Secondly, that 27 percent of the total, how is that relative to 2001 and
maybe a decade ago?
DR. SANDERS: The answer to your last question is easy: We don
DR. SANDERS: This data wasn t collected before fiscal 2006. And
I can tell you that one of the very first things we set out to do when the
ODNI, when the office of the Director of National Intelligence was established,
was to try to get a handle on this. So we and it s not even clear to
me whether our agencies collected that, some of them. I can tell you
that all of them did not, or all of them in the aggregate did not.
That began only in 2006. So I can t tell you what quantitatively what
the trend line looks like.
Q: We know there s been a sharp increase both in government employees
and in contractor workforce, but we don t know the precise numbers.
DR. SANDERS: Again, let me parse that. We know you know there
s been a sharp increase in the number of U.S. government civilian employees
in the intelligence community.
Q: By about 20 percent.
DR. SANDERS: I m not sure of that figure, but it has grown
substantially. And I m not being disingenuous; I m just not sure where
the 20 percent comes from.
Q: No sweat.
DR. SANDERS: But we do know that from 06 to 07, the number of contract
personnel essentially flat-lined. There s a slight decline but within
the margin of error. So I can t tell you whether the second part of
your statement is true, whether there s been a sharp increase. I think
I ll speculate and I think this is a fairly safe speculation we know there
is a sharp increase in contract support immediately after 9/11. Again,
we just didn t have the civilian employees on board, trained, developed,
ready to deploy in order to accomplish our mission. But that trend
line is speculative. I don t have hard data. The only hard data
I have is for 06 and 07, and there it s essentially flat.
Q: Do you know how many last question here do you know how many military,
government, and civilian intelligence employees there were at the low point
in the 1990s?
DR. SANDERS: I don t off the top of my head, and I don t know whether
that s classified or not. If it s not classified, we ll provide it
Q: Very good. And what about my the very first question.
Is there any way to give an about number that doesn t violate the classification
rules and where you can tell us a rough kind of more-than number on the number
of contractors that you found?
DR. SANDERS: I don t think there is anything classified about this.
I think if I were smart enough and there was enough time, you can just do
Q: Right. Okay, very good.
DR. SANDERS: And I just don t have the algebra in front of me.
Q: It s simply 27 percent of the total workforce, and that number is
larger than 100,000.
DR. SANDERS: Yes.
Q: Okay. Thank you.
DR. SANDERS: And, you know, my son could probably do the algebra; but
his dad can t.
Q: I ll give him a call on the hotline.
DR. SANDERS: Okay.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Siobhan
Gorman. Ms. Gorman, your line is open. Ms. Gorman, please check
your mute button. Your line is open, ma am.
DR. SANDERS: I m not getting anything on this end.
OPERATOR: We are not either, sir. And that is our final
question. We re showing no further questions.
DR. SANDERS: Okay, let me if you ll permit me then, let me just
summarize. As I said at the outset, this is this is about our fiscal
2007 inventory of core contract personnel. These are personnel funded
by the National Intelligence program per pre the questioning, they comprise
27 percent of our total force; that is, 27 percent of our combined total
of military, civilian, and contract personnel. These are core contract
personnel. They support our core mission and administrative
functions. They don t build satellites or computers. They don
t serve food or guard buildings. These are in effect staff augmentees;
they are embedded. And as I indicated, literally three-quarters of
them are in government buildings working side by side with U.S. government
military and civilian personnel.
They are critical they are a critical component of that total force.
We could not have accomplished our mission post-9/11 without them.
As we surge to hire civilians, we had to at the same time perform our mission
and we had to rely on contract support in order to do much of that.
We are now in the process of optimizing the mix of military civilian and
contract personnel. I think the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence deserves some credit for conducting the inventory, working closely
with the agencies to define terms, develop a methodology. And now as
we begin to move forward, develop a doctrine for the use of managing these
for managing these core contract personnel, and then eventually incorporating
them into the way we plan for our total workforce.
So I think we ve passed the crawl stage. We re walking. Eventually
we re going to be able to run on this, and I think it s something we do owe
the American taxpayer. This is not repeat not an anti-contractor effort
nor is a pro-contractor effort. It is simply a way of trying to make
sure we have the requisite capabilities to accomplish our mission, whether
those capabilities are brought to us by a uniformed member of the military,
a government civilian, or a contract person. And it is those contract
people are a subset of that larger figure that s been bandied about, the
figure that includes the amount of money we pay others for rent, for heat,
for power, for appliances, like computers, et cetera. That 27 percent
is a small subset of that larger figure.
So we ll be doing this every year. It is going to be a permanent reporting
requirement. And as we do this from year to year, we can t predict
whether the numbers will go up or down, but our objective is to be able to
know, understand, and be able to explain the mix the military, civilian,
and government personnel to OMB, to Congress, and ultimately to the American
Well, I m done.
OPERATOR: Thank you, sir. This concludes today s conference.
Thank you so much for joining.