The U.S. is soon to face a tectonic shift as senior federal employees are set to retire within the next new years. Who is going to replace them? It’ll be a mixture of new hires and government contractors who will go from wearing green badges to sporting blue badges. The real shake-up will be in support functions. The force behind the fight. If you’re a federal law enforcement agent and a new stack of chairs arrives at your office – there’s a gleeful cadre of administrative warriors to thank. But, in seriousness, it’s a critical function – it’s not possible to do great things without support.
A generation of general schedule federal employees are on their way out the door. Sequestration provides the perfect excuse to plus up these positions with new federal employees – who were formerly government contractors. What does this mean for contracting firms? They’re going to need to go where the money flows. Like virtually every agency and military element – the funding is in counter-terrorism. It only makes sense because it’s also our greatest immediate threat. That’s not kicking in the doors – but the administrative and technical back functions that fuel our role in the war on terror.
The basic contract won is for work that GS employees oversee – do not need or want to do themselves. The federal employee can provide some leadership and oversight for the work. Now, because of sequestration and because the nature of contracting is not cheaper in the long term compared to federal employees – they’re looking to make some changes. Often, when we consider contracting jobs and opportunities disappearing, we assume a lot of people will be out of work. While that’s true – it also means something else. GS employees will boom. Because many of these contracts are still very much necessary – and thus, must be staffed. But, by staffers – not contractors. Good things these contractors are cleared, know the job, and already doing the work.
On the flipside, where you could bring contractors on board for something not indefinite – with a federal employee you’ve got them for the long haul. Most contract jobs aren’t projects that are intended to be as they are… forever. They’re sometimes temporary – but once you swallow a General Schedule (GS) into the system – that’s forever. It’s almost impossible to fire them – they can only be retired. You would have to do some crazy stuff to get fired as a GS.
Counter threat finance might become an even larger joint force with positions all over the nation and world. It’s an important endeavor and can play a crucial diplomatic role with other countries. Because this is an economic concern and reality for everyone. The Black Market is a global insurgency versus the rest of civilization.
The money is also set to flow into SOCOM for obvious reasons. As well other places that can further military technology and equipment via research and development. Contracts, however, are always being put out there and they’re regularly bid. It’s more complicated than just being a good firm with solid past performance. Often, in legitimate ways, companies can help create an opportunity in the first place. Business development and knowing the potential client and as many others as possible is key to your success. Even in government contracting – you have to sell and sell well. If you can’t sell, you’ll die. Because the people who fill these contracts for the most part, and the various firms filling contracts are interchangeable. Sometimes, they’re the same people, and they switch companies as the contracts switch out. They stay in their positions.
Many contractors are just trying to take care of their families, do good work, contribute, and go home at the end of the day. The idea that the large government contracting economy we’ve built is going away is going to create unemployment. I hope as many become federal employees as they can, because there are more good people than bad and many are hard, well-intentioned workers who want to help the country. Also, it’s often the federal employees who become the most complacent. The new wave of green suitors might be a good thing. It’s time to embrace the generational shift.
Featured image courtesy of FCW.com.