« “The Earth stands on the brink of its sixth mass extinction and the fault is ours” - TTG | Main | Israel's Two Faced Game with the Druze »

23 June 2015


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


"Clearly the Champion received a fat private bonus and an offer of employment at the outsourcing company."

On the lower level, a common incentive is iirc a percentage of the nominal savings as a bonus to the salary, something like 10+%. The immediate effect is that even if the costs remain the same, nominal productivity per employee goes up, if only for the books.

At a certain point there is no more staff left to deal with vendor shortcomings. Vendor sales people pitch that they are flexibly scalable. They usually aren't.

I have seen tripling of agred upon workdays (like ten instead of three days?) per task, not to mention the price hikes, as soon as dependency set in. The customer then was barely in any position to do something about it. They couldn't do it themselves for lack of manpower, and besides, the vendor had made sure there was no backwards compatibility of tools, just in case. Classic.

And I haven't spoken about quality yet. If something went bad, they could point out the lack of quality and the champions would say it was a pricing issue, and besides, the customer wouldn't notice or mind (a 200 € book falling out of its cover). The vendor, a broker, had hired the lowest bidder. The solution was a penalty by contract (which will not fix the binding), underlining the priority: Cost trumps quality.

In a sense, outsourcing redefines technical and quality problems into contractual, organisational and pricing problems. That happens as an artificial layer is been put in as the task is being relocated to the vendor sphere.

That they still must work the same tech, are tasked to provide a product they only can produce in a certain way and thus face basic technical limitations, doesn't matter, because that was now the vendor's problem. The contractor would figure it out because he has a profit interest in doing so.

See? No more hasslesome technical responsibility, and know how is no longer necessary. The Champions are always numbers people and they choose people like themselves for their teams and take care to avoid technical people because those folks would slow the project down.


Thank you.
That fits with what I assumed to be the case but lacked the knowledge to be sure about. I work in IT but not specifically on data security. Snowden is an interesting case as how do you vet for loyalty. In a case like Bletchley Park where it was clear who the enemy was, to those inside, and the data they saw confirmed this. The problem is different if the highly patriotic work begins to have doubts that he is fighting for the right team once he sees what his side is doing. Now he is being asked if his patriotic duty is to the the Constitution & Law or to his non-disclosure oath. Would this not be closer to the soldiers dilemma when ordered to perform what he views as an illegal order?


"You have the same large, inefficient bureaucracies choosing which contractors to hire. A lot of potential to make things even worse."

While I understand the discussion is related to IT contractor outsourcing, the positive thing about OPM outsourcing the field investigation work to contractors is the caliber of the investigators. I know some retired federal special agents and 30-year police detectives who are now doing this work part time. They interview candidates for security clearances, talk with neighbors, etc. These guys are the types you want, not the GS types whose only qualification is a college degree and they won the USAJobs lottery.

William R. Cumming

Many thanks for this comment!

William R. Cumming

Thanks Beaver! Could SECDEF be rethinking these policies and issues and assignments?

William R. Cumming

Great comment IMO! Your sentence: " It will have come full circle when the US freak out at some country conducting a targeted assassination, or perhaps a drone strike, against an enemy on US soil."


DISCLOSURE: Have some dated expertise in targeting of conventional weapon artillery and nuclear weapons.

William R. Cumming

Many thanks for this insightful comment and links!

William R. Cumming

TTG! What many do not seem to know or care about is that Chinese hacking efforts often launched domestically in the lower 48!

William R. Cumming

Probably IMO!

The Beaver


Same thing happened last year at this time. One Japanese woman on a green card got stuck in Paris when she forgot her bag in a cab. Husband and child managed to get back to the US bur she couldn't. As a last resort, she went back to Tokyo to stay with her parents and did the paper work there ( cheaper than staying and waiting in Paris in her case)

Patrick D


"The cyber world consists of inter-networked bad neighborhoods and battlefields where no one or no data is truly safe."

This is what troubles me about commercial drones and self-driving cars. I don't think Silicon Valley types appreciate that they effectively want to build giant risk portals from cyberspace into meatspace.


As someone who's information was hacked, the government's solution was - as its par - to double down.

Apparently they outsourced with a information security group to provide credit monitoring, hahaha. Everything is so surreal nowadays.

William R. Cumming


William R. Cumming


William R. Cumming




That is credit monitoring for life - which is how long the hackers will have your information - or for one year? One year is what my employer offered when they got hacked. Or in this case when the HR employee's laptop with everyone's information was stolen.

William R. Cumming

For sale 12 million personnel files with security cleanance info of many!


Turing's Cat

@ CP & TTG
While the info contained in the SF86 is important, it turns out that there is now an admission that the "adjudication information" was also compromised. This "adjudication information" could be considered to be the gov't-generated info, including via polygraph, which follows up on the info provided on the SF86. Take the broad view: OPM has information on gov't employees. That information has been compromised. You have to determine the coverage (which employees) and extent (what information) that has been compromised. SF86 is just the tip of the iceberg (some tip! some iceberg!).

news report: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11698876/China-hackers-gain-access-to-sex-secrets.html

more detailed report: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/24/hackers-stole-secrets-of-u-s-government-workers-sex-lives.html


The only good news I can add from experience conducting background checks ages ago is the following.
If "adjudication information" was also compromised and if that information was really damaging, the applicant would not have been issued a security clearance and would therefore not be vulnerable, as they would not have current access to classified information (and probably not be currently employed).
At least that's how it worked "way back when". Nowadays I have no idea....

William R. Cumming

WOW! The FBI must be envious!


Adjudication information would be a devasting loss. This would include reports written about any potential issues a security clearance candidate had. It would also include the nitty-gritty details of things like security breaches even where there was no compromise of information. E.g., they could see human factors vulnerabilities in existing security procedures and exploit them. Some more than others, i.e., electronic communication vs. physical.

If they could get the info on which candidates were denied a clearance, China would have a treasure trove. Imagine some recently divorced, financially devastated 50-something guy who has spent 25 years in crypto-analysis. Because of his financial issues he gets his clearance denied (#1 reason for denial, see: http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/doha/industrial/2015.html) and he can no longer do sensitive work. He might even be pushed out. Do you think this guy would make a good target for some attractive mature Chinese female spy? Heck, the Chinese would now have the personal weaknesses and peccadillos of even the ones who get the clearance granted, and have current access.

William R. Cumming

An interesting effort was OMB's to define INHERENTLY GOVERNMENTAL FUNCTIONS
in its policy guidance. Still-born IMO!

William R. Cumming

To avoid personal responsibility in lifting the security clearances of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer,PhD, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued Executive Order 10450, still in effect, giving the head of each Department or Agency, the authority for final adjudication of adverse background information. Lewis Strauss, Chair of the AEC, after some adversary hearings [not a right of government employees but a right of government contractor personnel] lifted some of Dr. Oppenheimer's clearances. JFK gave Dr. Oppenheimer the Presidential Medal of Freedom!

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad