I’d like to see the answer to this question

To improve retention, officials study why acquisition employees leave

More than 80 percent of the 3,400 acquisition employees who quit in fiscal 2006 were not yet eligible to retire, and officials want to know why they left.

The Federal Acquisition Institute will begin tracking where such employees go when they leave the acquisition work force. [emphasis Murdoc’s]

The “where do they go?” question is the key question, I think. If they go into retirement before they’re eligible to retire, I would wonder where they got the means to do so. If, as seems much more likely to Murdoc, they go into the private sector, I’d like to know if they land positions with companies they previously worked closely with while with the government.

Recognition for those who do well in their field, extra training for those who need help and career-long mentoring to guide advancement are key to retaining acquisition professionals, [FAI director Karen] Pica said.

Umm, if some of them are getting kickbacks for sweet deals and/or cushy positions for the company they had a close business relationship with, I doubt that pats on the back and extra training classes are going to do the trick.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking a job with someone you’re familiar with as long as you don’t cross legal or ethical boundaries. But if this study confirms the longstanding suspicion that sweet contracts are rewarded with sweet new jobs, the entire procurement system will be, well, exactly what we all think it is.

The subject of government contracting frequently attracts negative media attention, Pica said, which can affect employees’ decisions to enter or leave the work force, Yet agencies were able to recruit 4,000 people into the work force at all levels, outpacing the losses, she said.

Well, if the fact is that working in acquisitioning for the government is a ticket to bigger and better things, you aren’t really going to have much trouble recruiting new employees, are you?

Interestingly, other than stating that the study is going to look at where these acquisition employees who leave before retirement go, no mention of any shadiness is made in the article.

Check out opportunities at the Federal Acquisition Institute if interested.


  1. The problem is they burn out. Imagine you love your country dearly and every day you try to look out for your country’s best interests and every day you are prevented from guarding those interests by a managment that cannot do enough for the contractor and sides with them against you on almost every occasion. Then add to that the travel. Some of these government contract monitors are on the road 6-9 months out of the year. Their families are strangers to them. Plus the pay is on the government scale which is notoriously low compared to what their counterparts in industry are making. And they say crime doesn’t pay! If there’s one job I’d like to have less than mine, it is the job of my customer. I have a lot of respect for those folks, and I don’t know how they put up with all the crap.

  2. I personally know a couple (literally-they’re married) of Army Acquisition Corps officers. They’re both been offered 6-figure jobs by different defense contractors, and could walk into any Green-to-Grey type job fair and get tons more. Two big things DoD acquisition types (and .gov acquisition types in general) have that are worth these paychecks to contractors: 1) Rolodexes/contact lists: It’s all about who you know 2) Detailed knowledge of DoD/.gov acquisition procedures: ensuring that your proposal is formatted correctly, prototype submissions have all the required bits and pieces (ex: Robinson Arms submitted their XCR for the SCAR competition, but were rejected because they forgot to include BFAs) is worth a lot. Just ensuring forms were filled out correctly and all the stuff was written up in proper format was the entire job one of my friends was offered. It’s not about what they have done, it’s about what they can do.

  3. It all depends on the level. If you’re up there in the procuement biz, you’ve got a lot of options and the revolving door can work for you. If you’re at or near the bottom, there’s no revolving door, and a lot of thankless work.

  4. Let’s not forget that contractors are willing to pay even more for the security clearance that all of these employees have. In addition, you’re seeing one of the unintended consequences of the Federal Government getting rid of the old CSRS retirement system (the one with the great pension that was tied to retiring with the Government) and replacing it with the FERS system (with a 401K-type TSP that the employee can take with them to the private world). The Federal Government wanted to be more like the private sector and by making that change (and probably some others along the way) they’ve made it a much easier decision for Federal employees to simply up and leave. It was a lot tougher decision under the old system where if you left the Government before retiring, you more or less lost everything in regards to retirement and had to start over.