Publication Date



[Excerpt] Sourcing policy refers, generally, to determining which sector—public (government) or private—will perform an agency’s function(s). Both federal employees and contractor employees have valid roles to play in performing the work of the federal government. This combined workforce is known as a blended workforce. Determining which sector will perform which functions, including determining when federal employee performance is, or should be, required can be challenging, however. Efforts to address this issue, and related questions, have been the subject of the federal government’s sourcing policy since at least the 1950s.

This report begins with a history of sourcing policy that focuses on the terms commercial and inherently governmental, and the policy of government reliance on the private sector. The following section examines the two strains of sourcing policy: competitive sourcing and multi-sector workforce management. The juxtaposition of the Bush Administration’s competitive sourcing initiative and the Obama Administration’s multi-sector workforce management effort aids in understanding different, yet potentially complementary, facets of sourcing policy. Policy issues that may be of interest to the 112th Congress are also discussed.


Suggested Citation

Halchin, L. E. (2012). Sourcing policy: Selected developments and issues. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.