The Pentagon is fighting a congressional proposal to expand lawmakers' access to information about the integrity and performance of contractors. The objections to section 834 of the House's fiscal year 2010 defense authorization bill are included in the Pentagon's sixth package of defense authorization appeals, dated Sept. 30.
The appeals are a last-ditch effort to sway House and Senate conferees as they wrap up work on the final version of the bill.
Section 834 would give any member of Congress access to a contracting database that is now open only to the chairmen and ranking members of committees with jurisdiction. The Defense Department's appeal argues access to the database should remain tight because it contains "sensitive information used to make responsibility determinations by acquisition officials."
Citing the new requirement for posting contracting officers' determination that a source is not responsible, the appeal argues the integrity of the database depends on keeping this information under wraps. "Contracting officers may be reluctant to be totally honest in making this determination if a lawsuit may ensue," DOD writes.
The appeals package also complains that House and Senate authorizers both declined to support DOD's request for new authority to activate Reserve forces in case of disasters. Governors have opposed this idea.
Further, the appeals object to provisions requiring interrogations to be filmed and not performed by contractors.