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Committee Reports

110th Congress (2007-2008)

Senate Report 110-333

Partial Report: Senate Report 110-333 1 of 1

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Section 301. Increase in employee compensation and benefits authorized by law

Section 301 provides that funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act for salary, pay, retirement, and other benefits for federal employees may be increased by such additional or supplemental amounts as may be necessary for increases in compensation or benefits authorized by law.

Section 302. Enhanced flexibility in non-reimbursable details to elements of the intelligence community

Section 302 expands from one year to up to three years the length of time that United States Government personnel may be detailed to the ODNI on a non-reimbursable basis under which the employee continues to be paid by the sending agency. To utilize this authority, the joint agreement of the DNI and the head of the detailing element is required. As explained by the DNI, this authority will provide flexibility for the ODNI to receive support from other elements of the IC for community-wide activities where both the sending agency and the ODNI would benefit from the detail.

Section 303. Enhancement of authority of the Director of National Intelligence for flexible personnel management among the elements of the intelligence community

Section 303 adds three subsections to Section 102A of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 403-1), all intended to promote the DNI's ability to manage all the elements of the IC as a single cohesive community.

Subsection 102A(s) enables the DNI, with concurrence of a department or agency head, to convert competitive service positions and incumbents within an IC element to excepted positions. In requesting this authority, the DNI points out that because of their unique intelligence, investigative and national security missions, most IC elements are in the excepted civil service. However, civilian employees in several smaller IC elements are still covered under competitive service rules. The ability to convert those to the excepted service will enable the IC to maintain a system throughout the Intelligence Community that is responsive to the needs of the IC both for secrecy and the ability to respond quickly to personnel requirements. Subsection 102A(s) additionally allows the DNI to establish the classification and ranges of rates of basic pay for positions so converted.

Subsection 102A (t) provides enhanced pay authority for critical positions in portions of the IC where that authority does not now exist. It allows the DNI to authorize the head of a department or agency with an IC element to fix a rate of compensation in excess of applicable limits with respect to a position that requires an extremely high level of expertise and is critical to accomplishing an important mission. A rate of pay higher than Executive Level II would require written approval of the DNI. A rate of pay higher than Executive Level I would require written approval of the President in response to a DNI request.

Subsection 102A(u) grants authority to the DNI to authorize IC elements, with concurrence of the concerned department or agency head, and in coordination with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, to adopt compensation, performance management, and scholarship authority that have been authorized for any other IC element if the DNI determines that the adoption of such authority would improve the management and performance of the intelligence community and notice is provided to the congressional intelligence committees no later than 60 days in advance of adoption of the authority.

Section 304. Delegation of authority for travel on common carriers for intelligence collection personnel

Section 116 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 404k) allows the DNI to authorize travel on any common carrier when it is consistent with IC mission requirements or, more specifically, is required for cover purposes, operational needs, or other exceptional circumstances. As presently written, the DNI may only delegate this authority to the Principal Deputy DNI or, with respect to CIA employees, to the Director of the CIA.

Section 304 provides that the DNI may delegate the authority in Section 116 of the National Security Act of 1947 to the head of any IC element. This expansion is consistent with the view of the Committee that the DNI should be able to delegate authority throughout the IC when such delegation serves the overall interests of the IC.

Section 304 also provides that the head of an IC element to which travel authority has been delegated is also empowered to delegate it to senior officials of the element as specified in guidelines issued by the DNI. This allows for administrative flexibility consistent with the guidance of the DNI for the entire IC. To facilitate oversight, the DNI shall submit the guidelines to the congressional intelligence committees.

Section 305. Annual personnel level assessments for the intelligence community

Section 305 adds a new oversight mechanism to the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 413 et seq.) that requires the DNI to conduct, in consultation with the head of the element of the Intelligence Community concerned, an annual personnel level assessment for each of the elements within the Intelligence Community and provide those assessments with the submission of the President's budget request each year.

The assessment consists of four parts. First, the assessment must provide basic personnel and contractor information for the concerned element of the Intelligence Community. It requires that the data be compared against current fiscal year, the upcoming fiscal year, and--for government personnel--historical five-year numbers and funding levels. Second, the assessment must include a written justification for the requested funding levels. This requirement is necessary to ensure that any personnel cost cuts or increases are fully documented and justified. Third, the assessment must contain a statement by the DNI that based upon current and projected funding the concerned element will have the internal infrastructure, training resources, and sufficient funding to support the administrative and operational activities of the requested personnel and contractor levels. Finally, the assessment must contain a list of all contractors that have been the subject of an investigation by the inspector general of any element of the Intelligence Community during the previous fiscal year or that are or have been the subject of an investigation during the current fiscal year.

The Committee believes that the personnel level assessment tool is necessary for the Executive branch and Congress to fully understand the consequences of modifying the Intelligence Community's personnel levels. This assessment process is essential to the adoption and continuation of the personnel level flexibility authority provided in Section 103. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Administration undertook sharp increases in personnel for the Intelligence Community under the assumption that the intelligence deficiencies leading up to the attacks resulted from personnel shortfalls. Various external reviews have also recommended more personnel. Since the attacks, Intelligence Community personnel end strength has grown by about 20 percent.

The Committee originally supported personnel growth as a way to strengthen intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination, but now questions its previous position for four reasons: (1) the recent history of large scale personnel growth indicates that personnel increases do not improve performance commensurate with the cost; (2) the Administration is not adequately funding the personnel growth it has planned; (3) hiring additional personnel diverts fiscal resources from both current mission and modernization needs; and (4) personnel costs always increase, while budgets do not. Therefore, when overall budgets do not keep pace with inflation and decline in real terms, personnel costs as a percentage of the budget increase each year and divert funds from operations and modernization.

In February 2005, the Committee initiated an audit to examine the full scope of activities and resources necessary to support the Administration's projections for Intelligence Community personnel growth during fiscal years 2006-2011. As a result of this review and further study of the issue, the Committee has concluded that increasing personnel without a plan for enabling those personnel to work productively does not prevent intelligence failures, or guarantee enhanced performance. The Committee also concluded that the Administration has not adequately funded its personnel growth plan and that resources provided for personnel growth in some cases have been at the expense of other programs.

Another concern of the Committee is the Intelligence Community's increasing reliance upon contractors to meet mission requirements. It has been estimated that the average annual cost of a United States Government civilian employee is $126,500, while the average annual cost of a `fully loaded' (including overhead) core contractor is $250,000. Given this cost disparity, the Committee believes that the Intelligence Community should strive in the long-term to reduce its dependence upon contractors. The Committee believes that the annual personnel assessment tool will assist the DNI and the congressional intelligence committees in arriving at an appropriate balance of contractors and permanent government employees.

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