The Intelligence Contractor Concentration Problem
Intelligence contractors are a huge part of the US government’s national security system. They work for the CIA, NSA, and Pentagon on everything from intelligence gathering to tracking enemy fighters. They also support many of the civilian agencies that conduct operations with US troops overseas.
In the past few years, an unprecedented number of intelligence contracting firms have dominated the industry. This concentration has resulted in a number of problems, including the outsourcing of sensitive national security information and the use of substandard employees.
Concentration by itself can be a good thing, but if the industry isn’t properly regulated or managed, it can lead to shady practices and a lack of accountability. This is a problem in the intelligence community because some of the most important national security decisions are made by the contractor workforce.
Moreover, there are problems with the way that Congress and policymakers handle the intelligence budget. Because these budgets are classified, it is hard for lawmakers to see which companies are doing which jobs. The result is that some contractors are able to lobby lawmakers about their projects and budgets in ways that may skew the policy in favor of their own interests.
The NSA, for instance, has a small but highly focused group of contractors whose job it is to do all the analytic and operational spying that goes on in secret in the agency’s headquarters. These companies include Leidos, Booz Allen Hamilton, CSRA Inc., SAIC, and CACI International.
This small but tightly knit group of companies is responsible for much of the analytic and operational work that the CIA, NSA, and Pentagon conduct around the world. They are responsible for analyzing signals, identifying enemy fighters, mapping territory and more.
In addition, they provide a variety of support services to intelligence agencies and their field personnel in-theater, such as legal, administrative, and financial advice. Some of these companies have been in business for decades and others are relatively new to the intelligence market.
For example, CSRA, formerly CSC, was created in 2005 when CSC and SRA International merged to form one company. Now CSRA provides the NSA with information systems for its vast network of super-secret satellites and manages many of its most advanced drones.
Another company, Six3 Intelligence Solutions, specializes in providing “counterinsurgency targeting” to the Army and CIA. It recently won a large Army contract to supply intelligence to US forces in Afghanistan and Syria.
iQuasar has worked with many of these companies to help them understand how the market works and how they can best position themselves to get a competitive advantage over their competitors in the IC contracting space. This includes understanding the Intelligence community jargon and keywords, as well as developing a pipeline of passive candidates who already have experience with the agency and can be used to fill key vacancies.
The contractor workforce in the intelligence community has a critical role to play in helping to ensure that the community is prepared to respond quickly to changing national security threats. In the wake of numerous high-profile incidents involving contractor misconduct and lax government oversight, the intelligence community must begin to take more responsibility for its contractor workforce in order to protect the nation’s national security. This is an extremely complex task that requires strong leadership.