DIIG Current Issues No. 33: The Fight for Reliable Federal Contracting Data

With the implementation of sequestration, federal spending is expected to be cut by approximately $1.2 trillion over the next decade. In these times of austerity, demand from the public and Congress to verify that federal money is spent effectively has led to a number of policies and mechanisms meant to improve the quality and quantity of federal contracting data. Most recently, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a January 2013 memorandum requiring all contracts to include a product or service code (PSC) with all purchase requests. This is an encouraging overture with major implications. First, more transparency can improve agencies’ internal processes, allowing them to track the history of their contracting through a variety of lenses. Second, it improves the accountability of the government as a whole, by making it easier for external organizations to conduct analysis on the efficiency of government contracting.