Sequestration Plus One: Early Indicators of the Federal Contracting Environment in the Era of Sequestration
January 28, 2015
In recent reports, the CSIS study team has examined the profound effect of sequestration on FY2013 contract obligations, most notably the 16 percent decline in overall DoD contract obligations in FY2013. CSIS has repeatedly emphasized that FY2014 data would be necessary to begin to understand whether the effects seen in 2013 represented a fundamental change to the federal contracting environment, or were just a one-year anomaly driven by the sequestration mechanism. While FY2014 DoD contracting data will not be available, complete, and reliable until late winter/early spring, non-defense accounts provide an early window into federal government contracting in the second year of sequestration constraints.This paper examines the trends in non-defense contracting for 2014 in the context of sequestration, in order to provide an initial, rough picture of the sequestration-constrained federal contracting environment. The data show a small but broad-based rebound across the non-defense federal contracting agencies in FY2014, approaching FY2012 obligation levels in most cases. This rebound is largely limited to services contracts, however, while the decline in non-defense R&D contract obligations has accelerated in FY2014.