Washington (AP) The Government Accountability Office says the military hires so many private contractors that they outnumber defense department employees in many offices.
The GAO, in a report released today, also says that the Pentagon should look into forcing the contractors to disclose their financial interests so as to avoid any conflicts of interest.
The congressional audit also says the contractors, who are not bound by federal ethics laws and regulations, perform a number of sensitive tasks including developing contract details and advising award fees.
Defense officials agree that tougher standards for contractors are probably needed and that they are looking into it.
In its audit of 21 offices, the GAO found 15 with more contractors on staff than defense department employees. In some, contractors make up more than 80 percent of the workforce.