Defining intelligence contractors’ jobs, and pay, is a fuzzy job

“Inherently governmental” is one of those Washington terms that can signal a boring discussion is ahead.

But as federal employees know, the phrase is key in determining what work they do and what work is done by outside contractors. Yet despite many attempts to define it, including a recent policy letter issued by the Obama administration, reining in a definition for “inherently governmental” is like bailing water with a leaky bucket. No matter how hard you try, something that should be included escapes.

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