The trend over the last several years has been a dramatic increase in the number of suspensions and debarments by the Federal government. The September 18, 2012 report by the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee (ISDC) indicates that there were 928 suspensions and 2,398 debarments in FY 2011. Even though debarments are generally restricted to three years, two agencies issued permanent or indefinite debarments and thirteen reported debarments of longer than three years. The increase in suspensions and debarments from FY 2009 to FY 2011 was over 50 percent.

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We can certainly expect the trend to continue. In a November 15, 2011 Memo, the Office of Management and Budget required agencies to appoint a senior official to be responsible for assessing the agency’s suspension and debarment program. At this point, 28 federal agencies responsible for 98 percent of federal contracting expenditures have assigned individuals to the position. We doubt that any agency officials will find their own suspension and debarment programs too harsh.