Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Senators go after waste in wartime contracting

Government Executive  March 1, 2012

Citing massive problems with waste and fraud, lawmakers on Thursday introduced legislation to improve oversight of wartime contract spending.

Co-authored by Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Jim Webb, D-Va., the Comprehensive Contingency Contracting Reform Act would overhaul the federal government’s planning, management and oversight of contract spending in areas of conflict.

In August 2011, the independent, bipartisan Wartime Contracting Commission reported that as a result of poor procurement oversight, federal agencies wasted as much as $60 billion of the more than $205 billion spent on private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. McCaskill and Webb first introduced the legislation to create the commission in 2007, using as their model the Truman Committee, which investigated waste and fraud during World War II.

Thursday’s legislation focuses on four areas of wartime contracting: elevating oversight responsibility, requiring the government to identify how it will pay for overseas military operations, increasing transparency and competition, and instituting additional provisions for contractor accountability. It specifically requires the Defense and State departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development to exercise more authority and responsibility over the contractors they work with.

“You can bet that contractors who’ve made billions off of U.S. taxpayers aren’t excited about a crackdown,” McCaskill said in a statement. “But with the roadmap provided by the commission report, we can change the way our government contracts during wartime and make sure these failures are never repeated.”

Webb, former secretary of the Navy, stated the bill recognizes the work of support contractors and the “necessity to improve government management and accountability in the contracting process that resulted in unacceptable costs, excessive waste and substandard performance in far too many areas.”

Scott Amey, general counsel to the Project on Government Oversight praised the bill saying, “No matter the policy or ideological reasons for hiring wartime contractors, this bill provides an improved set of checks and balances that will save taxpayers billions.”

Please see the original and read more here

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Commission on Wartime Contracting, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Senators Send Letter To Unseal Wartime Contracting Commission Records

Cross Posted from MsSparky

Jake Wiens – (POGO) – November 10, 2011 – In an encouraging development, the two Senators—Jim Webb (D-VA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO)—responsible for introducing legislation that created the sent a letter yesterday which called on the Archivist to “take immediate steps” to publicly disclose the Commission’s records, which had been sealed for 20 years. In a recent blog post, POGO called on the Congress to take action to lift this seal.

The full text of the letter is below:

November 7, 2011

Archivist of the United States

700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20408

Dear Mr. Ferriero:

We are writing to request that you take immediate steps to publicly release the permanent records of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan (the Commission), consistent with your authority under the law.

On September 30, 2011, the Commission terminated operations pursuant to statute and forwarded to the National Archives and Records Administration all records within its control not previously released to the public. In its letter of September 9, 2011, the Commission encouraged you to review nonpublic records for public release following a closure period of 20 years.

We learned of this development after the fact. The Commission did not seek the advice or involvement of appropriate congressional committees or staff in formulating its recommendation to you. As the two original cosponsors of the legislation creating the Commission in 2008, we are troubled by this lengthy and excessive delay in making the Commission’s records available to the public. We ask that the National Archives make a full disclosure of the Commission’s files and records as quickly as possible, consistent with protections for privacy, proprietary information, and other applicable laws.

The importance of public disclosure relates directly to the Commission’s original legislative mandate—to assess contingency contracting for reconstruction, logistics, and security functions; to examine the extent of waste, fraud, and abuse; and to improve the structure, policies, and resources for managing the contracting process and contractors. The Commission’s own work stressed the importance of increasing transparency and accountability for contracting operations.

Much like the World War II-era Truman Committee it was patterned after, the Commission performed a critical “watchdog” role during its three-year existence. The appropriate committees of Congress are addressing the many constructive findings and recommendations contained in the Commission’s two interim reports and final report. Of note, the Commission concluded that at least $31 billion, and possibly as much as $60 billion, has been lost to contract waste and fraud during U.S. contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The enduring importance of the Commission’s work, however, did not end when it terminated its operations five weeks ago. Commission records constitute a very important source of reference material for the public at large, journalists, professional associations, academicians, historians, and others. Simply stated, we need to live in the light. Sealing records for 20 years is inconsistent with the goals we established for the Commission when Congress acted to create the Commission three years ago.

More timely, accurate, and substantial disclosure of the nonpublic materials provided by the Commission will help to achieve the transparency that the American taxpayer deserves. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter and look forward to your response at the earliest convenience.


Claire McCaskill                  Jim Webb
United States Senator      United States Senator

Please see the original post at MsSparky and POGO

November 10, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Commission on Wartime Contracting, Contingency Contracting, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Government Contractor, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , | Leave a comment