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Department of Defense Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Background and Analysis
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The Department of Defense DOD increasingly relies upon contractors to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has resulted in a DOD workforce in those countries comprising approximately an equal number of contractors 200,000 as uniformed personnel 194,000. The critical role contractors play in supporting such military operations and the billions of dollars spent by DOD on these services requires operational forces to effectively manage contractors during contingency operations. Lack of sufficient contract management can delay or even prevent troops from receiving needed support and can also result in wasteful spending. Some analysts believe that poor contract management has also played a role in abuses and crimes committed by certain contractors against local nationals, which likely has undermined U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. DOD officials have stated that the militarys experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with Congressional attention and legislation, has focused DODs attention on the importance of contractors to operational success. DOD has taken steps to improve how it manages and oversees contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. These steps include tracking contracting data, implementing contracting training for uniformed personnel, increasing the size of the acquisition workforce in Iraq and Afghanistan, and updating DOD doctrine to incorporate the role of contractors. However, these efforts are still in progress and could take three years or more to effectively implement. The use of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan has raised a number of issues for Congress, including 1 whether DOD is gathering and analyzing the right data on the use of contractors, 2 what steps DOD is taking to improve contract management and oversight, and 3 the extent to which contractors are included in military doctrine and strategy.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE