Transforming Wartime Contracting: Controlling Costs, Reducing Risks
COMMISSION ON WARTIME CONTRACTING ARLINGTON VA
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Contractors represent more than half of the U.S. presence in the contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, at times employing more than a quarter-million people. They have performed vital tasks in support of U.S. defense, diplomatic, and development objectives. But the cost has been high. Poor planning, management, and oversight of contracts has led to massive waste and has damaged these objectives. The volume and complexity of contract actions have overwhelmed the ability of government to plan for, manage, and oversee contractors in theater. Contracting decisions made during urgent contingencies have often neglected the need to determine whether host-nation governments can or will sustain the many projects and programs that U.S. contracts have established in their countries. Americans Can do response to the challenge of contingency operations is admirable, but human and financial resources have limits, and long-term costs are seldom considered when short-term plans are being framed. Much of the waste, fraud, and abuse revealed in Iraq and Afghanistan stems from trying to do too much, treating contractors as a free resource, and failing to adapt U.S. plans and U.S. agencies responsibilities to host-nation cultural, political, and economic settings. This final report to Congress summarizes the Commission s work since 2008 and offers 15 strategic recommendations that it believes warrant prompt action. Delay and denial are not good options. There will be a next contingency, whether the crisis takes the form of overseas hostilities or domestic response to a national emergency like a mass-casualty terror attack or natural disaster. Reform will save lives and money, and support U.S. interests. Reform is essential. Now.
- Economics and Cost Analysis