Thursday, September 27, 2007
Senators Dan Webb and Claire McCaskill have proposed the creation of a Commission on Wartime Contracting to investigate allegations of fraud and abuse in the award of contracts and the broader issue of the use of private contractors in war zones. The Commission is based on the Truman Commission established during World War II to investigate war contracts, and according to a summary of the bill (here):
The amendment would establish an independent and bipartisan eight-member Commission on Wartime Contracting to study and investigate: (1) federal agency contracting for the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan; (2) federal agency contracting for the logistical support of coalition forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom; and (3) federal agency contracting for the performance of security and intelligence functions in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The bill also will expand the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction’s (SIGIR’s) area of responsibility beyond Iraq Reconstruction and Relief Funds. In consultation with the Commission, SIGIR will conduct audits of agency contracts to identify potential waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.
The Commission will study and investigate the extent and impact of this growing reliance on civilian contractors to perform wartime functions. Its focus will encompass the policies, procedures, processes, and performance associated with wartime contracting and contracts. It also will assess the extent of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement, and the extent to which those responsible have been held financially and legally accountable. The appropriateness of agencies’ structure, policies, and processes for wartime and contingency contracts also will be assessed. [Italics added]
The bill (here) has 26 co-sponsors, and is being offered as an amendment to the Defense Authorization legislation that is currently before the Senate. The recent revelations of problems with private security companies operating in Iraq is sure to fuel demands for an independent review of contractors and the process by which the contracts are awarded. (ph)