Senator Webb Calls for Committee Hearing on Wartime Contracting Commission Recommendations

note:  after reading the 78 page report on wartime contracting over the weekend I was very pleased to see Senator Webb’s call for hearings … the DOJ should be asked to attend … and then hold people responsible … here’s the press release …

February 25, 2011

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) issued the following statement regarding the release of the Commission on Wartime Contracting’s second interim report to Congress:

“The report’s specific recommendations to address the federal government’s overreliance on contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan and failure to control the process underscore the importance of the Commission’s charter,” said Senator Webb, a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. “Senator McCaskill and I worked hard to establish this Commission to restore public trust and to save taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud and abuse. The Department of Defense, other federal agencies, and the Congress should give the report’s recommendations serious consideration.

“I am asking the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services to schedule a hearing with members of the Commission on the recommendations of their independent, bipartisan report.  I encourage my colleagues serving on other oversight committees to hold similar hearings.”

Senators Webb and Claire McCaskill introduced legislation, enacted in January 2008, to establish the Commission on Wartime Contracting, modeled after the Truman Committee of World War II.  The Commission is studying and investigating the impact of the government’s growing reliance on civilian contractors to perform wartime functions in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It is assessing the extent of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of wartime contracts to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.

The Commission held its first public hearings in 2009 and published an interim report on June 10, 2009—identifying major areas of emphasis in need of significant reform and critical issues of more immediate concern. Senators Webb and McCaskill called for prompt action by the Department of Defense, and the Secretary of Defense took steps to address these time-sensitive concerns as quickly as possible.

The second interim report reviews the budgetary and policy reasons for the federal government’s overreliance on contractors and offers 32 specific legislative, regulatory, and policy proposals to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse through improved oversight and better deployment of government resources. Key proposals include:

•           Restricting reliance on contractors for security functions;
•           Strengthening enforcement tools that hold contractors and government accountable;
•           Establishing high-level positions at Defense, State, and USAID, and new “dual-hatted” policy position in Executive Branch with responsibilities at both the Office of Management and Budget and the National Security Council;
•           Creating a “J-10” position at the Joint Chiefs of Staff to provide a focus on contingency contracting, which is currently subsumed under the Joint Chiefs’ logistics organization;
•           Increasing competition among contractors to promote cost savings; and
•           Ensuring that training for military and federal civilians who manage and oversee contingency contracts is made more consistent and effective.

The full report can be found here.

The Commission on Wartime Contracting is significantly increasing transparency and accountability and generating important recommendations to correct systemic contracting problems, with the potential for saving taxpayers billions of dollars. It is required to provide a final report to Congress in July 2011.

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