Majority Interim Reports
The House Armed Services Committee is responsible for funding and oversight of the Department of Defense and defense policy generally. This includes ongoing military operations, the organization and reform of the Department of Defense, counter-drug programs, acquisition and industrial base policy, technology transfer and export controls, and detainee affairs and policy. The committee has held a number of hearings about the Department of Defense's use of private contractors.
For this hearing the committee sought out private sector views on lessons learned and future challenges in the area of irregular warfare. Topics discussed included the need for greater human intelligence capabilities among U.S. personnel and the role of private sector actors in providing training for indigenous security forces.
This hearing focused on the transition from U.S. to Afghan control of on-the-ground security during and after 2014. One area of concern for committee members was the provision of security for USAID and other development personnel, which will move from private security companies to the nascent Afghan Public Protection Force. Other topics of discussion included problems of governance, corruption, and economic development.
The House Armed Services Committee heard testimony on how to improve operational contract outcomes, in order to reduce waste and fraud, provide security, and save taxpayer money.
Witnesses at this hearing about the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan were Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense; Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Jacob Lew, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources. Witnesses were asked how many military contractors would be needed to support the surge of 30,000 troops to be sent to Afghanistan.
At this hearing, witnesses were asked explain why the U.S. was deploying contractors to Afghanistan instead of military personnel.
This hearing focused on the implementation of Section 861 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008, which required the Departments of Defense and State, and the USAID to sign a memorandum of understanding regulating contracting matters in Iraq and Afghanistan. The MOU was signed in July 2008, and witnesses discussed how well the agencies have done in implementing its terms, which included increasing contractor visibility and enhancing the governments ability to track contracts and contractors.
This hearing focused on the progress made by the Department of Defense and Department of the Army in implementing the recommendations made by the Gansler Commission on Army acquisition and program management for expeditionary operations. The Commissions recommendations call for a major change in the Armys cultural attitude toward contracting and for institutional changes to the Armys contracting capability.
This hearing focused on the Department of Defense's approach to managing its service contractors. The Army's Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract is discussed in-depth. LOGCAP is an initiative by the United States Army to pre-plan during peacetime for the use of civilian contractors to perform selected services in wartime and other contingencies to augment U.S. forces in support of DOD missions.
At this hearing, witnesses were asked to discuss the fiscal year 2011 DOD budget, and the projected defense spending for future years. Witnesses stated that cuts in spending would affect defense contractors. However, witnesses said that the because the DOD is so reliant on contractors for servicesin addition to those contractors that form the industrial baseand these contractors would not be as affected as the DODs reliance on service contractors is both permanent and sustainable. Discussion was also had about the governments possible over-use of contractors, and whether U.S. military contractors are cost-effective.
Among other issues discussed at this hearing was the success of U.S. efforts (through military and contractors) to train the Afghan police and army. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction was also asked about the use of third-country nationals as security guards for U.S. projects and installations in Afghanistan, and whether there were any inherent risks to this practice.
At this hearing, the Committee asked witnesses to discuss the challenges DOD faces in consistently following sound contracting and contract management practices, and actions the DOD has taken to improve its management of services contracts.
At this hearing, the Committee asked DOD representatives why the Department had not yet complied with Section 803 of the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, which was meant to provide the Congress with much greater clarity on the militarys procurement of contractor services.
At this hearing, Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense; Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of the State; and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified about interagency cooperation. Among other matters, they were asked to discuss the memorandum of understanding between the Departments of Defense and State regarding civilian contractors on the battlefield.
This hearing explored the role of private contractors and the role that they have played in the mission to train, equip and sustain Iraqi Security Forces. Witnesses from the Departments of Defense, State and Justice discussed how the roles and responsibilities for each agency in Iraq have evolved, as well as the procedures for accountability, management and oversight of contractors that have been put in place.
At this hearing about Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), witnesses discussed the extent to which contractor support was used for the development of the ISF. The history of DynCorp's involvement in ISF training is briefly discussed.
The Committee posed this question to witnesses: has the U.S. government gone too far in recent years by relying too much on contractors? A representative from the Department of Defense testified that the DOD's use of contractors, including private security contractors was consistent with existing U.S. policy on inherently governmental functions.
At this hearing, Army Chief of Staff General George Casey is questioned by the Committee about the Armys use and reliance on private military and security contractors. He is asked to predict the Armys future reliance on security contractors, and whether the continued use of contractors is the best use of government funds.
The Committee heard the testimony of the Independent Commission on the Iraqi Security Forces, a commission appointed by Congress to conduct an assessment of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The Commission reported on the readiness of the Iraqi Security Forces, their capabilities, and how support and training by U.S. forces contributes to the effectiveness of the ISF. During their testimony, the members of the Commission discussed how police training was conducted by private contractors.