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Sié Chéou-Kang CenterPrivate Security Monitor

U.S. Congressional Oversight

Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has broad oversight jurisdiction over government operations generally and the Department of Homeland Security in particular. Its primary responsibilities are to study the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of all agencies and departments of the federal government.
Of particular note is the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, which conducts investigations into federal contracting and holds regular hearings to examine past failures, current policies, and how to bring more efficiency, transparency, and accountability to the contracting process.

Hearings

114th Congress (2015-2016)

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113th Congress (2013-2014)

Oversight of Contractor Performance Information

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight
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This hearing, from the Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight, examines the collection, management and uses of information collected about contractor performance and integrity and review the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System.  Testimonies, shown below, are from Captain Brian Drapp of the Supply Corps, US Navy and Commanding Officer at the Naval Sea Logistics Center and Kevin Youel Page, the Assistant Commissioner in the Integrated Award Environment at the US General Service Administration.
  1. Testimony of Kevin Youel Page, US General Services Administration

The Intelligence Community: Keeping Watch Over Its Contractor Workforce

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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This hearing looks into how the US intelligence community has managed the vast number of contractors with which it works.  Concerns raised about over reliance, lack of oversight and unreliable data available are addressed through testimony by Timothy J. DiNapoli, Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management for the Government Accountability Office and Stephanie O'Sullivan, the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence.  Copies of their testimonies appear below along with a link to the video of the hearing itself.

Implementation of Wartime Contracting Reforms

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight
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This hearing is part of the Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight within the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  Focusing on the implementation of wartime contracting reforms passed in the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, the hearing hears from Aman S. Djahanbani, Senior Procurement Executive and Director, Office of Acquisition and Assistance for USAID, Patrick F. Kennedy, the Under Secretary of State for Management, and Richard T. Ginman, Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy.  Their testimonies appear below with a link to the video of the hearing itself.
112th Congress (2011-2012)

The Diplomat’s Shield: Diplomatic Security and Its Implications for U.S. Diplomacy (S. Hrg. 112–123)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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Contractors provide security for U.S. diplomatic installations and personnel. Witnesses at this hearing were asked—among other issues—to discuss how the State Department oversees its large contractor workforce. Witnesses were The Honorable Eric J. Boswell, Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State; Mr.  Jess T. Ford, Director, International Affairs and Trade, U.S. Government Accountability Office; Ms.  Susan R. Johnson, President, American Foreign Service Association.

Intelligence Community Contractors: Are We Striking the Right Balance? (S. Hrg. 112-391)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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This hearing addressed the government's use of contractors for intelligence work. Witnesses were Daniel I. Gordon, Administrator, Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget; Charles E. Allen, Senior Intelligence Advisor, Intelligence and National Security Alliance; Mr. Mark M. Lowenthal, Ph.D., President and CEO, The Intelligence and Security Academy, LLC; Mr. Scott H. Amey, General Counsel, Project on Government Oversight; and Joshua Foust, Fellow, American Security Project.

The Comprehensive Contingency Contracting Reform Act of 2012 (S. 2139)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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This hearing addressed legislation introduced by Senators  McCaskill and Webb on February 29, 2012. The legislation is based on the findings and recommendations of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan (CWC) which were presented in its final report to Congress in August 2011. The hearing also provided an opportunity to discuss what additional steps, if any, may be required to fully address findings in prior hearings and investigations by the CWC, Congress, and others regarding contracting in overseas military contingencies.

Contractors: How Much Are They Costing the Government?

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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The purpose of the hearing was to examine whether and how cost information is used by government agencies to make decisions about whether work should be performed by federal employees or contractors.  The hearing also assessed what the government is doing to improve the data available to and develop best practices to determine when using contractors to provide a given service will constitute the most effective use of taxpayer dollars.  Jay Aronowitz, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Force Management, Manpower and Resources, Department of the Army spoke about the military’s use of contractors.

Transforming Wartime Contracting: Recommendations of the Commission on Wartime Contracting (S. Hrg. 112-333)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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This hearing sought to address the contractor waste uncovered by the Commission on Wartime Contracting and the recommendations put forth by the Commission to curb contractor fraud and abuse. Witnesses were Senators Claire McCaskill and Jim Webb; Christopher Shays, Co-Chair, Commission on Wartime Contracting; Patrick F. Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management, U.S. Department of State; and Richard T. Ginman, Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, U.S. Department of Defense.

Afghanistan Reconstruction Contracts: Lessons Learned and Ongoing Problems

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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The purpose of the hearing was to assess the management and oversight of reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan. In particular, the hearing focused on the extent to which the Defense Department and USAID have incorporated and institutionalized the lessons learned since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The hearing also provided an opportunity to review finding from the U.S. Government Accountability Office regarding the Defense Department’s management and oversight of reconstruction contracts.

111th Congress (2009-2010)

Allegations of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Security Contracts at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul (S. Hrg. 111-251)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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The purpose of the hearing was to examine concerns relating to the State Department’s contract to acquire security services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The Subcommittee has learned of allegations that the security of the Embassy may have been jeopardized over the last two years because of the contractor’s failure to comply with U.S. laws and contract terms. The hearing examined these allegations and explored potential abuses in the management and oversight of the contract.

The Diplomat’s Shield: Diplomatic Security in Today’s World (S. Hrg. 111-461)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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This hearing examined strategic and human capital challenges facing the Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, as its missions continue to expand and evolve in response to emerging global security challenges of the 21st century. The Subcommittee reviewed the findings and recommendations of a U.S. Government Accountability Report on the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Defense Contract Audit Agency: Who Is Responsible for Reform? (S. Hrg. 111-945)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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This hearing addressed the Defense Contract Audit Agency. Witnesses were Gregory D. Kutz, Director, Forensic Audits and Investigative Services, U. S. Government Accountability Office; Gayle L. Fischer, Assistant Director, Financial Management and Assurance, U.S. Government Accountability Office; Robert F. Hale, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer, U.S. Department of Defense; April G. Stephenson, Director, Defense Contract Audit Agency, U.S. Department of Defense.

Accountability for Foreign Contractors: The Lieutenant Colonel Dominic ‘Rocky’ Baragona Justice for American Heroes Harmed by Contractors Act (S. Hrg. 111-747)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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On May 19, 2003, Lieutenant Colonel Dominic “Rocky” Baragona was killed in Iraq when his vehicle was struck by a truck being driven by an employee of the Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport Company (KGL), a Kuwaiti company with hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. contracts and subcontracts. On March 4, 2009, Senator McCaskill introduced S. 526, the Lieutenant Colonel Dominic ‘Rocky’ Baragona Justice for American Heroes Harmed by Contractors Act. This legislation would require that contractors consent to the jurisdiction of federal courts for certain types of lawsuits as a condition of entering into government contracts. The hearing reviewed the legislation and also assessed the policy implications of current suspension and debarment practices throughout the government and question whether agencies and departments are fully utilizing the tools currently available to them to identify, prevent, and prosecute wrongdoing by contractors.

Afghanistan Contracts: An Overview (S. Hrg. 111-792)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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The current increase of forces in Afghanistan is accompanied by a corresponding increase in the number and value of contracts for support and reconstruction. The hearing reviewed whether the lessons learned from Iraq are being applied in Afghanistan. The hearing also examined new findings from federal auditors and explored abuses in the award, management, and oversight of Afghanistan contracts.

Contracts for Afghan National Police Training (S. Hrg. 111–944)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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The hearing examined Defense Department and State Department contracts for police training in Afghanistan, including the State Department’s Civilian Police Program contract in support of the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. The hearing reviewed the recently released joint audit of this contract by the Defense Department and State Department Inspectors General and explores concerns related to management and oversight of the contract. The hearing also addressed GAO’s recent decision sustaining the contractor DynCorp’s protest of the Defense Department’s plans to transfer management of the contract to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Counter-Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office.

Counternarcotics Contracts in Latin America (S. Hrg. 111-982)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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This hearing addressed U.S. counternarcotics assistance to Latin America through Plan Colombia. Contractors have been hired to spray the drugs under cultivation; to work in government ministries;  to help with intelligence for drug trafficking; help support the local army and police; and maintain bases where American troops live and work in Latin America. However, the Committee finds that little is known about these contracts, who are overseeing the contractors, or how the success of contractors is measured. Witnesses were asked to answer these and other questions.

Oversight of Reconstruction Contracts in Afghanistan and the Role of the Special Inspector General (S. Hrg. 111-964)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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The purpose of the hearing was to examine the role of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in providing independent oversight of reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan. The hearing reviewed recent SIGAR audits and investigations and assess SIGAR’s effectiveness at preventing and detecting waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars. In addition, the hearing examined lessons learned from other Inspectors General involved in the oversight of contingency contracting.

110th Congress (2007-2008)

An Uneasy Relationship: U.S. Reliance on Private Security Firms in Overseas Operations (S. Hrg. 110-1016)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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This hearing addressed the use of private security contractors in recent conflicts. The Committee recognized that the use of private security contractors by governmental departments and NGOs will likely to continue and increase and therefore asked witnesses to discuss the need to develop regulatory standards for private security contractors that are not agency or conflict specific.

Management and Oversight of Contingency Contracting in Hostile Zones (S. Hrg. 110-437)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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This was a joint hearing. Witnesses were many and included Stuart W. Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction; William Solis, Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, Government Accountability Office; Dina L. Rasor and Robert H. Bauman Director, Follow the Money Project and co-authors of Betraying Our Troops: The Destructive Results of Privatizing War;  P. Jackson Bell, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense; General David M. Maddox, Former Commander in Chief, U.S. Army Europe, Member of the Gansler Commission; and John Herbst, Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization U.S. Department of State.

Deconstructing Reconstruction: Problems, Challenges, and the Way Forward in Iraq and Afghanistan (S. Hrg. 110-331)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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Witnesses at this hearing about military contractors and reconstruction efforts in Iraq in Afghanistan were Stuart W. Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction; Major General Ronald L. Johnson, Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers David M. Satterfield, Senior Advisor to the Secretary and Coordinator for Iraq, U.S. Department of State; and Mark S. Ward, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau of Asia and the Near East, U.S. Agency for International Development.

Is the Department of Homeland Security Too Dependent on Contractors to do the Government’s Work? (S. Hrg. 110-530)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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This hearing examined the extent to which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) relies on contractors to carry out its mission to secure the U.S. from terrorism and natural disaster. Comparisons and contrasts are drawn between the use of private security contractors by DHS and those used by the U.S. in its overseas operations.

109th Congress (2005-2006)

Iraq Reconstruction: Lessons Learned in Contracting (S. Hrg. 109-958)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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This hearing examined the status of the U.S. government’s contracting efforts in the relief and reconstruction programs in Iraq. Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, testified about SIGIR’s ‘‘Lessons Learned’’ report that provides a chronological review of the contracting experiences in Iraq. Some discussion is had about fraud, waste and abuse in Iraq contracting.

Waging War on Waste: An Examination of DOD’s Business Practices (S. Hrg. 109-172)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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In January 2005, the Government Accountability Office released its High-Risk Series, which included eight specific areas for the Department of Defense. This hearing will examine DOD’s approach to business transformation, and will likely be the first in a series of hearings. According to the high-risk report, the Secretary of Defense estimates that improving the business operations could save five percent of the DOD’s annual budget, or nearly $22 billion.

108th Congress (2003-2004)

DOD Contractors that Cheat on their Taxes and What Should Be Done About It (S. Hrg. 108-493)

Author: Senate Committee on Homeland Security
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The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ hearing examined Department of Defense (DOD) contractors who are abusing the federal tax system by either failing to file tax returns or not paying their taxes. A General Accounting Office review of DOD contractors found that 27,100 contractors owed $3 billion in back taxes. The purpose of the hearing was to identify the corrective actions that can be taken to ensure that DOD contractors pay the taxes they owe the federal government.