This report concerns transitioning vital functions in Iraq from the Department of Defense to the Department of State. To avoid billions in waste, the Commission recommends that Defense and State accelerate, intensify, and better integrate their joint planning for the transition in Iraq.
At a hearing on August 2009, the Commission learned that unreliable data from internal contractor business systems produced billions of dollars in contingency-contract costs. Further, the two primary government agencies involved, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), were not working together effectively to protect government interests. Based on that information and in this report, the Commission issued a number of recommendations to improve contingency-contractor oversight.
In this report, the Commission makes recommendations that it believes address the underlying causes of poor outcomes in contracting, and that have the potential of institutionalizing changes for lasting effect. The recommendations include growing agencies organic capacity; developing a deployable contingency-acquisition cadre; restricting reliance on contractors for security; and establishing a contingency-contracting directorate in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as Offices of Contingency Contracting at Defense, State, and USAID.
This report finds that billions of U.S. taxpayers dollars will be wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan if the host nation governments cannot take over the operation, maintenance, and security of efforts undertaken to reconstruct, stabilize, and develop those countries. Officials at the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the USAID must therefore examine both completed and current projects for risk of sustainment failure and pursue all reasonable strategies to mitigate risks.
This voluminous final report to Congress summarizes the Commissions work since 2008 and offers 15 findings and correlating strategic recommendations that it believes warrant prompt action. Among the 15 are (1) agencies over-rely on contractors for contingency operations; (2) inattention to contracting leads to waste, fraud, and abuse; (3) agency structures prevent effective inter-agency coordination on contracting; (4) contract competition, management, and enforcement are ineffective; and (5) major reforms in government contracting are needed.
This report urges Congress to change a statutory restriction on the State Departments ability to choose security contractors for its overseas Foreign Service buildings based on any considerations other than lowest price and technical acceptability (LPTA). The Commission believes that the unintended consequences of the mandate were poor contract performance and widely publicized misconduct by guards for the embassy in Kabul. The report urges allowing the best-value standard for evaluating contractors offers. (Note: Congress responded by enacting a temporary lifting of the LPTA mandate in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
States Iraq mission after 2011 will require using thousands more contractors. Yet State is short of needed funding and program-management staff. Inadequate support risks waste of funds and failure for U.S. policy objectives in Iraq and the region. In this report, the Commission recommends that Congress ensure adequate funding to sustain States operations in critical areas of Iraq, including the Departments greatly increased needs for operational contract support.
This report describes the Commissions operations during its first year, identifies areas for research, and flags eight issues of immediate concern for lawmakers to consider. The eight issues include the risk of potential waste to be incurred by the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq; the critical shortage of qualified contract-management personnel in theater; the need for greater accountability in the use of subcontractors; the failure to apply lessons learned in Iraq to Afghanistan; and the need to ensure that contractors providing security for operating bases are well trained and equipped.