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Sié Chéou-Kang CenterPrivate Security Monitor

Training Afghan Security Forces

U.S. Government Research & Oversight

Specially Constituted Commissions

U.S. Government agencies many constitute special commissions of inquiry to investigate problems with agency policies and operations. The commissions—sometimes called task forces or panels—may be composed of experts from both in and outside the government. Commissions constituted by the Department of Defense are governed by detailed fact gathering and analysis procedures, while commissions formed by other agencies are not necessarily bound by such guidelines. However, all specially-constituted commissions are guided by the same goal of remedying known deficiencies and improving government operations.

Posted below are reports by specially-constituted commissions that reflect upon or investigate the U.S. Government's use of private military and security services. Many of the reports were completed in the wake of high-profile incidents involved PMSCs hired by the U.S.—most notably the Nisoor Square incident involving Blackwater USA and allegations of abuse at the Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Reports issued by Special Commissions

Report of the "Commission on Army Acquisition and Program Management in Expeditionary Operations" (i.e., the Gansler Report)

Author: Dr. Jacques Gansler, et al.
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In September 2007, the Secretary of the Army appointed a special commission to review contracting linked to the war effort. The six-member commission was led by former Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Dr. Jacques Gansler. The report, titled “Urgent Reform Needed,” found oversight of military contractors to be inadequate, and recommended that an Army Contracting Agency be established and the Army contracting force be greatly expanded.

Report of the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq

Author: General James L. Jones
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The members of this Commission were mandated by Congress to investigate whether Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) were ready and equipped to assume responsibility for maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq and whether continuing support was needed to ready the ISF. The Commission found that the ISF was not ready to assume responsibility for Iraq’s security and defense, and continuing support from U.S. military and contractor personnel would be needed. 

DOD Analysis of the Interim Report of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan

Author: DOD Task Force on Wartime Contracting
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In 2009, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, directed the creation of a Department of Defense Task Force on Wartime Contracting (TFWC) to evaluate the interim report of the Commission on Wartime Contracting, focusing on the report’s issues of immediate concern.  This document presents the results of TFWC’s work: Section I contains background information and describes the Department’s related accomplishments, Section II addresses the issues of immediate concern, and Section III addresses ancillary issues raised in the Commission’s report. 

Joint Strategic Oversight Plan for Afghanistan Reconstruction FY 2013

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A joint product of Department of Defense, Department of State, USAID and the Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction, this report defines a 13 point plan for the future of reconstruction in Afghanistan. Of note is Issue 13, which discusses the plans for improving contractor oversight and efficiency in Afghanistan. The report also briefly discusses the contractors overseeing the Afghan police and military training. 

Report of the Secretary of State's Panel on Personal Protective Services in Iraq

Author: Patrick Kennedy, et al.
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On September 16, 2007, private security contractors working for Blackwater USA conducted an armed convoy through the Nisoor Square neighborhood of Baghdad that resulted in the death of 17, and wounding of 24 Iraqi civilians. In October 2007, the Secretary of State’s Panel on Personal Protective Services in Iraq, composed of outside experts, was assembled to review the Department’s security practices in Iraq following the Nisoor Square incident and to provide recommendations to strengthen the coordination, oversight, and accountability of Embassy Baghdad’s security practices. For an assessment as to whether the Panel’s recommendations had any effect, see DoS OIG Report: Status of the Secretary of State’s Panel on Personal Protective Services in Iraq Report Recommendations (MERO-IQO-09-01; December 2008).

Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade (i.e., the Taguba Report)

Author: Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, et al.
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Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, Commander of Joint Task Force-7, the senior U.S. military commander in Iraq, ordered an official Army Regulation 15-6 military inquiry in allegations of abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. In the report, four private contractors who were hired through a Department of Interior contract we implicated in the torture scandal at the prison.