Total Force Policy, the QDR, and Other Defense and Operational Planning: Why does Planning for Contractors Continue to Lag?On July 12, 2010, the federal Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan held a hearing on the Department of Defense's (DoD) manpower planning, strategic planning, and operational planning for operational contract support in contingency operations. The Commission's major concern expressed during the hearing was the inadequate attention to contractor support found in the DoD's Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), Total Force Policy, and other planning documents.
Four DoD witnesses testified: Kathleen Hicks, Ph.D., Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Forces; Lieutenant General Kathleen Gainey, Director of Logistics (J4), Joint Chiefs of Staff; Richard Robbins, Director, Requirements; and Gary Motsek, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Program Support).
More than 200,000 contractors support U.S. contingency operations in Southwest Asia, but the Commission noted that DoD contract management has been on the Government Accountability Office's high-risk list since 1992, and that a recent GAO report concluded that broad culture change at DoD is needed to improve planning and use of operational contractor support. Commissioners questioned hearing witnesses on the treatment of contractor support in the QDR, and asked what might make contractor support a higher priority in DoD planning. Witnesses agreed that more can be done and that initiatives are under way, but pointed out that contracting guidance appears in formats other than the QDR, such as DoD directives and instructions.
The hearing began at 9:30 a.m. in Room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. Commission Co-Chair Michael Thibault presided.