Rightsizing and managing contractors during the Iraq drawdown
On March 29, the federal Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan held a hearing on “Rightsizing and Managing Contractors During the Iraq Drawdown.” The hearing focused on planning for the drawdown of nearly 100,000 contractor employees in Iraq as the United States draws down its military forces there.
By agreement with the Iraqi government, U.S. military forces are to be entirely out of Iraq by the end of December 2011. As an interim step, the President has directed that U.S. military forces be reduced to no more than 50,000 by the end of August 2010. The drawdown will also entail reductions in the contractor workforce that provides base security, operates dining halls, does laundry, transports supplies, and performs many other services for U.S. troops. The Department of Defense expects the number of contractor employees in Iraq—mostly foreign nationals and Iraqis—will have declined from 149,000 in January 2009 to no more than 75,000 by August 2010.
At the hearing, the Commission explored the issue whether the federal government has adequate plans and mechanisms in place to ensure that contractors are reducing their workforce numbers appropriately as the U.S. military presence in Iraq shrinks. The hearing also examined the transition from sole- to multiple-vendor format for the multi-billion-dollar LOGCAP contract that provides logistical support in Iraq.
In particular, the hearing looked at Texas-based KBR, Inc. A multi-billion-dollar defense contractor, KBR is the only company working under the LOGCAP contract in Iraq; it reported 2009 revenues of $4.8 billion from LOGCAP work there.
The hearing began at 9:30 a.m. on March 29 in Room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. Witnesses represented the Army Materiel Command, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, U.S. Army Contracting Center (Rock Island, IL), and KBR.
C-SPAN video of 3/29/2010 Commission hearing