Reliance on Contingency Services Contracts:
On April 19, the federal Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan held a hearing on "Oversight of Service Contracts." The hearing focused on improving the federal government’s planning and oversight of billions of dollars in services contracts for Southwest Asia operations.
Where is the Management and Oversight?
Contracts for logistical support, translation, maintenance, security and other services are estimated to total $80 billion over the past five years in Iraq and Afghanistan. Services contracts account for nearly two-thirds of contracts in Southwest Asia, and are mostly managed by the U.S. Army.
At the hearing, the Commission voiced concern that the Army still lacks adequate resources for planning, managing, and overseeing services contracts that are critical to the success of military operations. The hearing also probed the issue of contractors’ possibly becoming involved in “inherently governmental” functions while using force or making decisions involving other contractors.
The hearing began at 9:30 a.m. on April 19, in Room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. Two panels of witnesses testified. The first panel comprised Shay Assad, Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, Department of Defense; Lt. Gen. William Phillips, principal military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition Logistics and Technology); and Edward Harrington, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Procurement). The second panel comprised witnesses from CACI, a contractor that provides support for the military’s Joint Contracting Command-Iraq/Afghanistan, and AECOM, which provides program-management support for contract performance in Southwest Asia. (A third invitee, security contractor Aegis, did not attend the hearing.)