Commissioners testify to House Committee on Interim Report
On June 10, 2009, the co-chairs of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan testified before a U.S. House panel on concerns raised during their initial investigations of the nation’s heavy reliance on contractors.
Commission Co-Chairs Michael J. Thibault and Christopher H. Shays appeared before the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, chaired by Rep. John F. Tierney (D-MA); ranking member is Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
The hearing, “Commission on Wartime Contracting: Interim Findings and Path Forward,” centered on the Commission’s interim report to Congress that was formally filed and publicly released on Wednesday, June 10, 2009.
The federal law that created the Commission in 2008 required an interim report this year and a final report in 2010. The interim report, more than 100 pages long, describes the Commission’s work in areas of contractor management and accountability, logistics, reconstruction, security, and policy and process. It also highlights several “issues of immediate concern” for Congress and the executive branch that need attention as operations increasingly shift from Iraq to the Afghan theater.
More than 240,000 contractor employees, about 80 percent of them foreign nationals, are working in Iraq and Afghanistan to support operations and projects of the U.S. military, the Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Contractor employees outnumber U.S. troops in the region. While contractors provide vital services, the Commission believes their use has also entailed billions of dollars lost to waste, fraud, and abuse due to inadequate planning, poor contract drafting, limited competition, understaffed oversight functions, and other problems. The Commission co-chairs discussed the preliminary observations in the interim report, highlighted the importance of the issues of immediate concern, and described the broad range of issues on the agenda for investigation and analysis.