Commission on Wartime Contracting

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Shortcomings in DoD planning for contractor use to be probed at July 12 Wartime Contracting hearing

Special report to Congress on concerns over DoD-to-State transition for critical functions in Iraq to be unveiled at hearing

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ARLINGTON, VA, July 8, 2010 – A July 12 hearing by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan will explore why, nearly a decade into two wars in Southwest Asia that rely on more than 200,000 contractors, government strategy and planning still make little provision for contractor support.

The Commission is concerned that the Defense Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review, Total Force Policy, and other planning documents pay inadequate attention to contracting and thereby invite hasty decisions, weak oversight, and wasteful spending when contingency operations must be launched.

The hearing—"Total Force Policy, the QDR, and Other Defense and Operational Planning: Why does Planning for Contractors Continue to Lag?"—is scheduled to run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday, July 12, 2010, in Room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. Commission Co-Chair Michael Thibault, former deputy director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, will preside.

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In another matter related to planning for contracting, the Commission will release its third Special Report to Congress on Monday. Besides directing the Commission to make interim and final reports to Congress, the Commission’s authorizing statute allows it to file “other reports” as it deems appropriate.

Special Report #3 details the Commission’s concern that planning for the transition of critical functions from the Department of Defense (DoD) to the Department of State as the U.S. drawdown in Iraq proceeds is insufficiently advanced, will require State to employ thousands of new contractors, and carries risks of weak oversight, unnecessary spending, and damage to U.S. policy objectives. The functions, many with potential for violent engagements, include emergency medical evacuations, route clearance, convoy escort, and explosive-ordnance neutralization.

Copies of the Special Report will be available at the hearing; it will also be posted on the Commission’s public website,

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"Contractor employees have exceeded the numbers of military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Thibault said, “and the military relies on them for base security, dining halls, laundry, transport, and other vital services. Yet little has been done to include contractors in DoD’s strategic, operational, and manpower planning."

Co-Chair Christopher Shays, former chairman and ranking member of the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, said, “The new Quadrennial Defense Review devotes little attention to contractor support, and the GAO has found that contracting is still lightly and inconsistently addressed in commanders’ operational planning. Unless there’s a real culture change at DoD, planning for contractor support in military operations or responses to natural disasters or terrorist attacks will remain ad hoc, hurried, and wasteful. We need to get this fixed for the sake of the troops and the taxpayers.”

The witness panel for the hearing comprises four DoD representatives:

  • Kathleen Hicks, Ph.D., Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Forces. Dr. Hicks is responsible for advising the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and the Secretary of Defense on all matters pertaining to the development of U.S. national security and defense strategy.
  • Lieutenant General Kathleen Gainey, Director of Logistics (J4), Joint Chiefs of Staff. The J4 section integrates logistics planning and execution in support of joint operations. It advises the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on logistics matters at the strategic level and for operational needs like supply, maintenance, health services support, and engineering.
  • Richard Robbins, Director, Requirements. He reports directly to the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness), which is responsible for Total Force policy and guidance on manpower management and workforce mix, including contractors.
  • Gary Motsek, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Program Support). He is responsible for developing and maintaining a comprehensive policy and program management framework for governing the joint polices on requirements definition, contingency program management, and contingency contract support.
America’s defense interests, objectives, and priorities are laid out in the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy, and the National Military Strategy developed by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, respectively. The Quadrennial Defense Review and various guidance documents refine objectives and priorities, and provide the basis for operational planning. The Commission believes these documents have at best limited discussion of contractor support of operations—a conspicuous shortcoming given the limits on U.S. force structure, the heavy reliance on contractors in Southwest Asia, and DoD’s reporting to Congress that contractors will likely play a critical role in future contingency operations.

Congress created the Commission in 2008 (Public Law 110-181) to examine contingency contracting for reconstruction, logistics, and security functions, and to recommend improvements. Co-chairs are Michael Thibault and Christopher Shays; other members are Clark Kent Ervin, Grant Green, Robert Henke, Katherine Schinasi, Charles Tiefer, and Dov Zakheim. The Commission website is

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