Defense Committee OKs Sen. Carper’s Gov’t Contracting Provision

Carper Provision in DOD Authorization Bill Means Better Info On Contracting in Iraq

WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) announced today a major step forward to improve government oversight of federal contractors, including thousands working in Iraq and Afghanistan today. Sen. Carper’s government contracting provision has been unanimously accepted by the Senate Armed Services Committee for inclusion in the National Defense Authorization Bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009.

As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security, Sen. Carper is a vocal advocate for more and better government oversight of contingency contracting.

Sen. Carper’s provision, introduced on his behalf by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate the contracting support plans that already exist. The provision is designed to determine what "each plan’s assumptions, comprehensiveness, feasibility, adequacy of executable detail, resources required and available, contracting related operational risk at each phase of the plan, and any other aspect of contracting support planning useful to this review."

"There is an old saying that you can’t manage what you can’t measure," Sen. Carper said. "The GAO report – mandated by this bill – will help us better determine how our combatant commanders in the field are incorporating contractors into their operational plans."

"We in Congress are responsible for overseeing contracting in war zones and our government agencies need to know how our combatant commanders are including contracting support plans in their contingency operations plans today," said Sen. Carper. "In the past year alone, I have toured Iraq and held hearings on contingency contracting, to figure out how Congress can help improve contracting practices in Iraq and Afghanistan to prevent these contracting problems from ever happening again. My provision in this defense authorization bill will allow us to more effectively manage contracting in these important areas."

Sen. McCaskill said: "It goes without saying that the mess we are in in Iraq has a great deal to do with the fact that we had no real plan. I’m pleased to join Senator Carper in ensuring that plans being written for contracting support for potential future missions are closely looked at. We cannot ever permit another contracting disaster like we have right now."

Other provisions in the bill will more clearly define the appropriate role contractors can play while working in an area of U.S. combat operations.

"This bill will prohibit contractors from serving as interrogators and will also ensure that private security contractors will not perform inherently governmental functions," said Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "I also was pleased to cosponsor Senator Bill Nelson’s amendment that will protect the rights of a contractor’s employees by requiring supervisors to report alleged offenses committed against their personnel."