More Training Needed for Military To Better Oversee Wide-Ranging Contracts In Iraq
Sep 21 2007
An amendment by Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to improve military contracting, based on their first-hand observations of costly oversight problems in Iraq, has been included in the larger Department of Defense authorization bill being debated in the Senate this week and next.
“In Iraq today, many military officers have a great responsibility to oversee contracts and contractors, but they are too often untrained and unprepared to make sure tax dollars are well spent and essential projects are completed,” Sen. Carper said. “Our amendment will help combat this ongoing lack of contracting expertise in our military to improve their oversight, and reduce serious waste and abuse in the contracting operations in Iraq today.”
Sens. Carper and McCaskill were in Iraq in June where they saw and heard of contracting oversight problems, including cost overruns and incomplete projects, many aggravated by the fact that there is insufficient training for military commanders and oversight personnel who ultimately are responsible for overseeing contracts on a wide range of services that support America’s troops.
“We are spending billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan each month, and we need to make sure every penny is being used wisely,” Sen. McCaskill said. “This amendment will make sure all military personnel who deal directly with contractors are prepared to recognize and report abuse so they can be our eyes and ears in the fight against waste.”
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 defense authorization bill previously included a requirement for updated training regimens for acquisition personnel, but it did not require developing training regimens for non-acquisition personnel, such as unit commanders and staff. The Carper-McCaskill amendment now included in the defense authorization bill requires training on contingency contracting for personnel outside the defense acquisition workforce. Their amendment requires the defense department to develop a joint policy on contingency contracting.
Specifically, the Carper-McCaskill amendment:
(1) Requires training of all military personnel outside acquisition workforce (including operational field commanders and officers performing key staff functions for operational field commanders) who are responsible for acquisition - including oversight associated with contracts and contractors - during combat operations, post-conflict operations and contingency operations;
(2) Ensures all military personnel understand the scope and scale of contractor support in contingency operations, and are prepared for their roles and responsibilities for oversight and contingency contracting; and
(3) Incorporates contractor and contract operations training in mission readiness exercises that include contracting and contracting support.