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Report: Some Agencies Resisting Wartime Contracting Changes

The Government Accountability Office  issued a report on Aug. 1, auditing progress at the three agencies concerned with wartime contracting reforms, reports Matthew Weigelt for Washington Technology.

The departments of Defense and State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development received recommendations for wartime contracting reforms from the Commission on Wartime Contracting.

The report presented 30 suggestions to DoD, 27 recommendations for the State Department and 25 proposals for USAID.

DoD has already carried out half of their list while the State Department and USAID have only accomplished a third of the wartime contracting commission’s recommendations, the report said.

The Pentagon agreed to strengthen and restrict their regulation on oversight of contractor business systems.

The State Department released a guideline about creating a determination memo when officials want to expel or suspend a company.

USAID also started conducting program sustainability analysis to ensure continued program prosperity when the host nation takes over.

However, officials from the three agencies told GAO auditors they see no need to push through with the remaining recommendations.

Some of those officials claim the pending suggestions already have an existing equivalent procedure within the department, which also accomplishes the intent of the request, they said.

The commission was established in 2008 to evaluate contracting conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan and to submit recommendations on how to develop contracting procedures.

The GAO report shows that Congress should create legislation that will obligate these agencies to create reforms. Change is needed in order to defend public funding from waste, fraud, and abuse, she added.

Webb added that this scenario positions Congress to pass the bipartisan Comprehensive Contingency Contracting Reform Act (S. 3286).

Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins already have extended their support for the bill along with 6 other senators.

The bill aims to strengthen oversight authority and management structure, change contracting procedures for overseas military contingencies and increase contractor accountability.

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