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Committee Finds $30B in U.S. War Contract Spending Wasted

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At least one of every six dollars of U.S. spending, totaling $30 billion, on contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan has been wasted, according to the co-chairmen of the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Christopher Shays, a former Republican congressman from Connecticut, and Mark Thibault, a former deputy director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, summarized the committee’s findings in an op-ed for the Washington Post Sunday.

The committee found the contractor workforce in Iraq and Afghanistan has sometimes outnumbered U.S. military forces in combat zones. The committee also found problems with unsustainable projects, including spending $40 million on a prison the Iraqi government did not want and was not finished.

Among other reasons, Shays and Thibault blamed poor contract planning, vague requirements and inadequate competition for the problems with contract spending.

“In general, contractors have provided essential and effective support to U.S. personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the co-chairmen wrote. “But the costs have been excessive, largely because of a shrunken federal acquisition workforce and a lack of effective planning to use contractors and the discipline of competition.”

The committee will submit its full report to Congress Thursday.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

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