Military Waste and Fraud
According to the Commission on Wartime Contracting the United States has lost billions of dollars in military waste and abuse prosecuting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The bi-partisan commission was created by Congress in 2008 to investigate military contracting procedures. They estimate that the government could have lost at least $31 billion and quite possibly as high as $60 billion in military waste and abuse.
The commission attributes the monetary losses to lax oversight of contractors, poor planning, inadequate competition and outright corruption. One member of the commission, former Pentagon comptroller Dov Zakheim, said, “I personally believe that the number is much, much closer to $60 billion.”
The commission has made a number of proposals to correct the situation. Some of them will require further expenditures, others will cost little or only require a transfer of resources.
The commission’s recommendations include:
- Creating an inspector general to monitor war zone contracting and operations,
- Appointing a senior government official to improve planning and coordination among federal agencies,
- Reducing the use of private security companies,
- Carefully monitoring contractor performance.
The commission found that the government placing too much in the hands of private contractors. Part of the problem is that there are simply too many contractors for the government to manage.
Commission co-Chairman Michael Thibault listed several problems related to military waste and fraud in wartime contracting. Among them were poor decision-making, vague contract requirements, lack of adequately trained federal oversight people in the field, duplication or unnecessary work, failure to revise or recompete contracts, unsustainable projects, inadequate business processes among contractors and delayed audits,” Thibault said. “There are many causes, and no simple solution.”
Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), a strong proponent of reforming the government procurement problems indicated that he expected the Congress would turn the report into concrete legislative action. Another Senate sponsor of the commission, Claire McCaskill (D-MO), decried the waste and applauded the commission in a statement released by her office.
This type of military waste and fraud targets the military and the defense establishment for endless criticism from the anti-war, anti-military left. It also hinders our efforts in the War on Terror by wasting huge amounts of money that we need to defeat our enemies.