The Commission on Wartime Contracting’s final report [pdf] asserts that upwards of $60 billion in U.S. tax dollars have been lost to fraud, waste, and abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. The independent Commission was created in 2008 to assess contingency contracting for logistics, security, and reconstruction, as well as to make recommendations to Congress in order to improve contracting practices. The Commission’s final report blames the staggering losses on a lack of oversight, poor planning, and corruption.
The Commission’s final report includes 15 recommendations to improve contingency contracting and to limit the potential for abuse in the future. They include:
- Expand the powers of inspectors general
- Facilitate the increased use of suspension and debarment
- Apply risk factors in deciding whether to contract in contingencies
- Develop deployable cadres for acquisition management and contractor oversight
- Phase out use of private security contractors for certain functions
- Set and meet annual increases in competition goals for contingency contracts to eliminate acquisition strategies that favor incumbent contractors with performance deficiencies
- Improve contractor performance-data recording and use
- Expand investigative authority and jurisdiction
Implementation of these recommendations will certainly increase the risk of contracting with the U.S. Government, especially for contractors operating in contingency contracting situations. The obvious message is to increase the corporate focus on compliance and to further develop a corporate culture of compliance.