The naked truth about transparency and other news…
State’s taking on security, facilities management, air transport, and other tasks will require thousands of contractor employees. “Yet State is short of needed funding and program-management staff,” the report says. “Very little time remains for State to develop requirements, conduct negotiations, and award competitive contracts for work that must begin at once. Inadequate support risks waste of funds and failure for U.S. policy objectives in Iraq and the region.”
The report recommends that:
“1. Congress ensure adequate funding to sustain State Department operations in critical areas of Iraq, including its greatly increased needs for operational contract support.“2. The Department of State expand its organic capability to meet heightened needs for acquisition personnel, contract management, and contractor oversight.
“3. The Secretaries of State and Defense extend and intensify their collaborative planning for the transition, including executing an agreement to establish a single, senior-level coordinator and decision-maker to guide progress and promptly address major issues whose resolution may exceed the authorities of departmental working groups.”
Kyrgyzstan: Reporting Glitch Enabling Manas Transparency Woes
Deirdre Tynan – (Eurasianet) – March 2, 2011 – The US government’s Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) has trouble accurately tracking the Pentagon’s convoluted efforts to source fuel for the US-led war in Afghanistan.
The system – an online catalogue of all US federal contracts worth more $3,000 – can only record one country of origin for fuel, even though suppliers and officials at the Department of Defense freely admit that fuel covered under any one supply contract is often sourced from multiple countries, including Russia.
The reporting limitation creates a significant obstacle for transparency and accurate accounting efforts. It also focuses attention on recommendations outlined in a late 2010 US congressional report on fuel-supplies at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. The congressional report, titled Mystery at Manas, rebuked the Pentagon for lax oversight and other flaws in the procurement system. It also revealed that the Department of Defense’s aviation fuel suppliers at Manas, Red Star Enterprises and Mina Corp, bought Russian fuel and passed it off of Kyrgyz, even though Kyrgyzstan does not produce aviation fuel.
Mina Corp’s contracting information, under contract numbers SP0600-09-D-1009 and SP0600-07-D-1007, list Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan as the “country of product or service origin” for TS-1 jet fuel destined for Manas, located outside the capital Bishkek. Manas is a key logistics hub for US and NATO military operations in Afghanistan. (Click HERE for article)
Contractor Past Poor-formance Information
Scott Amey – (POGO) – March 2, 2011 – For the past week, POGO has blogged and testified before the Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC) about the poor state of contractor past performance and responsibility information.
If you don’t have time to read the testimony or view the hours of video of the hearing, here’s one of the key takeaways: Despite previous reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Defense Department Inspector General (DoD IG) exposing problems with past performance information systems, those systems are still failing. As shown in the two charts below, which were presented by the Commission and Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) at the hearing, reports are not being completed for the vast majority of contracts. According to government data the performance reports were completed less than 10% of the time—although new information was presented during the hearing which showed additional past performance reports had been completed. (Click HERE for article)
FEATURES Into the Limelight
After years of working behind the scenes, agency inspectors general are front and center in a high-profile battle against waste, fraud and abuse.
Charles S. Clark – (GovExec) – March 1, 2011 – It’s been a long, strange trip for inspectors general since those days of the Carter administration when the Justice Department tried to block the legislation that created them. As a cadre of “dual hats” – part colleague, part hall monitor – the 73 inspectors general work inside agencies to root out mismanagement and misconduct, yet their position is independent. They have been thanked for exposing waste, celebrated for uncovering abuse, fired for conflicts of interest, and blasted as unconstitutional tools of Capitol Hill politicos.
Their powers are substantive. They get their own staffs, enjoy direct access to agency chiefs and agency records, and can review regulations. But there are checks and balances to this autonomy. IGs who overstep their authority or face misconduct charges are referred to the integrity committee of their own statutorily created council. They also must keep agency heads and Congress informed of their work, and presidents have the power to appoint and remove them.