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(Press Release) – Washington, DC – May 24, 2012 – Today, Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Rep. John F. Tierney, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, sent joint letters to Supreme Foodservice GmbH and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) requesting a host of documents relating to their ongoing investigation into a multi-billion dollar contract to provide food and other supplies to American bases in Afghanistan.
“It is outrageous that DLA could ever be in the position of possibly overpaying any vendor by three quarters of a billion dollars- especially at a time when troop levels are being scaled back because funding is tight,” said Chairman Chaffetz. “The Subcommittee will work with the Department of Defense to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding this apparent lack of oversight.”
“The American taxpayers refuse to accept a government contractor that bills more than $750 million in unsubstantiated charges, and they refuse to accept the Pentagon’s failure to manage this contract properly,” said Ranking Member Tierney. “Chairman Chaffetz and I plan to continue our vigorous bipartisan oversight efforts, to fully investigate the problems with this contract, and to determine how they will affect the impending award of the new contract.”
Dina Rasor – (Truthout | Solutions) – January 12, 2012 – Several years ago, I pushed for a revival of the old “Truman Committee” in the US Congress to look at war fraud and profiteering in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I had just written a book about the fraud and waste by contingency contractors in the Iraq war and was shocked, even after 30 years of investigating the Pentagon, at how much the government was being cheated, especially at the expense of our troops.
Sens. Claire McCaskill and Jim Webb pushed for a revival of a Truman Committee-style look at our wartime contracting because they, too, were shocked at what they were seeing in these current wars’ private contracting. The original Truman Committee exposed and corrected major fraud in World War II while the war was still going on. Truman, then a senator from Missouri, was proud that he found fraud and actually sent a general to jail.
The idea for the committee was to have it run and staffed by a group of current members of Congress, but politics intervened and, instead, the Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC) was staffed and chaired by appointees from each of the political parties. Even though I promoted this commission in my past life as a Huffington Post blogger because of the desperate need for oversight in this area, I knew that it might have turned out like many other commissions on Department of Defense (DoD) spending that I had witnessed over the years. Without having current, working members of Congress with subpoena and other investigative powers, I feared that this commission would not have the clout to really make a difference and change this destructive contracting. I testified in front of this commission and advised them several times, but could see the politics on the part of the appointees.
NEIL GORDON – (POGO) – January 5, 2011 – Welcome to another episode of “As the Washington Revolving Door Turns.” The two latest ex-government officials to land jobs with private companies formerly served as very high-profile watchdogs of those companies.
The first revolver is Michael Thibault, former co-chairman and commissioner of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan (CWC). The CWC released its final report in August and officially sunset a month later—with all of its internal records sealed from public view until 2031, unfortunately. Last month, Thibault joined DynCorp International as its vice president of government finance and compliance. Thibault worked for many years at the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), serving as Deputy Director from 1994 until 2005. Between his government postings at the DCAA and CWC, Thibault briefly worked for federal contractors Navigant Consulting and Unisys.
DynCorp, one of the three primary LOGCAP IV contractors, is currently the 32nd largest contractor in POGO’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database. It has nine instances of misconduct since the early 2000s and $19.6 million in penalties. Readers of POGO’s blog are probably familiar with some of DynCorp’s checkered history, as are those who saw the 2010 movie “The Whistleblower”, which was based on the harrowing experiences of former DynCorp employee Kathryn Bolkovac.
According to a recent Bloomberg report, a single agency within the Pentagon – the Defense Logistics Agency – wasted $7.1 billion over three years by double ordering parts. It would take 10 years of food stamp fraud to match that amount. Meanwhile, the government has squandered $60 billion on contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002.
A food stamp crackdown is wise, but if the government wants to hang on to even more money and increase its credibility with taxpayers, it needs to cast a much wider net. ~ Cast wider net on fraud, waste in government – Spokesman-Review
Air Force will not inform families of landfill remains
Kevin Baron – (National Journal) – December 9, 2011 – Responding to press revelations that the remains of hundreds of additional U.S. troops ended up in a landfill, an Air Force official said that the military regretted the pain the news may cause their families, but that the Pentagon would not inform them in order to honor their original wishes.
The State Department has never faced a challenge anywhere close to this magnitude, and I am concerned that the current plan could therefore expose billions of taxpayers’ dollars supporting diplomatic and development goals in Iraq to the risk of being lost, wasted or stolen.
While the State Department will continue to rely initially on the Defense Department for some basic capabilities, it will ultimately turn to an army of contractor personnel to provide services ranging from essential physical security to fact-of-life support, such as food and laundry. Indeed, of the 16,000 U.S. personnel that will comprise the U.S. civilian presence in Iraq after this year, it is estimated that nearly 14,000 of them will be contractors. ~Senator John McCain, letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
Sikorsky Made Excess Profit on Pentagon Parts Sold to Army
Tony Capaccico – (Bloomberg) – November 4, 2011 – Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. made excess profit selling the U.S. Army helicopter parts that it bought at a lower price from the Pentagon’s primary supply agency, the Defense Department’s inspector general says.