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CWC Commissioners give award winning performance at Hearing

One day after the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, the Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC) held a their 20th hearing on wartime contracting. This hearing was entitled  “Ensuring contractor accountability: Past performance and suspensions and debarmements“.  I only wish there was an Academy Honor for the “Best Tough Guy”  on the CWC.  These Commissioners would certainly have my vote.   Perhaps a more appropriate honor would be a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence!  The Commissioners continue to show the country how bipartisan politics should work for the greater good of our country, not for personal petty ass partisan agendas.

Their tough as nails approach and ability to to ferret out the truth amongst the BS some witnesses attempt to baffle the Commission with is truly amazing and keeps the audience riveted.  Yes, I said riveted and when it comes to hearings and the day to day business of our government that is usually not the case. But the Commission accomplishes this with each hearing they conduct.

Yesterday’s hearing was no exception, several witnesses attempted to spend their time testifying about everything but the issues and trying their damnedest not to answer the questions.  I once heard someone describe this type of doublespeak as “spending all day talking about a broom but never getting to the handle.”  Our awarding winning cast on the Commission will have none of it and are quick to call these types to the carpet. These double-talkers are verbally dragged back on point squirming all the way.

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Trafficking in Persons, DoD, DoS & DoJ – start by cleaning up your own backyard!

U.S. boosts anti-trafficking campaign

WASHINGTON – (UPI) – February 2, 2011 – U.S. agencies are launching a coordinated campaign against human trafficking, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says.

Joining other Cabinet members in an inter-agency task force Tuesday, Clinton called for “ending the practice of punishing the victims of human trafficking. For all the millions who are held in servitude, fewer than 50,000 have been officially identified as victims. Too many others are either ignored, or even worse, treated as criminals.”

Clinton said some nations will be downgraded in the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report and the United States is being included for the first time. She said foreign diplomats will be briefed on their obligations to their domestic workers and a code of conduct is being drafted for private security contractors.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said new regulations will strengthen protection for farm workers.

“We reject the proposition that it is acceptable to pursue economic gain through force, fraud, and coercion of human beings,” she said.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department “has prosecuted more human trafficking cases than ever before.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said border authorities also have stepped up enforcement. (Click HERE for article)

Department of Justice Announces Launch of Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative

WASHINGTON – February 2, 2011 – The Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor announced today the launch of a nationwide Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative designed to streamline federal criminal investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking offenses.

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Where DynCorp goes drunken debauchery follows & other news

Defense Contracting an Ethics Free Zone?

Contractors behaving badly mean headaches for US
RICHARD LARDNER – (AP) – WASHINGTON – December 19, 2010 – At two in the morning on Sept. 9, 2005, five DynCorp International security guards assigned to Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s protective detail returned to their compound drunk, with a prostitute in tow. Less than a week later, three of these same guards got drunk again, this time in the VIP lounge of the Kabul airport while awaiting a flight to Thailand.

“They had been intoxicated, loud and obnoxious,” according to an internal company report of the incident, which noted that Afghanistan’s deputy director for elections and a foreign diplomat were also in the lounge. “Complaints were made regarding the situation.” DynCorp fired the three guards. 

Such episodes represent the headaches that U.S. contractors can cause in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. They are indispensable to the State Department’s mission overseas, handling security, transportation, construction, food service and more. But when hired hands behave badly – or break the law -they cast a cloud over the American presence. 

Documents obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act describe previously undisclosed offenses committed by more than 200 contract employees in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries between 2004 and 2008. They were working under a broad State Department security services contract shared by DynCorp of Falls Church, Va.; Triple Canopy of Reston, Va.; and the company formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide – Xe Services of Moyock, N.C. (Click HERE for article)

More examples of contractor headaches at a glance
Associated Press – December 19, 2010 – Documents obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act describe previously undisclosed offenses committed by more than 200 contract employees of the State Department in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries between 2004 and 2008. They were working under a broad security services contract shared by DynCorp of Falls Church, Va.; Triple Canopy of Reston, Va.; and the company formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide – Xe Services of Moyock, N.C.

Some examples of the offenses:

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Pentagon goes soft on deficient contractors

DoD scales back plan to restrict payments to some contractors

SEAN REILLY –  December 15, 2010 – Under a barrage of contractor criticism, the Defense Department has softened a plan to hold back contract payments as a way to prod companies to fix problems in their accounting and other business systems.

In a proposed rule released in January, DoD had sought authority to withhold 10 percent of payments if a particular business system was found to be deficient. Under a new proposal published this month in the Federal Register, that amount is cut to 5 percent and for small businesses would be limited to 2 percent. If a deficiency is considered high risk, the maximum that could withheld would be capped at 20 percent, down from 100 percent in the original proposal. And in response to complaints that the original draft was overly subjective, officials spell out compliance criteria more clearly.

In general, the revised proposal does a “much better job of laying out the attributes of each of these business systems” and then linking enforcement to compliance with those attributes, said Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel at the Professional Services Council, a contractor trade group. While not ready to give the revision a passing grade without more study, “I liked what I saw,” Chvotkin said.

But Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, viewed the new proposal as “a giant step backward” for contractor accountability. And because DoD is issuing a second proposed rule, another year may pass before contracting officers get the authority to withhold payments, said Amey, who had wanted the Pentagon to make its original draft more stringent.   (Click HERE  to read entire article)

1 in 3 women raped in military- Pentagon protects perps

ACLU lawsuit: Military won’t release rape records

JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN – The Associated Press – December 13, 2010 – NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Sexual assault pervades the military, but the Pentagon refuses to release records that fully document the problem and how it is handled, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups said in a federal lawsuit that seeks access to the records.

Tens of thousands of service members have reported some form of sexual assault, harassment or trauma in the past decade, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in New Haven against the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The plaintiffs include the Service Women’s Action Network, the ACLU of Connecticut and Yale Law School students. Read the remainder of this entry »