Pentagon Wasted $12 Million a Day for 10 Years on War Contracting

Friday, September 02, 2011
No matter how you look at it, the decision to spend more than $200 billion on contractors for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars proved extremely wasteful.
The congressionally-created eight-member, bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan issued its final report recently and concluded that at least $31 billion in taxpayer money was badly spent. The commission said the contractor money-pit could be as costly as $60 billion. Using a figure in between, that comes to $12.4 million a day since the two wars began in October 2001.
Of the $206 billion allocated to private companies, the controversy-prone operator KBR earned more than $40 billion. Another $38.5 billion went to “miscellaneous foreign contractors,” meaning the government can’t say for sure which Afghan and Iraqi companies benefited the most.
The fraud and waste that was allowed to happen came about because of myriad reasons: “poor planning, vague and shifting contract requirements, inadequate competition, substandard contract management and oversight, lax accountability, weak interagency coordination, and subpar performance or outright misconduct by some contractors and federal employees,” according to the Project on Government Oversight.
To prevent this kind of boondoggle from happening again, the commission issued several recommendations. For starters, stop using mercenaries for certain security-related functions. For another, establish a permanent inspector general for “contingency operations” (read: the next war and nation-building that might follow). It also wouldn’t hurt, the commission wrote, to actually punish contractors if they’re caught cheating the government.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Transforming Wartime Contracting: Controlling Costs, Reducing Risks (Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan)


Richard Bell 10 years ago
punish contractors for fraud and cheating? how un-american. if we did that we might not have enough of a deficit to be able to head off horrendous wastes of money like educating our children and (shudder) health-care for americans.

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