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Panel: Widespread WASTE and FRAUD in war spending – AP

August 31, 2011

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., accompanied by the congressionally chartered Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan Co-Chairs Michael Thibault, left, and former Connecticut Rep. Christopher Shays, right, gestures during the commission’s news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011, to present a final report that summarizes more than two and a half years’ work on waste and fraud in contracting. Commission member Charles Tiefer is second from left. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Panel: Widespread waste and fraud in war spending

By RICHARD LARDNER

Associated Press

Aug 31, 12:41 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has lost billions of dollars to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan and stands to repeat that in future wars without big changes in how the government awards and manages contracts for battlefield support, independent investigators said Wednesday.

The Wartime Contracting Commission urged Congress to quickly put in place dozens of its recommendations to overhaul the contracting process. The commission even suggested that joint House-Senate debt reduction committee take a close look at the proposals.

“What you’re asking for is more of the same,” said Dov Zakheim, a commission member and a former Pentagon comptroller. “More waste. More fraud. More abuse.”

The commission, created by Congress in 2008, estimated that at least $31 billion and as much as $60 billion in U.S. money has been lost in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade due to lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and corruption.

Yet new legislation incorporating the reforms remains a challenge for lawmakers deeply divided on the best way to reduce the deficit.

“If these recommendations are not implemented, there ought to be a Hall of Shame,” said Michael Thibault, co-chairman of the commission. “There’s an opportunity at hand.”

The commission’s 15 recommendations include creating an inspector general to monitor contracting, appointing a senior government official to improve planning and coordination, and reducing the use of private security contractors.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who co-sponsored legislation to establish the commission, said she plans to prepare legislation based upon the commission’s recommendations.

via Daily Record | Morris County NJ | AP Wire.

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2 Comments
  1. August 31, 2011 9:45 AM

    This is the kind of stuff that just breaks your heart, you know?

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