Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 30

Thread: Reducing waste in wartime contracts

  1. #1
    All League
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    East of the Jordan, West of the Rock of Gibraltar
    Posts
    4,802

    Reducing waste in wartime contracts

    [URL="http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reducing-waste-in-wartime-contracts/2011/08/26/gIQAyqQhlJ_story.html"]www.washingtonpost.com/[/URL]



    [QUOTE]
    [B]At least one in every six dollars of U.S. spending for contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, or more than $30 billion, has been wasted.[/B] And at least that much could again turn into waste if the host governments are unable or unwilling to sustain U.S.-funded projects after our involvement ends.

    [B]Those sobering but conservative numbers are a key finding of the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will submit its report to Congress on Wednesday.[/B] All eight commissioners agree that major changes in law and policy are needed to avoid confusion and waste in the next contingency, whether it involves armed struggle overseas or response to disasters at home.

    Tens of billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted through poor planning, vague and shifting 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. Both government and contractors need to do better.

    Our final report shows that the costs of contracting waste and fraud extend beyond the disservice to taxpayers. The costs include diminishing for U.S. military, diplomatic and development efforts; fostering corruption in host countries; and undermining U.S. standing and influence overseas.

    The contractor workforce in Iraq and Afghanistan has at times exceeded 260,000 people and has sometimes outnumbered U.S. military forces in theater. The roughly 1-to-1 ratio sustained over the years reflects a basic operating truth that Defense Department officials expressed in testimony to the commission: The United States cannot conduct large or prolonged military operations without contractor support.

    Defense doctrine has for more than 20 years held that contractors are part of the “total force” to be deployed in contingency operations. [B]Nonetheless, the United States embarked on operations in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003 without adequate planning or contract-management personnel to handle the enormous scale and numbers of contracts.[/B] In that sense and in others, America is over-relying on contractors.

    [B]Poor planning, [U]federal understaffing[/U] and over-reliance led to billions of dollars of contracts awarded without effective competition, legions of foreign subcontractors not subject to U.S. laws, private security guards performing tasks that can easily escalate into combat, unprosecuted instances of apparent fraud, and projects that are unlikely to be sustained by the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan.[/B]

    Projects that are or may be unsustainable are a serious problem. For instance, U.S. taxpayers spent $40 million on a prison that Iraq did not want and that was never finished. U.S. taxpayers poured $300 million into a Kabul power plant that requires funding and technical expertise beyond the Afghan government’s capabilities. Meanwhile, a federal official testified to the commission that an $11.4 billion program of facilities for the Afghan National Security Forces is “at risk” of unsustainability.

    Many examples of poor planning, bad management, weak accountability, misconduct and the waste that results from them are detailed in our final report. But Congress asked us to do more than describe problems; it instructed us to recommend improvements.

    Our final report includes 15 strategic recommendations to improve contingency contracting. They include:

    ●Designating a “dual-hatted” official to serve in the Office of Management and Budget and to participate in National Security Council meetings to ensure that the many agencies involved in contingency contracts or grants are properly resourced and coordinated;

    ●Making more rigorous use of risk analysis when deciding to use contractors, rather than assuming that any task not on a list of “inherently governmental function” is appropriate for contracting;

    ●Requiring that officials examine current and proposed projects for risk of unsustainability, and cancel or modify those that have no credible prospect of operating successfully; and

    ●Creating a permanent inspector general for contingency operations so that investigative personnel are ready to deploy at the outset of a contingency, and to monitor preparedness and training between contingencies.

    These and 11 other recommendations are detailed in our final report, which will be available Wednesday at [url]www.wartimecontracting.gov[/url].

    Our report is not an attack on contractors. In general, contractors have provided essential and effective support to U.S. personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the costs have been excessive, largely [U]because of a shrunken federal acquisition workforce [/U]and a lack of effective planning to use contractors and the discipline of competition.

    If Congress and the Obama administration adopt our recommendations, they will find large opportunities to save money in contingency operations and to produce more economical and effective outcomes in future hostilities and national emergencies.

    Christopher Shays, a former Republican congressman from Connecticut, and Michael Thibault, a former deputy director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, co-chaired the bipartisan federal Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    [/QUOTE]

  2. #2
    Jets Insider VIP
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    6,344
    Wait I thought outsourcing saved so much money and was the way to go? :rolleyes:

    This is a very enlightening article, I never expected to see the terms government and waste used together. The government is usually so much more efficient than the private sector.

  3. #3
    Jets Insider VIP
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Staten Island
    Posts
    8,969
    [QUOTE=Trades;4121940]Wait I thought outsourcing saved so much money and was the way to go? :rolleyes:

    This is a very enlightening article, I never expected to see the terms government and waste used together. The government is usually so much more efficient than the private sector.[/QUOTE]

    Citytime says "hi". The private sector makes up for it in rigged contracts and corrupt practices. Not exclusive by any means, but often it is at the expense of government.

  4. #4
    [QUOTE=Trades;4121940]Wait I thought outsourcing saved so much money and was the way to go? :rolleyes:

    This is a very enlightening article, I never expected to see the terms government and waste used together. The government is usually so much more efficient than the private sector.[/QUOTE]

    Our gov't relies heavily on contractors because God forbid we have a draft, then all the rich kids will have to share the burden. We can't let that happen.

  5. #5
    Jets Insider VIP
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Van down by the river
    Posts
    23,083
    [QUOTE=Jetworks;4121993]Citytime says "hi". The private sector makes up for it in rigged contracts and corrupt practices. Not exclusive by any means, but often it is at the expense of government.[/QUOTE]

    Private is exactly the same as public.

    No difference.

    The amount of time on hold calling the DMV is the same as the amount of time on hold calling American Express. Nothing is efficient...public or private.

  6. #6
    Hall Of Fame
    Charter JI Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    L.I. NY (where the Jets used to be from)
    Posts
    13,472
    [QUOTE=Jetworks;4121993]Citytime says "hi". The private sector makes up for it in rigged contracts and corrupt practices. Not exclusive by any means, but often it is at the expense of government.[/QUOTE]

    This can only be true with the cooperation or incompetence of the government agency who negotiates,signs and oversees the contract.

  7. #7
    All League
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    East of the Jordan, West of the Rock of Gibraltar
    Posts
    4,802
    [QUOTE=PlumberKhan;4122022]Private is exactly the same as public.

    No difference.

    The amount of time on hold calling the DMV is the same as the amount of time on hold calling American Express. Nothing is efficient...public or private.[/QUOTE]


    Aint that the truth. The Bureaucracy in corporate America is just as frustrating as it is in city hall or Washington.

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=Piper;4122552]This can only be true with the cooperation or incompetence of the government agency who negotiates,signs and oversees the contract.[/QUOTE]

    Please explain what is currently happening with these contracts? Since you understand what is going on now and all. :rolleyes:

  9. #9
    Hall Of Fame
    Charter JI Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    L.I. NY (where the Jets used to be from)
    Posts
    13,472
    [QUOTE=cr726;4122739]Please explain what is currently happening with these contracts? Since you understand what is going on now and all. :rolleyes:[/QUOTE]

    Well according to the report "At least one in every six dollars of U.S. spending for contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, or more than $30 billion, has been wasted" and "Poor planning, federal understaffing and over-reliance led to billions of dollars of contracts awarded without effective competition, legions of foreign subcontractors not subject to U.S. laws, private security guards performing tasks that can easily escalate into combat, unprosecuted instances of apparent fraud"

    If a contract is written and overseen correctly our government should simply not make the payments on the contracts until the service providers prove they have fulfilled the contracts correctly.

    If they are blaming no-bid contracts on understaffing, tha's just laughable.

    The point which is lost on you is that waste and fraud don't just happen. Either pople in the government are complicit(no-bid contracts) or or incompetent(overpayments on bad contracts).

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=Piper;4122751]Well according to the report "At least one in every six dollars of U.S. spending for contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, or more than $30 billion, has been wasted" and "Poor planning, federal understaffing and over-reliance led to billions of dollars of contracts awarded without effective competition, legions of foreign subcontractors not subject to U.S. laws, private security guards performing tasks that can easily escalate into combat, unprosecuted instances of apparent fraud"

    If a contract is written and overseen correctly our government should simply not make the payments on the contracts until the service providers prove they have fulfilled the contracts correctly.

    If they are blaming no-bid contracts on understaffing, tha's just laughable.

    The point which is lost on you is that waste and fraud don't just happen. Either pople in the government are complicit(no-bid contracts) or or incompetent(overpayments on bad contracts).[/QUOTE]

    The gov't pays their debt and until the Tea Party decided to grand stand we did it to keep our credit rating and let countries and/or companies want to do business with us.

    When you start two wars the gov't doesn't have the manpower to be everywhere and relied on companies to actually be honest. God forbid the private sector exploits the gov't for their own economic gain, that would never happen right?

  11. #11
    Hall Of Fame
    Charter JI Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    L.I. NY (where the Jets used to be from)
    Posts
    13,472
    [QUOTE=cr726;4122754]The gov't pays their debt and until the Tea Party decided to grand stand we did it to keep our credit rating and let countries and/or companies want to do business with us.

    When you start two wars the gov't doesn't have the manpower to be everywhere and relied on companies to actually be honest. God forbid the private sector exploits the gov't for their own economic gain, that would never happen right?[/QUOTE]

    What does the first part have to do with anything but a mindless partisan talking point?

    And 'relying on companies to be honest' is a foolish excuse for laziness and incompetence in finding suppliers and negotiating and enforcing appropriate contracts.

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=Piper;4122780]What does the first part have to do with anything but a mindless partisan talking point?

    And 'relying on companies to be honest' is a foolish excuse for laziness and incompetence in finding suppliers and negotiating and enforcing appropriate contracts.[/QUOTE]

    Oh so companies get a pass for being dishonest? It's gov't's fault and that's it?

  13. #13
    Hall Of Fame
    Charter JI Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    L.I. NY (where the Jets used to be from)
    Posts
    13,472
    [QUOTE=cr726;4122889]Oh so companies get a pass for being dishonest? It's gov't's fault and that's it?[/QUOTE]

    There is plenty of fault. But I don't expect people to be honest.
    It's the gov't's fault for the waste of money. If the company commit's fraud, the gov't should sever the contract.

    Company doesn't get paid.

    If you had a contract to have an extension put on your house, would you just pay them whatever amount they told you? Even if they said they did things outside the contract?

  14. #14
    Jets Insider VIP
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    6,344
    [QUOTE=PlumberKhan;4122022]Private is exactly the same as public.

    No difference.

    The amount of time on hold calling the DMV is the same as the amount of time on hold calling American Express. Nothing is efficient...public or private.[/QUOTE]

    I disagree. I had to turn on electric and gas service at my new house (in NJ) yesterday and both calls were fast and effiicent. Also since they PRIVATIZED NJ DMV it has been night and day. They increased the number of people working at my local DMV, they are polite, helpful and get you out fast.

    DMV in NJ is the perfect example of how privatizing a service can improve it.

  15. #15
    Jets Insider VIP
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Staten Island
    Posts
    8,969
    [QUOTE=Piper;4123161]There is plenty of fault. But I don't expect people to be honest.
    It's the gov't's fault for the waste of money. If the company commit's fraud, the gov't should sever the contract.

    Company doesn't get paid.

    If you had a contract to have an extension put on your house, would you just pay them whatever amount they told you? Even if they said they did things outside the contract?[/QUOTE]

    Fraudulent practices by private sector companies conducting contracted government work is usually only discovered once cost overruns reach high levels. The failure to notice/oversee these overruns and head them off are the fault of of the employer (government), but the fault of the overruns/corruption are on the employee (contractor).

    The example you gave is not analogous to governmental contract work as they do not function in the way you outlined. They are much more complex. There are many contract rules and stipulations that are put forth, such as minority bids, product specificity restrictions/requirements and past performance history to name a few. The vendor is not expected to ship/provide the product/services until the purchase order has been cut and often will extend that to actually receiving payment first.

    Again, to see a perfect example of how such a thing can occur, look hard at the Citytime scandal. At the forefront are multiple contractors, many of whom are widely respected. Sure, there are also a couple of municipal managers that were involved and helped in the corruption, but the largest offenders were from the "employee" side of things.

    There is fault to be found on both sides to be sure, but so far your view of things paints a "blame the victim" picture, which in this case is the government. That's horribly biased and Machiavellian, imho.

  16. #16
    Hall Of Fame
    Charter JI Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    L.I. NY (where the Jets used to be from)
    Posts
    13,472
    [QUOTE=Jetworks;4123188]Fraudulent practices by private sector companies conducting contracted government work is usually only discovered once cost overruns reach high levels. The failure to notice/oversee these overruns and head them off are the fault of of the employer (government), but the fault of the overruns/corruption are on the employee (contractor).

    The example you gave is not analogous to governmental contract work as they do not function in the way you outlined. They are much more complex. There are many contract rules and stipulations that are put forth, such as minority bids, product specificity restrictions/requirements and past performance history to name a few. The vendor is not expected to ship/provide the product/services until the purchase order has been cut and often will extend that to actually receiving payment first.

    Again, to see a perfect example of how such a thing can occur, look hard at the Citytime scandal. At the forefront are multiple contractors, many of whom are widely respected. Sure, there are also a couple of municipal managers that were involved and helped in the corruption, but the largest offenders were from the "employee" side of things.

    There is fault to be found on both sides to be sure, but so far your view of things paints a "blame the victim" picture, which in this case is the government. That's horribly biased and Machiavellian, imho.[/QUOTE]

    I simplify my statements for the benefit of keeping my posts succinct because there are millions of situations involving contracting and cannot nearly be covered and I wouldn't try.

    I was addressing the original report that cited waste and fraud and pointed out that many of those things can and should be covered by the contract specifically to protect against such things.

    The gov't contract is a windfall to private entities, the government should negotiate them that way and get terms that are favorable and enforceable.

    The bottom line that in many cases, the gov't entity is asleep at the switch once the ink is dry. Which is why it is all discovered after the fact.

    Do you think Walmart pays for things outside of the contract terms it negotiates with it's vendors and service providers?

  17. #17
    Jets Insider VIP
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Staten Island
    Posts
    8,969
    [QUOTE=Piper;4123200]I simplify my statements for the benefit of keeping my posts succinct because there are millions of situations involving contracting and cannot nearly be covered and I wouldn't try.

    I was addressing the original report that cited waste and fraud and pointed out that many of those things can and should be covered by the contract specifically to protect against such things.

    The gov't contract is a windfall to private entities, the government should negotiate them that way and get terms that are favorable and enforceable.

    The bottom line that in many cases, the gov't entity is asleep at the switch once the ink is dry. Which is why it is all discovered after the fact.

    Do you think Walmart pays for things outside of the contract terms it negotiates with it's vendors and service providers?[/QUOTE]

    I'm not really sure how you could address the protections you are proposing more than they already are. Government contracts (for NYC) are issued to vendors who pass a background check (something Bloomy is trying to get rid of) and are required to lawfully fulfill the terms of the contract as per specifications, inspections and sometimes even delivery dates, among other variables. There are also approved vendor stipulations that must be met.

    Of course, most of the time this also boils down to the lowest bidder, something that often precludes one from receiving top-notch service. Unfortunately compromises must be made in the interest of fiscal responsibilities to taxpayers, which is the purported reason for using the low-bid model.

    Again, no one is denying the culpability of government in the wasteful spending and outright corruption that seems inherent to public service contracts, but you seem content to absolve the private sector of any blame in exploiting or outright stealing from taxpayers.

    That example is worse than the previous. Wal-Mart is a for-profit, private sector, non-union business. Government agencies are non-profit, taxpayer accountable, and mostly unionized.

  18. #18
    Jets Insider VIP
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Van down by the river
    Posts
    23,083
    [QUOTE=Trades;4123184]I disagree. I had to turn on electric and gas service at my new house (in NJ) yesterday and both calls were fast and effiicent.[/QUOTE]

    Well...of course it was. You're turning ON your utilities, which means there's $$$ in it for them.

    Now...call them when you have a problem. Watch the difference. Just like the cable company. Getting your service turned on is easy...getting them to fix it when it isn't working right, not so easy. :D

  19. #19
    Hall Of Fame
    Charter JI Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    L.I. NY (where the Jets used to be from)
    Posts
    13,472
    [QUOTE=Jetworks;4123237]I'm not really sure how you could address the protections you are proposing more than they already are. Government contracts (for NYC) are issued to vendors who pass a background check (something Bloomy is trying to get rid of) and are required to lawfully fulfill the terms of the contract as per specifications, inspections and sometimes even delivery dates, among other variables. There are also approved vendor stipulations that must be met.

    Of course, most of the time this also boils down to the lowest bidder, something that often precludes one from receiving top-notch service. Unfortunately compromises must be made in the interest of fiscal responsibilities to taxpayers, which is the purported reason for using the low-bid model.

    Again, no one is denying the culpability of government in the wasteful spending and outright corruption that seems inherent to public service contracts, but you seem content to absolve the private sector of any blame in exploiting or outright stealing from taxpayers.

    That example is worse than the previous. Wal-Mart is a for-profit, private sector, non-union business. Government agencies are non-profit, taxpayer accountable, and mostly unionized.[/QUOTE]

    I don't understand your response to the discussion at hand. I addressed points in the original story related to fraud and overcharging under goverment contracts and no-bid contracts which were both blamed on government understaffing.

    Your response is off on a tangent that has nothing to do with any of that.

    That is one reason the Walmart analogy doesn't make sense to you.

    And whether or not the entity is private of Gov't has nothing to do with negotiating a beneficial and protective contract with service providors. Nothing at all.

  20. #20
    Hall Of Fame
    Charter JI Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    L.I. NY (where the Jets used to be from)
    Posts
    13,472
    [QUOTE=PlumberKhan;4123245]Well...of course it was. You're turning ON your utilities, which means there's $$$ in it for them.

    Now...call them when you have a problem. Watch the difference. Just like the cable company. Getting your service turned on is easy...getting them to fix it when it isn't working right, not so easy. :D[/QUOTE]

    It's very easy, if you threaten to go to a competitor. Can't do that with the gub'ment.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Follow Us