Posts Tagged legislation

Legal News: McCaskill, Webb Introduce Comprehensive Contracting Reform Legislation

Thanks to POGO for posting this news and I would love to hear some feedback from our community on this. As an American and as a tax payer, I am all about contracting reform that leads to savings and minimizing waste and fraud. As a contractor, I am also enthused because I want to see good companies rewarded, and poor companies punished in this industry. Any tools that help make this process called contingency contracting more efficient, an asset to national interest and security, and rewards good behavior/punishes bad when doing business with private industry, is a good thing.

Below I have posted two videos made by the Senators that describe this legislation and all of the work that went into it. POGO provided a basic summary of some of the key points in this legislation on their website and here is a PDF of the legislation.

I guess the only reservation I have is the secondary effects of legislation like this. It is very hard to tell how some of this stuff will impact the guy on the ground. Will it increase the quality of contracts out there?  Will it hinder my ability to provide security services on these contracts?  Will this legislation hamstring national security, or enhance it?

Another fear is that now that the wars are winding down, that the lessons learned about contracting during war time will disappear or be marginalized. They mentioned this fear in the videos below, and it is food for thought.

My final point is that bravo to both Senators for recognizing the value of contractors. We are the other ‘All Volunteer’ force that makes our current volunteer military system work. These wars would have been radically different if the forces and support forces were raised by a draft. I personally think that a military supported by a contractor force is far more effective than a ‘slave army’.

A slave army is one where many of the participants are there because they are forced to be there. There is quite the difference between a military and contractor force filled with folks who want to be there or want to fight, and a conscripted military partially filled with folks who do not want anything to do with fighting or being in a war.

This system makes all the difference for war planners and political leaders who need time and flexibility when fighting an enemy and/or country that is not easily defeated within a short period of time. They need that flexibility for the politics of war, and they need that flexibility when situations change dramatically in a war–like losing partners in a coalition.

Does it make it easier for a country to go to war?  Maybe. Or maybe we have developed a way of warfare that fits well within the mindset and fabric of a modern liberal democracy? It also fits well within the plans of strategists and leaders tasked with protecting this country and supporting national interest. –Matt

McCaskill, Webb Introduce Comprehensive Contracting Reform Legislation

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
On Wednesday, February 29, 2012, Senators Claire McCaskill and Jim Webb introduced legislation to overhaul the federal government’s planning, management, and oversight of wartime contracting.  The Senators’ comprehensive reform legislation (S. 2139) builds on the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan – an independent, bipartisan panel that Senators McCaskill and Webb created through legislation they introduced in 2007.
Press release here.



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Legal News: New Legislation–The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act

    Well, we will see how it goes.  I just hope that if this does pass through congress, that those who continue to use the argument that contractors are ‘above the law’ or immune, will finally shut up. We have the MEJA, UCMJ, SOFA’s and MOA’s of other countries and now they want to do CEJA? Phewww, and I am probably missing a few. Maybe the military, congress and countries should look at just enforcing what laws they already have on the books, as opposed to making up new ones all the time? But that would take leadership and effort.

    What I don’t want to see though, are laws that will endanger the lives of contractors or reduce their ability to properly defend  persons or property in this war. Or turn contractors into politically expedient targets of opportunity for unscrupulous politicians or agenda driven folks who could care less about the rights of individuals in my industry. Not to mention that our various enemies throughout this war, will use these laws to their advantage and create all and any situation that will force a violation of these laws.

     Overall, I support any laws that further legitimize this industry, but I am always wary of the final product and how that law is interpreted and used by all.  David Isenberg wrote a story about the CEJA as well, and you can check it out here. –Matt



Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Washington, D.C. –  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman David Price (D-N.C.) Tuesday introduced companion bills in the House and Senate to ensure accountability under U.S. law for American contractors and employees working abroad.  The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA) will close a gap in current law to make certain that American government employees and contractors are not immune from prosecution for crimes committed overseas.

The legislation follows efforts in previous Congresses by Leahy, Price and others, including then-Senator Barack Obama, to provide for prosecution of violations of U.S. law by Americans working overseas for the U.S. government.  Recent examples, including the violent rape of Jamie Leigh Jones, a contractor with Halliburton, while stationed in Iraq, and the killing of unarmed civilians in Baghdad by private security contractors with Blackwater, have further highlighted the need for this legislation.  Jones testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in October.

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Legal News: Rep. David Price Introduces the Transparency and Accountability in Security Contracting Act (HR 2177)

   Wow, I caught this over at Private Military Herald, and thought it to be pretty cool.  Rep. David Price is introducing some legislation that I think is fantastic.  And please read below what his intentions are, because this is from his personal blog. His goal is not to shut us down, his goal is to find ways to better manage this industry, so we can go out there and do great things for this country and even for this world. Just read this passage from below, and tell me that isn’t motivating?

      As pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia have surged, private vessels have increasingly sought protection from security contractors.  As the U.S. presence surges in Afghanistan, experts expect the presence of security contractors to surge as well.  And, as we struggle to confront genocide in Darfur, many have suggested using private contractors in place of U.S. or international troops.  It is critical that we have a regulatory regime in place to effectively manage and oversee security contractors now and in the future – whether in Afghanistan, Sudan, or on the high seas – and that’s why I recently reintroduced my Transparency and Accountability in Security Contracting Act  (H.R. 2177).

      That doesn’t sound like ‘PMC’s are not legitimate forces’ crazy talk or ‘abolish the bloodthirsty mercenaries’ talk, this actually sounds like…gulp…. should I say it?  Acceptance?  Oh say it isn’t so, and Max Weber is certainly rolling in his grave right now. lol  

     Seriously though, I think this is great and let’s see if it passes. In the comments section, I also mentioned that Incident Command would be a good one to throw in there as well, because then that would give us the ability to interact better in disaster relief operations nationally. PSC’s and PMC’s could also be registered in the Federal databases for disaster relief or national security related issues for that matter. I brought up the example of the Katrina Hurricane, and how PSC’s and PMC’s could have used Incident Command, but didn’t because it wasn’t mandated.  That if we were following the 2004 DHS mandate about such things, that effort could have been more organized and more efficient, which absolutely equates to saving lives when time is everything in those types of incidents.

   I also brought up the Federal Fire Services here in the US, and how they have organized and standardized fire fighting protocols for both the federal agencies and private industries involved.  I have talked about that here on FJ before, and this would be one way to implement the legislation outlined below. If any aides for Rep. Price are reading this, please feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more, or use the search feature on FJ.  –Matt


Better Oversight on Private Security Contractors (Rep. David Price)

May 1st, 2009

When I first started working to improve management and oversight of Private Security Contractors (PSCs) in 2004, observers described Iraq as a Wild West – a place where PSCs could shoot up buildings and people without any law enforcement in sight.  Indeed, between 2004 and 2007, there were numerous incidents in which rogue contractors attacked innocent civilians without any repercussion.  The infamous 2007 incident in which Blackwater contractors killed 17 civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square was the shocking coda to this era.

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