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
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.