Military Operations: Background Screenings of Contractor Employees Supporting Deployed Forces May Lack Critical Information, but U.S. Forces Take Steps to Mitigate the Risk Contractors May Pose

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. military has long relied on contractors to provide a variety of goods and services to U.S. forces around the world, including those located in Iraq and Afghanistan. These services range from maintaining advanced weapon systems and setting up and operating communications networks to providing gate and perimeter security, interpreting foreign languages, preparing meals and doing laundry for the troops. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) uses contractors for a variety of reasons, including a lack of skilled and qualified military personnel and the need to conserve ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. September 22, 2006.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. military has long relied on contractors to provide a variety of goods and services to U.S. forces around the world, including those located in Iraq and Afghanistan. These services range from maintaining advanced weapon systems and setting up and operating communications networks to providing gate and perimeter security, interpreting foreign languages, preparing meals and doing laundry for the troops. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) uses contractors for a variety of reasons, including a lack of skilled and qualified military personnel and the need to conserve scarce skills to ensure that they will be available for future deployments. DOD estimates that it has more than 50,000 contractor employees in support of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Depending on the types of services being offered, contractor employees may be U.S. citizens, or third country nationals, and contractors are often encouraged to hire host country nationals to help rebuild local economies and get local nationals back to work. While contractor employees can provide significant benefits to U.S. forces, contractor employees can also pose a risk to U.S. troops. For example, the terrorists who attacked the U.S.S. Cole were suspected to be contractor employees associated with its refueling operations. This attack led military officials to realize the risk that contractors could pose to the safety and security of U.S. installations and military personnel. The risk is increased when U.S. forces are involved in a military operation against an insurgency, as they are in Iraq. Background screenings of contractor employees can provide some insight into the likelihood that the employee may cause harm to U.S. troops and may deter some criminals and terrorists from working at U.S. installations. Although DOD is not required to screen contractor employees, in some situations, such as in Iraq, DOD is using biometrics to screen contractor employees for past criminal activity and security threats. GAO was asked to review the process used to screen contractor employees who support U.S. deployed forces. Specifically, we were asked to determine the ability of DOD and contractors that support deployed forces to conduct comprehensive background screenings of employees and the steps installation commanders have taken to protect their troops."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 22, 2006

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Military Operations: Background Screenings of Contractor Employees Supporting Deployed Forces May Lack Critical Information, but U.S. Forces Take Steps to Mitigate the Risk Contractors May Pose, text, September 22, 2006; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc296709/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.