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Contingency Contracting: Further Improvements Needed in Agency Tracking of Contractor Personnel and Contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan

Description: A statement of record issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This statement discusses ongoing efforts by the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of State (State), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to track information on contractor personnel and contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Reliable, meaningful data on contractors and the services they provide are necessary to inform agency decisions on when and how to effectively use contractors, provide support services to contractors, and ensure that contractors are properly managed and overseen. The importance of such data is heightened by the unprecedented reliance on contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan and the evolving U.S. presence in the two countries. The statement focuses on (1) how information on contractor personnel and contracts can assist agencies in managing and overseeing their use of contractors and (2) the status of DOD, State, and USAID's efforts to track statutorily-required information on contractor personnel and contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as our recent recommendations to address the shortcomings we identified in their efforts. This statement is drawn from our October 2009 report on contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which was mandated by section 863 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (NDAA for FY2008), and a related April 2009 testimony. Our prior work was prepared in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives."
Date: November 2, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Contingency Contracting: DOD, State, and USAID Contracts and Contractor Personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Departments of Defense (DOD) and State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have relied extensively on contractors to carry out a range of services in Iraq and Afghanistan. While recognizing the benefits of using contractors, GAO and others have noted the challenges and risks associated with an increased reliance on contractors and the ability of agencies to manage their growing number of contractors. As directed by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, GAO analyzed DOD, State, and USAID data on contracting activities in Iraq and Afghanistan for fiscal year 2007 and the first half of fiscal year 2008 including (1) the number and value of contracts and the extent they were awarded competitively; (2) the number of contractor personnel, including those performing security functions; and (3) the number of contractor personnel who were killed or wounded. GAO also reviewed the status of the three agencies' memorandum of understanding (MOU) related to maintaining data on contracts and contractor personnel. GAO reviewed selected contract files and compared personnel data to other available sources to assess the reliability of the data reported by the agencies. GAO provided a draft of this report to DOD, State, USAID, and the Department of Labor for comment. State and USAID provided technical comments that were incorporated where appropriate."
Date: October 1, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Contingency Contracting: State and USAID Made Progress Assessing and Implementing Changes, but Further Actions Needed

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of State (State) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) identified a number of changes needed to improve contract support in overseas contingency operations, but have not completed implementation efforts. As required by the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), both agencies determined that their organizational structures were effective, though State created a new regional Contract Management Office to better support contracting efforts in Iraq. In October 2013, State approved a number of actions to improve policies and procedures, including specific initiatives in acquisition planning and risk management, among others, and intends to institutionalize these changes in its Foreign Affairs Manual in 2014. State generally has not, however, developed plans to assess the impact of these initiatives. Federal internal control standards highlight the importance of managers comparing actual performance to expected results. Accordingly, continued management attention is needed to ensure that these efforts achieve their intended objectives. USAID focused its efforts on areas such as improving contractor performance evaluations and risk management. GAO found that some USAID missions and offices that operate in contingency environments have developed procedures and practices, but USAID did not consider whether these should be institutionalized agency-wide because USAID officials interpreted the legislative requirement to include only a review of agency-wide policies. As a result, USAID may have missed opportunities to leverage its institutional knowledge to better support future contingencies. USAID established a new working group in October 2013 to develop lessons learned, toolkits, and training and is expected to complete its efforts in late 2014. This working group could further assess the policies and procedures developed by the missions and offices, thus potentially affording USAID an opportunity to better leverage its institutional knowledge. State and USAID have ...
Date: February 14, 2014
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Contingency Contracting: DOD, State, and USAID Are Taking Actions to Track Contracts and Contractor Personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Departments of Defense (DOD) and State (State) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have relied extensively on contractors to support troops and civilian personnel and carry out reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. While recognizing the benefits of using contactors, GAO and others have noted the risks and challenges associated with relying on contractors. To help increase contractor oversight, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 directed DOD, State, and USAID to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan that identified a database to track information on contractor personnel and contracts performed in the two countries. In their July 2008 MOU, the agencies designated the Synchronized Pre-Deployment and Operational Tracker database (SPOT) as their system for tracking the required information. GAO's testimony addresses how contractor personnel and contract information can aid agencies in managing contracts and the status of SPOT's implementation. It is drawn from GAO's ongoing and prior contingency contracting work. This work involved meeting with agency officials, including those in Iraq, and reviewing agency documents. GAO obtained agency views on previously unreported information, which the agencies generally agreed with."
Date: April 1, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Contingency Contracting: Observations on Actions Needed to Address Systemic Challenges

Description: A statement of record issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense (DOD) obligated about $367 billion in fiscal year 2010 to acquire goods and services to meet its mission and support its operations, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan. GAO's work, as well as that of others, has documented shortcomings in DOD's strategic and acquisition planning, contract administration and oversight, and acquisition workforce. These are challenges that need to be addressed by DOD and by the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as they carry out their missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and prepare for future contingencies. Today's statement discusses (1) contract management challenges faced by DOD, including those that take on heightened significance in a contingency environment; (2) actions DOD has taken and those needed to address these challenges; and (3) similar challenges State and USAID face. The statement is drawn from GAO's body of work on DOD contingency contracting, contract management, and workforce, as well as prior reports on State and USAID's contracting and workforce issues."
Date: April 25, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Contingency Contracting: Improvements Needed in Management of Contractors Supporting Contract and Grant Administration in Iraq and Afghanistan

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Departments of Defense (DOD) and State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have relied extensively on contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, including using contractors to help administer other contracts or grants. Relying on contractors to perform such functions can provide benefits but also introduces potential risks, such as conflicts of interest, that should be considered and managed. Pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, GAO reviewed (1) the extent to which DOD, State, and USAID rely on contractors to perform contract and grant administration in Iraq and Afghanistan; (2) the reasons behind decisions to use such contractors and whether the decisions are guided by strategic workforce planning; and (3) whether agencies considered and mitigated related risks. GAO analyzed relevant federal and agency policies and agency contract data, and conducted file reviews and interviews for 32 contracts selected for case studies."
Date: April 12, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Contingency Contracting: Improved Planning and Management Oversight Needed to Address Challenges with Closing Contracts

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since 2002, DOD obligated at least $166.6 billion on contracts supporting reconstruction and stabilization efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these contingency contracts, in particular those awarded in Iraq, need to be closed. Contract closeout is a key step to ensure the government receives the goods and services it purchased at the agreed upon price and, if done timely, provides opportunities to use unspent funds for other needs and reduces exposure to other financial risks. To assess DOD's efforts to close its Iraq contracts, GAO examined the (1) number of contracts that are eligible for closeout and the extent to which they will be closed within required time frames, (2) factors contributing to contracts not being closed within required time frames, (3) steps DOD took to manage the financial risks associated with not closing contracts within required time frames, and (4) extent to which DOD captured and implemented lessons learned from closing its Iraq contracts. GAO reviewed contingency contracting guidance, analyzed contract and closeout data for contracts awarded between fiscal years 2003 and 2010, and interviewed DOD officials from six organizations responsible for awarding or closing out these contracts."
Date: September 27, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Contingency Contracting: DOD, State, and USAID Continue to Face Challenges in Tracking Contractor Personnel and Contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Departments of Defense (DOD) and State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have relied extensively on contractors to provide a range of services in Iraq and Afghanistan, but as GAO has previously reported, the agencies have faced challenges in obtaining sufficient information to plan and manage their use of contractors. As directed by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, GAO analyzed DOD, State, and USAID data for Iraq and Afghanistan for FY 2008 and the first half of FY 2009 on the (1) status of agency efforts to track information on contracts and contractor personnel; (2) number of contractor personnel; (3) number of killed and wounded contractors; and (4) number and value of contracts and extent to which they were awarded competitively. GAO reviewed selected contracts and compared personnel data to other available sources to assess the reliability of agency-reported data."
Date: October 1, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Contingency Contracting: Agency Actions to Address Recommendations by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In summary, DOD reported having taken or planned actions that directly align with about half of the CWC recommendations applicable to it, and State and USAID each reported having taken or planned actions that directly align with about one-third of the recommendations applicable to each of them. Officials from the three agencies explained that for the remaining recommendations no actions were taken or planned that directly aligned with the specific recommendation. This was because, for example, the agencies had determined that existing policies or practices already meet the intent of the recommendations or had disagreed with the recommendations. The following are examples of actions that DOD, State, and USAID have taken or planned that directly align with specific CWC recommendations:"
Date: August 1, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department