WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today released a report detailing the Pentagon’s systemic mismanagement of the ‘Legacy’ program, a project to provide counterinsurgency intelligence experts to mentor and train Afghan National Security Forces. A previous nonpublic Defense Contract Audit Agency review of the contract—conducted after McCaskill began oversight over the program—showed that taxpayers were on the hook for over $51 million in questionable costs, including Porsches, Bentleys, and other luxury vehicles.
The report McCaskill released today reveals more information on how the contracts were awarded, the lack of sufficient Pentagon oversight, and details on the company’s current subcontract—despite the Pentagon having identified its waste and potential fraud.
“This subcontractor brazenly wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, and potentially committed outright fraud,” McCaskill said. “The government did a report on this egregious waste and abuse, yet held no one accountable, and the company continues to work on a government contract. The contractor should’ve been permanently disbarred years ago and I’m going to continue investigating this issue until I’m absolutely sure that not a single additional taxpayer dollar goes to this company.”
READ THE REPORT: Fast Cars, Easy Money: How the Pentagon Mismanaged the Afghanistan Legacy Program
The report’s key findings include:
- Imperatis (formerly Jorge Scientific, who itself had been credibly accused of shocking contracting abuses) subcontracted to New Century Consulting (NCC) for the vast majority of the work for the Legacy program. Despite egregious waste and an ongoing investigation of NCC by the Army’s Criminal Investigative Command, the Defense Department continues to allow NCC to receive government contracts. In April 2016, NCC entered into a subcontract with a prime Defense Department contractor, Raytheon, that continues to this day.
- The Pentagon used a contract vehicle that requested research and development proposals in basic and applied sciences, never mentioned training or mentoring security forces, and did not require competitive bidding. Imperatis based its successful proposal off of three words of the 147-page Pentagon solicitation.
- While the program office at the Pentagon, Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, claimed it had no influence or knowledge of NCC’s pursuit of subcontractor work on the program, it notified NCC that Imperatis was in line to win the Legacy Program contracts and made contact arrangements for NCC.
- At the time the program was created, the program manager for the office in charge of the Legacy Program was Richard Higgins, a subsequent White House aide whose controversial statements ultimately resulted in his widely-publicized dismissal from the National Security Council in 2017.
The report includes details from the Army stating that had McCaskill’s 2013 contracting reform legislation been in place at the time the Legacy contracts were awarded, there would have been additional requirements before NCC could have served as a subcontractor on the project. The Army acknowledged it might have disallowed NCC’s role under McCaskill’s legislation.
The report details responses McCaskill received from the Pentagon to questions she asked last year after the Defense Contract Audit Agency reviewed the “Legacy East” contract, finding that NCC billed over $50 million in questionable costs to the Army, including seven luxury vehicles, $1,500 on alcohol, and $42,000 in cash on automatic weapons despite regulations or contract provisions prohibiting such expenditures.
The Defense Contract Audit Agency conducted its review after McCaskill had first demanded answers over an earlier audit of the contract by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction that revealed millions of dollars in questionable costs. The primary contractor Imperatis, now insolvent, has previously drawn fire from McCaskill on multiple occasions, including in 2012 when video surfaced of Imperatis personnel intoxicated in what former employees called a pattern of inappropriate behavior. In 2016, Imperatis defaulted on a major IT contract that had been awarded after McCaskill repeatedly raised concerns.
McCaskill is a leading voice in the Senate for saving taxpayer dollars through contracting reform and oversight. McCaskill waged a successful six-year effort to crack down on waste, fraud, and abuse in wartime contracting. McCaskill has also successfully expanded protections for whistleblowers to government contractors, subcontractors, and others who the federal government directly or indirectly hires through bipartisan bills that have been signed into law.