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Fight Against ISIS Gets Independent Watchdog as McCaskill’s Wartime Contracting Reforms Kick-in
Senator’s landmark legislation that overhauled wartime contracting practices requires designation of Inspector General to guard against waste, fraud, abuse of taxpayer dollars overseas
WASHINGTON – Nearly two years to the day after Congress passed into law Senator Claire McCaskill’s sweeping overhaul of wartime contracting practices, military action against the so-called “Islamic State,” or ISIS, is triggering those reforms to ensure accountability and oversight of the effort.
McCaskill’s wartime contracting reforms, the most substantial overhaul of how the federal government contracts during wartime since World War II, gained final approval in December 2012 after a sustained six-year effort. That effort made good on a campaign pledge McCaskill issued in 2006.
One provision of the Comprehensive Contingency Contracting Reform Act requires the designation of a lead Inspector General to guard against waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars in overseas military contingencies—and requires that Inspector General to make regular reports to Congress.
The Defense Department announced this week that Jon T. Rymer, the Pentagon’s Inspector General, will serve as the lead inspector general for Operation Inherent Resolve, and that Rymer will submit biannual reports to Congress, with the first to be delivered in April.
“This is exactly the kind of accountability and oversight that’s needed to protect taxpayer dollars when America takes military action—especially after the stunning waste we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said McCaskill, a former prosecutor and Missouri State Auditor. “As the critical mission against ISIS is executed, these reforms should help strengthen Americans’ confidence that our resources are being used effectively and efficiently.”
McCaskill’s legislation has improved contracting practices and accountability across the federal government by:
- Elevating oversight responsibility, improving management structures, expanding planning requirements, and reforming contracting practices during overseas contingency operations;
- Requiring departments and agencies to assess contracting risk in overseas contingency operations and reduce unnecessary reliance in areas including private security contracting;
- Establishing responsibilities for Inspectors General to oversee all aspects of overseas contingency operations;
- Improving the contracting process through greater transparency, competition, and professional education; and
- Instituting additional provisions for accountability by contractors and the federal government, including limits that require proof that development projects are sustainable, prior to providing funding for such projects in overseas contingencies.
McCaskill’s wartime contracting provisions build upon recommendations issued in 2011 by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, created through legislation passed in 2007 by McCaskill and former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, and modeled after President Harry Truman’s crusade to combat the wasteful war profiteering that occurred during World War II. In its final report to Congress, issued after three years of investigation, the Commission found that the U.S. had squandered up to $60 billion through waste and fraud on contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/wartimecontracting to learn more about McCaskill’s work to reform wartime contracting practices.