oversight

Operational Contract Support: Sustained DOD Leadership Needed to Better Prepare for Future Contingencies

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-09-12.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                                United States Government Accountability Office

GAO                             Testimony
                                Before the Committee on Armed Services,
                                House of Representatives


                                OPERATIONAL
For Release on Delivery
Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

                                CONTRACT SUPPORT
                                Sustained DOD Leadership
                                Needed to Better Prepare
                                for Future Contingencies
                                Statement of Timothy J. DiNapoli, Acting Director
                                Acquisition and Sourcing Management




GAO-12-1026T
                                                September 12, 2012

                                                OPERATIONAL CONTRACT SUPPORT
                                                Sustained DOD Leadership Needed to Better Prepare for
                                                Future Contingencies
Highlights of GAO-12-1026T, a testimony
before the Committee on Armed Services,
House of Representatives.




Why GAO Did This Study                          What GAO Found
DOD has relied heavily on contractors           Future overseas contingencies are inherently uncertain, but effective planning for
to support its operations in Iraq and           operational contract support can help reduce the risks posed by those
Afghanistan and is likely to continue to        uncertainties. The Department of Defense (DOD) has made an effort to
depend on contractors in future                 emphasize the importance of operational contract support at the strategic level
operations. For over 15 years, GAO              through new policy and guidance and ongoing efforts. For example, in January
has made recommendations intended               2011, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum outlining actions and
to improve DOD’s ability to manage              indicating a need to influence a cultural shift in how the department manages
and oversee operational contract                contracted support in a contingency environment. DOD has also recognized the
support in deployed locations, which
                                                need to translate strategic requirements into plans at the operational level, but
DOD has taken some actions to
                                                GAO’s past work has shown that DOD’s progress in anticipating contractor
address. GAO has called for a cultural
change within DOD to emphasize the
                                                support in sufficient detail in operation plans has been slow. As a result, DOD
importance of institutionalizing                has risked not fully understanding the extent to which it will be relying on
operational contract support across the         contractors to support combat operations and being unprepared to provide the
department. As DOD’s current efforts            necessary management and oversight of deployed contractor personnel. One
in Afghanistan draw closer to a                 way to help address this risk is to ensure military commanders and senior
conclusion and DOD turns its attention          leaders are cognizant of the roles contractors have in supporting DOD’s efforts
to other challenges, the department             and the role that military personnel have in managing and overseeing
needs to guard against allowing the             contractors. While DOD has taken steps to develop additional training, we have
lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan to            reported that commanders and senior leaders are not required to take these
be forgotten.                                   courses before assuming their contract management roles and responsibilities.
This testimony addresses three areas            In contingencies, DOD relies on a wide range of individuals to play critical roles in
where sustained leadership is needed            defining requirements, overseeing contractors, and helping to ensure that the
if DOD is to effectively prepare for the        warfighter receives the goods and services needed in a timely manner. GAO and
next contingency. These areas pertain           others have identified numerous instances in Iraq and Afghanistan where these
to (1) planning for the use of                  individuals were in short supply, were not properly trained, or were not fully
operational contract support,                   aware of their responsibilities. DOD leadership has recognized the need to
(2) ensuring that DOD possesses the             rebuild, train, and support a highly qualified and knowledgeable acquisition
workforce needed to effectively
                                                workforce. While DOD has made some progress in growing the workforce, it
manage and oversee contracts and
                                                continues to face challenges in its strategic planning efforts. Further, in March
contractors, and (3) improving DOD’s
ability to account for contracts and            2012, GAO reported that although DOD had taken steps to enhance training for
contractors.                                    oversight personnel, the department continued to experience challenges
                                                ensuring that it had a sufficient number of oversight personnel with the subject-
This statement is drawn from GAO’s              matter expertise and training needed to perform their contract management and
broad body of work on DOD’s efforts to          oversight duties in Afghanistan.
plan for operational contract support
and manage and account for                      DOD’s ability to effectively leverage operational contract support in contingency
contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan—            environments also depends on having appropriate tools to account for contracts
including work reflected in GAO’s               and contractor personnel. These tools can provide information that DOD can use
February 2011 high-risk update, GAO’s           to help mitigate risks, including tracking which contracts DOD has awarded,
related testimonies, and GAO’s recent           where contractor personnel are located, and whether potential vendors or
reports on operational contract support         contractor personnel may pose a potential risk to U.S. interests. DOD has made
and other contracting issues.                   efforts to develop such tools, but it is not certain that these efforts will result in
                                                long-term solutions. For example, while DOD has designated a system for
                                                tracking specific information on certain contracts and associated personnel in
                                                Iraq and Afghanistan, the department lacks reliable data sources to report on its
View GAO-12-1026T. For more information,
contact Timothy J. DiNapoli at (202) 512-4841   contracts and contractor personnel. Without attention to improving the tools
or dinapolit@gao.gov.                           needed to effectively account for contracts and contractor personnel, DOD may
                                                continue to face challenges in future contingencies.
                                                                                          United States Government Accountability Office
Chairman McKeon, Ranking Member Smith, and Members of the
Committee:

I am pleased to be here today to discuss how the Department of Defense
(DOD) can enhance its ability to effectively use contractors in future
contingencies. Over the past decade, DOD, along with other federal
agencies, has relied extensively on contractors for operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan. According to DOD, at the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom,
the number of contractor personnel exceeded the number of military
personnel in Iraq, and a similar situation is occurring in support of
Operation Enduring Freedom. For over 15 years, GAO has made
numerous recommendations intended to improve DOD’s ability to
manage and oversee operational contract support, which DOD has taken
some actions to address. While the operational contract support-related
challenges that GAO has identified are, in many respects, emblematic of
broader systemic issues that DOD faces, the significance and impact of
these challenges are heightened in a contingency environment. Since
1992, we have designated DOD contract management as a high-risk
area. 1 In our February 2011 report on high-risk areas, we reported that
DOD needed to, among other things, ensure that its acquisition workforce
was sized, trained, and equipped to meet the department’s needs and
fully integrate operational contract support throughout the department
through education and predeployment training.

Given the longstanding and recurring nature of the issues we identified, in
June 2010 we called for a cultural change in DOD—one that emphasized
an awareness of operational contract support throughout all entities of the
department to help address the challenges faced in ongoing and future
contingency operations. 2 We recognize that effecting a cultural change is
a major undertaking for organizations, especially for an organization as
large and multi-faceted as DOD. Effecting a cultural change involves, for
example, developing and communicating a vision for the future,
neutralizing impediments to change, identifying stakeholders in the
change process, and promoting continued support from senior leaders. 3


1
    GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-11-278 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 16, 2011).
2
 GAO, Warfighter Support: Cultural Change Needed to Improve How DOD Plans for and
Manages Operational Contract Support, GAO-10-829T (Washington, D.C.: June 29,
2010).
3
 GAO, Aviation Acquisition: A Comprehensive Strategy Is Needed for Cultural Change at
FAA, GAO/RCED-96-159 (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 22, 1996).




Page 1                                                                    GAO-12-1026T
Further, achieving a cultural change is time-consuming—efforts typically
take 5 or more years to fully implement. DOD appears to share our view
of needing to make fundamental changes in how it approaches the issue
of operational contract support. In January 2011, the Secretary of
Defense issued a memorandum in which he expressed concern about the
risks introduced by DOD’s current level of dependency on contractors and
the need to better plan for operational contract support in the future. The
Secretary outlined a number of actions and indicated a need to
institutionalize the changes necessary to influence a cultural shift in how
the department views, and accounts and plans for contracted support in a
contingency environment while the lessons learned from recent
operations are fresh.

In my statement today, I will highlight three interrelated areas of
operational contract support in which sustained leadership is needed if
DOD is to achieve meaningful change and effectively prepare for the next
contingency. These areas pertain to (1) planning for the use of
operational contract support, (2) ensuring that DOD possesses the
workforce needed to effectively manage and oversee contracts and
contractors, and (3) improving DOD’s ability to account for contracts and
contractors. My statement is based on our broad body of work on DOD’s
efforts to plan for operational contract support in Iraq and Afghanistan and
contract management issues—including work reflected in our February
2011 high-risk update, our related April 2011 and June 2010 testimonies,
and our recent reports on operational contract support and other
contracting issues. 4 This work was conducted in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards
require that we plan and perform the audit 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.




4
 GAO, Contingency Contracting: Observations on Actions Needed to Address Systemic
Challenges, GAO-11-580 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 25, 2011). Also see the Related GAO
Products at the end of this statement.




Page 2                                                                 GAO-12-1026T
                       Future overseas contingencies are inherently uncertain, but effective
Planning for the Use   planning—at both the strategic and operational levels—can help DOD
of Operational         reduce the risks posed by those uncertainties. At a strategic level,
                       planning is an important element in a results-oriented framework; it can
Contract Support       help DOD clarify priorities and unify the department in pursuit of common
                       goals for operational contract support. Similarly, at an operational level,
                       effective planning can help better define contract support requirements to
                       avoid potential waste and abuse and facilitate the continuity of services.
                       In Iraq and Afghanistan, we previously reported that insufficient planning
                       for operational contract support may lead to shortages in contractor
                       personnel available to perform key functions, such as not having enough
                       personnel to maintain and repair mission essential vehicles and
                       equipment. 5 Additionally, due in part to limited operational planning for
                       contracted support, we previously reported that DOD faced challenges
                       planning for certain aspects of contracting and contractor management in
                       Iraq during the drawdown. 6

                       DOD has recognized the need to improve its planning for operational
                       contract support. In addition to the Secretary’s January 2011
                       memorandum, DOD has communicated and emphasized the importance
                       of operational contract support at the strategic level through the issuance
                       of new policy and guidance and ongoing efforts. 7 For example:

                       •   In December 2011, DOD issued regulations establishing policy,
                           assigning responsibilities, and providing procedures for operational
                           contract support. The regulations were issued as an interim final rule
                           published in the Federal Register and as Department of Defense




                       5
                        GAO, Warfighter Support: Continued Actions Needed by DOD to Improve and
                       Institutionalize Contractor Support in Contingency Operations, GAO-10-551T
                       (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 17, 2010).
                       6
                        GAO, Operation Iraqi Freedom: Actions Needed to Facilitate the Efficient Drawdown of
                       U.S. Forces and Equipment from Iraq, GAO-10-376 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 19, 2010)
                       and Iraq Drawdown: Opportunities Exist to Improve Equipment Visibility, Contractor
                       Demobilization, and Clarity of Post-2011 DOD Role, GAO-11-774 (Washington, D.C.:
                       Sept. 16, 2011).
                       7
                        We are currently assessing DOD’s efforts to implement the Secretary’s January 2011
                       memorandum and expect to issue a report in early 2013.




                       Page 3                                                                    GAO-12-1026T
    Instruction 3020.41. 8

•   According to DOD officials, in 2011, the department revised its
    Guidance for Employment of the Force and the Joint Strategic
    Capabilities Plan to emphasize contractor management, and it is
    currently revising another core piece of guidance, Joint Publication 4-
    10, to help further integrate operational contract support into planning
    efforts.

•   In 2010, DOD established the Operational Contract Support
    Functional Capability Integration Board, which is responsible for a
    variety of tasks including conducting independent assessments and
    analysis of operational contract support capabilities of the military;
    advocating for operational contract support capability development in
    a variety of venues; and establishing and assessing ways to improve
    measures of performance, metrics, and processes for measuring
    operational contract support readiness. This board is drafting an
    Operational Contract Support Action Plan to outline steps the
    department plans to take to close identified gaps in operational
    contract support capabilities.

DOD guidance has recognized the need to translate strategic
requirements into operation plans for some time. In this regard, guidance
indicates that military commanders must ensure that requisite operational
contract support planning and guidance are in place for applicable
contingency operations; one joint publication even suggests that planning
for contractors should be at a level of detail on par with that for military
forces. Our past work, however, has shown that DOD’s progress in
anticipating contractor support in operation plans at a sufficient level of
detail has been slow. For example, we have previously reported that
since February 2006, DOD has required planners to include an
operational contract support annex—known as Annex W—in the
combatant commands’ most detailed operation plans, if applicable to the
plan. However, as of February 2010, only 4 operation plans with Annex
Ws had been approved by DOD and planners had drafted an additional
30 Annex Ws for plans. 9 Further, according to combatant command


8
 Operational Contract Support, 76 Fed. Reg. 81,807 (Dec. 29, 2011) (to be codified at 32
C.F.R. pt. 158); Department of Defense Instruction 3020.41, Operational Contract Support
(OCS) (Dec. 20, 2011).
9
 GAO, Warfighter Support: DOD Needs to Improve Its Planning for Using Contractors to
Support Future Military Operations, GAO-10-472 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 30, 2010).




Page 4                                                                    GAO-12-1026T
officials, most of the annexes that had been drafted at that time restated
broad language from existing DOD guidance on the use of contractors to
support deployed forces but included few details on the type of
contractors needed to execute a given plan. We also found shortcomings
in guidance for planners on how and when to develop contract support
annexes, which resulted in a mismatch of expectations between senior
DOD leadership and combatant command planners regarding the degree
to which Annex Ws would contain specific information on contract support
requirements.

Overall, we found that requiring consideration of potential contract
support requirements raised awareness of the importance of operational
contract support and led to some improvements in planning for contract
support. Nevertheless, we found that DOD still risked not fully
understanding the extent to which it would be relying on contractors to
support combat operations and being unprepared to provide the
necessary management and oversight of deployed contractor personnel.
One way to help address this risk is to ensure military commanders and
senior leaders are cognizant of the roles contractors have in supporting
DOD’s efforts, as well as the role that DOD military personnel have in
managing and overseeing contractors. In 2006 and again in 2012, we
recommended that operational contract support training, with a particular
emphasis on contingency operations, be included in professional military
education to ensure that all military personnel expected to perform
contract or contractor management duties, including commanders and
senior leaders, receive training prior to deployment. 10 Military
commanders and senior leaders have used contractors to perform a
variety of services to help their units execute the mission, including life
support, security, and communications support. We previously found that
DOD officials in Afghanistan did not always receive training that
adequately prepared them for their contract management and oversight
duties, and according to DOD officials, the training did not necessarily
make them sufficiently capable for their particular assignments. Further,
contracting personnel have told us that commanders, particularly those in
combat units, do not perceive operational contract support as a warfighter



10
  GAO, Operational Contract Support: Management and Oversight Improvements Needed
in Afghanistan, GAO-12-290, (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 29, 2012) and Military Operations:
High-Level DOD Action Needed to Address Long-standing Problems with Management
and Oversight of Contractors Supporting Deployed Forces, GAO-07-145 (Washington,
D.C.: Dec. 18, 2006).




Page 5                                                                  GAO-12-1026T
                      task. DOD has developed a program of instruction on contingency
                      acquisition to be taught at some of the military and senior staff colleges.
                      However, we have previously reported that commanders and senior
                      leaders are not required to take these courses before assuming their
                      contract management roles and responsibilities.


                      In contingencies, having the right people, with the right skills, in the right
Ensuring That DOD     numbers can make the difference between success and failure. These
Possesses the         individuals—whether acquisition professionals or non-acquisition
                      personnel, including military commanders—play critical roles in defining
Workforce Needed to   requirements, managing and overseeing contracts and contractors, and
Effectively Manage    helping to ensure that the warfighter receives the goods and services
and Oversee           needed in a timely manner while serving to mitigate the risks of fraud,
                      waste, and abuse.
Contracts and
Contractors           Our work, as well as the work of others in the accountability community,
                      has identified numerous instances in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere
                      where these individuals were in short supply, were not properly trained, or
                      were not fully aware of their responsibilities. For example, in 2010, we
                      found that DOD relied on contractors to support contract administration
                      functions in Iraq and Afghanistan, in part because of a shortage of
                      government personnel to perform these functions. 11 In March 2012, we
                      reported that DOD oversight personnel in Afghanistan did not always
                      receive adequate training for their contract management duties, and that
                      DOD continued to lack a sufficient number of oversight personnel for
                      contracts in Afghanistan, which in some cases resulted in projects being
                      completed without sufficient government oversight and problems not
                      being identified until projects were already completed. 12 Further, we have
                      found in the past that some commanders had to be advised by contract
                      oversight personnel that they had to provide certain support, such as
                      housing, force protection, and meals, to contractors.

                      DOD leadership has recognized the need to rebuild, train, and support a
                      highly qualified and knowledgeable acquisition workforce as a strategic



                      11
                        GAO, Contingency Contracting: Improvements Needed in Management of Contractors
                      Supporting Contract and Grant Administration in Iraq and Afghanistan, GAO-10-357
                      (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 12, 2010).
                      12
                           GAO-12-290.




                      Page 6                                                               GAO-12-1026T
priority. This workforce, which was downsized considerably through the
1990s, has faced increases in the volume and complexity of work
because of increases in services contracting, ongoing contingency
operations, and other critical missions. We reported in June 2012 that,
according to DOD, the size of DOD’s civilian acquisition workforce
increased from 118,445 in fiscal year 2009 to about 135,981 in December
2011, a gain of 17,536. 13 According to DOD officials, 5,855 individuals
were hired using the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund
with other growth attributed to hiring new staff using other funding
sources, moving contracted work to government employees through
insourcing, and reclassifying existing DOD staff as acquisition staff. For
example, DOD provided $321 million from the fund to help support
increasing the size of the Defense Contract Management Agency
(DCMA) and the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), two key
contract oversight organizations. Last year, we reported that DCMA
officials identified a number of ways deployments of DCMA personnel in
support of contingencies—which more than tripled over the past 5
years—have affected the agency’s other missions, which include
providing contract administration services for DOD buying activities and
working directly with defense contractors to help ensure that goods and
services are delivered on time, at projected cost, and that they meet
performance requirements. 14 DCAA has also faced challenges in recent
years given its limited workforce and growing workload. DOD continues to
face challenges in strategic workforce planning for its acquisition
workforce. Further, DOD’s ability to effectively execute hiring and other
initiatives has been hindered by delays in the Defense Acquisition
Workforce Development Fund funding process and the absence of clear
guidance on the availability and use of related funds.

Similarly, while DOD has recognized the important role that non-
acquisition personnel—those outside the defense acquisition workforce—
play in the acquisition process, DOD continues to face a number of
challenges in ensuring that these individuals are identified and have the
training and resources needed to perform their roles, in particular as


13
  GAO, Defense Acquisition Workforce: Improved Processes, Guidance, and Planning
Needed to Enhance Use of Workforce Funds, GAO-12-747R (Washington, D.C.: June 20,
2012).
14
  GAO, Defense Contract Management Agency: Amid Ongoing Efforts to Rebuild
Capacity, Several Factors Present Challenges in Meeting Its Missions, GAO-12-83
(Washington, D.C.: Nov. 3, 2011).




Page 7                                                                   GAO-12-1026T
                         contracting officer’s representatives (CORs). CORs are generally military
                         or civilian DOD personnel that manage and oversee contracts and serve
                         as the liaisons between the contractor, the contracting officer, and the unit
                         receiving support or services. While the contracting officer is ultimately
                         responsible for ensuring that contractors meet the requirements set forth
                         in the contract, CORs serve as the eyes and ears of contracting officers.
                         However, earlier this year, we reported that DOD has experienced
                         challenges ensuring that (1) it has a sufficient number of CORs and (2)
                         the CORs have the subject-matter expertise and training needed to
                         perform their contract management and oversight duties, in particular for
                         construction projects. DOD has taken some actions to enhance training
                         programs to prepare CORs to manage and oversee contracts in
                         contingency operations. 15 For example, DOD developed a new training
                         course for CORs, with a focus on contingency operations and developed
                         a more general certification program for CORs, including the contingency
                         operations course as a training requirement when it is applicable.
                         Continued attention in this area will help DOD ensure better contract
                         management and oversight in future contingencies.


                         DOD’s ability to effectively leverage operational contract support in
Improving DOD’s          contingency environments not only depends on having effective plans in
Ability to Account for   place and having a skilled acquisition and oversight workforce, but also
                         on having appropriate tools to account for contracts and contractor
Contracts and            personnel. These tools can provide information that DOD can use to help
Contractors              mitigate risks associated with relying on contractors in contingency
                         environments, including tracking which contracts DOD has awarded,
                         where contractor personnel are located, and whether potential vendors or
                         contractor personnel may pose a risk to U.S. interests. Our prior work has
                         shown that a lack of complete and accurate information on contracts and
                         contractor personnel may inhibit planning, increase costs, and introduce
                         unnecessary risk in contingency environments. Our work has further
                         shown that DOD faced significant contract management challenges as a
                         result of not having the mechanisms or tools in place to obtain and track
                         such information at the start of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

                         DOD has made efforts to develop tools to improve its ability to account for
                         contracts and contractors, but it is not certain that these efforts will result



                         15
                          GAO-12-290.




                         Page 8                                                             GAO-12-1026T
in long-term solutions that will be available at the start of future
contingencies. For example, in 2008, DOD designated the Synchronized
Predeployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) as its system for
tracking specific information on certain contracts and associated
personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. While recent efforts have been made
to improve SPOT’s tracking of contractor personnel, in reports issued
annually since 2008, including in a report we plan to issue today, we have
consistently found that DOD has lacked reliable data and systems to
report on its contracts and contractor personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. 16
Practical and technical challenges continue to affect SPOT’s ability to fully
track certain information about contracts and contractor personnel.
Additionally, DOD has experienced challenges in closing out contracts
partly due to the fact that the contracting organization that awarded the
majority of DOD’s contracts in Iraq lacked a contract writing and
management information system between 2003 and 2008. 17 This
contributed to incomplete or inaccurate information that hindered
management oversight of contracting activities. Although the contracting
organization adopted an automated contract writing and management
information system in fiscal year 2009 that officials stated improved the
quality of data, DOD announced in October 2011 its goal to phase out the
use of this system in part because of challenges associated with
maintaining and updating it.

Similarly, we previously reported on limitations in DOD policies and
procedures related to vetting vendors and ensuring that contractor
personnel—particularly local nationals and third-country nationals—have
been screened. These policies and procedures can help ensure that DOD
will be able to take reasonable steps, in both current and future


16
  GAO, Iraq and Afghanistan: Agencies Are Taking Steps to Improve Data on Contracting
but Need to Standardize Reporting, GAO-12-977R (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 12, 2012);
Iraq and Afghanistan: DOD, State, and USAID Cannot Fully Account for Contracts,
Assistance Instruments, and Associated Personnel, GAO-11-886 (Washington, D.C.:
Sept. 15, 2011); Iraq and Afghanistan: DOD, State, and USAID Face Continued
Challenges in Tracking Contracts, Assistance Instruments, and Associated Personnel,
GAO-11-1 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 1, 2010); Contingency Contracting: DOD, State, and
USAID Continue to Face Challenges in Tracking Contractor Personnel and Contracts in
Iraq and Afghanistan, GAO-10-1 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 1, 2009); and Contingency
Contracting: DOD, State, and USAID Contracts and Contractor Personnel in Iraq and
Afghanistan, GAO-09-19 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 1, 2008).
17
  GAO, Contingency Contracting: Improved Planning and Management Oversight Needed
to Address Challenges with Closing Contracts, GAO-11-891 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 27,
2011).




Page 9                                                                  GAO-12-1026T
               contingencies, to minimize the risks to the military posed by contractor
               personnel. DOD’s U.S. Central Command established a vetting cell in
               2010 to vet non-U.S. vendors in Afghanistan to minimize the risk of
               insurgents or criminal groups using contracts to fund their operations.
               However, we reported in 2011 that DOD’s then-current approach for
               selecting vendors to vet had gaps, such as not routinely vetting contracts
               below a certain dollar threshold. 18 We also reported in 2009 that the
               system used in Iraq and Afghanistan to screen local and third-country
               national contractor personnel by checking names and biometric data
               relied primarily upon U.S.-based databases of criminal and terrorist
               information, which may not be effective in screening foreign nationals who
               have not lived in or traveled to the United States. 19

               Without attention to improving the tools needed to effectively account for
               contracts and contractor personnel, DOD may continue to face similar
               challenges in future contingencies. Having the tools with the requisite
               capabilities in place before the next contingency can help military and
               acquisition officials properly plan for, manage, and oversee contracts and
               contractors in future contingencies.


               For the past 10 years, DOD has focused its attention on contingency
Concluding     operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The challenges encountered in those
Observations   contingencies highlighted the need for better strategic and operational
               planning when it comes to the use of operational contract support, as well
               as to ensure that DOD’s workforce is sufficiently trained and staffed and
               has the tools needed to effectively account for contracts and contractors.
               As reflected in the Secretary’s January 2011 memorandum regarding
               operational contract support, DOD leadership has recognized that it is
               imperative for the department to learn from these experiences while they
               are still fresh and to set forth a commitment to encourage cultural change
               with respect to operational contract support throughout the department.
               We agree. The challenge for DOD is to sustain this effort over the long
               term, as effecting a cultural change is by no means easy and takes time.



               18
                 GAO, Afghanistan: U.S. Efforts to Vet Non-U.S. Vendors Need Improvement,
               GAO-11-355 (Washington, D.C.: June 8, 2011).
               19
                 GAO, Contingency Contract Management: DOD Needs to Develop and Finalize
               Background Screening and Other Standards for Private Security Contractors,
               GAO-09-351 (Washington D.C.: July 31, 2009).




               Page 10                                                                GAO-12-1026T
                  It will take the sustained commitment by DOD leadership to ensure that
                  they continue down the path that they have set out for the department. As
                  DOD’s current efforts in Afghanistan draw closer to a conclusion and
                  DOD turns its attention to other challenges, DOD needs to guard against
                  allowing the lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan to be forgotten. Focusing
                  on the areas my statement highlighted today will better position DOD to
                  effectively use contractors in future contingencies.


                  Chairman McKeon, Ranking Member Smith, and Members of the
                  Committee, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be happy to
                  answer any questions that you may have at this time.


                  For further information regarding this testimony, please contact Timothy J.
Contacts and      DiNapoli at (202) 512-4841 or dinapolit@gao.gov. In addition, contact
Acknowledgments   points for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may
                  be found on the last page of this statement. Individuals who made key
                  contributions to this testimony are Alissa Czyz, Assistant Director; Johana
                  Ayers; Rajiv D’Cruz; Melissa Hermes; Mae Jones; Anne McDonough-
                  Hughes; Cary Russell; Michael Shaughnessy; Yong Song; and Alyssa
                  Weir.




                  Page 11                                                        GAO-12-1026T
Related GAO Products
             Related GAO Products




             The following is a list of related products. For a full list of the most recent
             publications related to Iraq and Afghanistan, see
             http://www.gao.gov/docsearch/featured/oif.html.

             Iraq and Afghanistan: Agencies Are Taking Steps to Improve Data on
             Contracting but Need to Standardize Reporting. GAO-12-977R
             (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 12, 2012).

             Iraq and Afghanistan: State and DOD Should Ensure Interagency
             Acquisitions Are Effectively Managed and Comply with Fiscal Law.
             GAO-12-750 (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 2, 2012).

             Contingency Contracting: Agency Actions to Address Recommendations
             by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
             GAO-12-854R (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 1, 2012).

             Defense Acquisition Workforce: Improved Processes, Guidance, and
             Planning Needed to Enhance Use of Workforce Funds. GAO-12-747R
             (Washington, D.C.: June 20, 2012).

             Operational Contract Support: Management and Oversight Improvements
             Needed in Afghanistan. GAO-12-290 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 29, 2012).

             Acquisition Workforce: DOD’s Efforts to Rebuild Capacity Have Shown
             Some Progress. GAO-12-232T (Washington, D.C.: Nov.16, 2011).

             Defense Contract Management Agency: Amid Ongoing Efforts to Rebuild
             Capacity, Several Factors Present Challenges in Meeting Its Missions.
             GAO-12-83 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 3, 2011).

             Defense Acquisition Workforce: Better Identification, Development, and
             Oversight Needed for Personnel Involved in Acquiring Services.
             GAO-11-892 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 28, 2011).

             Contingency Contracting: Improved Planning and Management Oversight
             Needed to Address Challenges with Closing Contracts. GAO-11-891
             (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 27, 2011).

             Iraq Drawdown: Opportunities Exist to Improve Equipment Visibility,
             Contractor Demobilization, and Clarity of Post-2011 DOD Role.
             GAO-11-774 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 16, 2011).




             Page 12                                                             GAO-12-1026T
Related GAO Products




Iraq and Afghanistan: DOD, State, and USAID Cannot Fully Account for
Contracts, Assistance Instruments, and Associated Personnel.
GAO-11-886 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 15, 2011).

Operational Contract Support: Actions Needed to Address Contract
Oversight and Vetting of Non-U.S. Vendors in Afghanistan. GAO-11-771T
(Washington, D.C.: June 30, 2011).

Afghanistan: U.S. Efforts to Vet Non-U.S. Vendors Need Improvement.
GAO-11-355 (Washington, D.C.: June 8, 2011).

Contingency Contracting: Observations on Actions Needed to Address
Systemic Challenges. GAO-11-580 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 25, 2011).

Iraq and Afghanistan: DOD, State, and USAID Face Continued
Challenges in Tracking Contracts, Assistance Instruments, and
Associated Personnel. GAO-11-1 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 1, 2010).

Warfighter Support: Cultural Change Needed to Improve How DOD Plans
for and Manages Operational Contract Support. GAO-10-829T
(Washington, D.C.: June 29, 2010).

Operation Iraqi Freedom: Actions Needed to Facilitate the Efficient
Drawdown of U.S. Forces and Equipment from Iraq. GAO-10-376
(Washington, D.C: Apr. 19, 2010).

Contingency Contracting: Improvements Needed in Management of
Contractors Supporting Contract and Grant Administration in Iraq and
Afghanistan. GAO-10-357 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 12, 2010).

Warfighter Support: DOD Needs to Improve Its Planning for Using
Contractors to Support Future Military Operations. GAO-10-472
(Washington, D.C.: Mar. 30, 2010).

Iraq and Afghanistan: Agencies Face Challenges in Tracking Contracts,
Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Associated Personnel.
GAO-10-509T (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 23, 2010).

Warfighter Support: Continued Actions Needed by DOD to Improve and
Institutionalize Contractor Support in Contingency Operations.
GAO-10-551T (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 17, 2010).




Page 13                                                        GAO-12-1026T
           Related GAO Products




           Contingency Contracting: DOD, State, and USAID Continue to Face
           Challenges in Tracking Contractor Personnel and Contracts in Iraq and
           Afghanistan. GAO-10-1 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 1, 2009).

           Contingency Contract Management: DOD Needs to Develop and Finalize
           Background Screening and Other Standards for Private Security
           Contractors. GAO-09-351 (Washington, D.C.: July 31, 2009).

           Contingency Contracting: DOD, State, and USAID Contracts and
           Contractor Personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. GAO-09-19 (Washington,
           D.C.: Oct. 1, 2008).

           Defense Management: DOD Needs to Reexamine Its Extensive Reliance
           on Contractors and Continue to Improve Management and Oversight.
           GAO-08-572T (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 11, 2008).




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