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That Will Teach Them

You might remember those cases of service members in Iraq being electrocuted while showering, chalked up to faulty construction work by the contractin

You might remember those cases of service members in Iraq being electrocuted while showering, chalked up to faulty construction work by the contracting firm KBR? Well, the U.S. Army was so pissed off at KBR, it decided to grant them a $2.8 billion under its current Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) IV contract for one year of work.

The vast majority of the waste we’ve seen in government contracts comes not from fraud or corruption, but from a lack of basic oversight, and poor management. < Case in point is a Department of Defense’s Inspector General report released yesterday which found that DOD “did not efficiently and effectively contract for tactical vehicle field maintenance at Joint Base Balad, Iraq” over the past several years, leading to millions in waste due to man hours of work that fell well below what is required by Army rules.

Army regulations establish a standard of 85 percent utilization of contractor work with a goal of 90 percent. But at Balad, the utilization of contractor-provided maintenance services reached a low of 3.97 percent to a high of 9.65 percent, which the DoD’s IG says wasted $4.6 million of the $5 million for “maintenance services that were not required.” In other words, KBR had too many people to do work that didn’t exist.

The problem, according to the IG? The work order failed to contain requirements “for the contractor to report utilization data” to the Army. “In addition, the Army was not conducting adequate reviews of contractor utilization data provided by KBR and taking proper corrective action.”

You have to wonder, what the hell goes on inside of the tiny brains that run military acquisition projects sometimes. Eight years and they can't figure out how to effectively identify necessary work and track funds spent by major defense contractors. But I'm sure SecDef Bob Gates will work that all out when he hires those 20,000 new government employees... from the ranks of consultants from contracting firms who are currently doing the acquisition support tasks...

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