Wartime Contracting Commission Finds Significant Waste in War Spending

The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, created by Congress in 2008, has issued its final report, showing that there has been anywhere from $30 billion to $60 billion lost due to contract waste or fraud associated with the wars. Luckily, the report not only details the problems that have arisen with contracting over the past decade, but also gives fifteen recommendations on how to remedy the poor performance.

The Commission finds that there has been an over reliance on contractors with the two wars, and suggests better defining tasks that should be done by federal employees so that contracting activities can be scaled back. Other suggestions include greater general oversight (including establishing positions to do so), the use of contractor knowledge to develop better practices, and better enforcement and competition with regards to contracts.

Of course, rooting out waste in wartime contracting won't solve our fiscal problems (though it is a lot of money), and with the wars winding down, it will become less of a factor as the decade unfolds. However, it is important to fix this problem so that any future engagements will not cost taxpayers unnecessarily, and it is likely that we can take some of these lessons and extend them to other federal activities and agencies to improve oversight. Congress would be wise to take a look at the recommendations of the Wartime Contracting Commission to institute better oversight of and coordination with contractors.

To read the full report, click here.