Senators, experts to watch for DOD contract reforms

A member of the Wartime Contracting Commission asked senators to question the depth of support that defense officials have for major reforms in contracting operations during wartime or emergency situations -- what are technically called "contingency operations."

“Policies are easy to make. Implementation is really what counts,” Dov Zakheim, a commissioner and former comptroller of the Defense Department, told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Readiness and Management Subcommittee.


Related stories:

DOD: Wartime contracting reforms underway

DOD tripped up by low staffing, poor planning


However, Frank Kendall, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, said the department has already gone further than policies. Officials are reorganizing their operations, training a deployable cadre of acquisition workers and improving means for gathering contractor performance data, he said.

DOD also has stepped up its suspension and debarment decisions. Kendall said the number of Army debarments has increased 89 percent to 178 debarments from fiscal 2007 to 2011.

“Much has been accomplished, but of course challenges remain,” Kendall said, adding “We are not complacent and acknowledge we still have more work to do.”

Three senators want more information on how DOD is doing in its efforts to implement the commission’s recommendations.

Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the subcommittee’s chairwoman, Jim Web (R-Va.), and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), the subcommittee’s ranking member, sent a letter on Oct. 19 to the Government Accountability Office. They asked for a review of how executive branch agencies—DOD, State Department, and U.S. Agency for International Development—have addressed the commission’s findings and recommendations. They also want GAO to assess officials’ changes in response to commission’s reports, both its final report and interim reports.

“The commission found a number of systemic failures in contingency contract planning, execution, and oversight within government,” the letter states.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Featured

  • IT Modernization
    Eisenhower Executive Office Building (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

    OMB's user guide to the MGT Act

    The Office of Management and Budget is working on a rules-of-the-road document to cover how agencies can seek and use funds under the MGT Act.

  • global network (Pushish Images/Shutterstock.com)

    As others see us -- a few surprises

    A recent dinner with civil servants from Asia delivered some interesting insights, Steve Kelman writes.

  • FCW Perspectives
    cloud (Singkham/Shutterstock.com)

    A smarter approach to cloud

    Advances in cloud technology are shifting the focus toward choosing the right tool for the job and crafting solutions that truly modernize systems.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.