Thursday, November 1, 2007

Independent panel cites U.S. Army as a procurer of needless debt

"The Iraq-Kuwait-Afghanistan contracting problems have created a crisis"
It must be nice to be a government contractor. No bid contracts, limited oversight, unlimited profit potential...all is great. Not so according to a new report by six independent members on a panel to review the U.S. Army 'procurement process'.

From an article in the IHT. ...According the the six member panel,
In a wide-ranging report to be made public on Thursday, the panel said these and other shortcomings had contributed to an environment in Iraq and Kuwait that allowed waste, fraud and other corruption to take hold and flourish.
the six-member panel, appointed in August by Army Secretary Pete Geren, levels a stinging indictment of how the army oversees $4 billion a year in contracts for food, water, shelter and other supplies to sustain United States forces in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. The panel also blames senior army leaders for not responding more swiftly to the problems, despite warning signs like severe shortages of contracting officers in the field. "The Iraq-Kuwait-Afghanistan contracting problems have created a crisis," the report states.
Got that...a 'crisis'. These guys are spending not only our current funds, but those of our children as well. How hard is it to employ people to 'review' these shady contracts? How hard can it actually be? From the time I was little..I've always heard, " pay for what you can afford. Don't purchase anything you can't pay for up front. Anything else will lead to debt" The message appears true.
...the panel's examination of the problem is the broadest to date and offers potentially the most far-reaching recommendations for fixing the shortcomings plaguing the supply system for a military that is increasingly conducting combat and stability operations around the globe. (nowadays, War is everywhere)
and those recommendations are....
increasing the number of army contracting officers by about 25 percent, or 1,400, in coming years. (Years? try NOW!) It urges the department to improve training and to start young officers in the procurement corps soon after they join the army, not after seven or eight years of other duties, as is common now.
any increases in financing or changes in authority, would require congressional approval, officials said. But several others will be up to Geren, the army secretary, and senior army leaders to carry out. ( In short, they still get what they want.)
The recommendations haven't came without grief, though. Many 'top lawmakers' view the 'recommendations' as too little too late,
These and other changes, the officials say, are long in coming, and if they had been put in place immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, they could have curbed much of the corruption that has surfaced since then.

"If you had had more personnel, who were better trained, on longer tours with more supervision, could you have cut the number of fraud, waste and corruption cases in half?" asked Raymond DuBois, a former senior army official. "Yes."
Yet the corruption still continues,
As of Oct. 24, the army reported that it had 83 criminal inquiries related to contract fraud in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, according to Christopher Grey, an army spokesman. He said that 23 military and civilian staff members faced criminal charges, and that over $15 million in bribes had been uncovered. (The "#" is most likely far higher)
One of the largest cases involves Major John Cockerham of the army, who is accused of bribery, conspiracy, money laundering and obstruction. Prosecutors have accused Cockerham, with his wife and sister, of taking at least $9.6 million in bribes in 2004 and 2005, when he was a contracting officer in Kuwait. ( these people should be tried for TREASON)
and how does the military 'attack' the problem? They've created another panel of course..
A second army review, led by Lieutenant General N. Ross Thompson III and Kathryn Condon, two army contracting specialists, is examining current contracting operations, particularly in Kuwait.
We don't need anymore 'studies' or 'investigations' . The contract 'procurement' system is in shambles. Our hard earned tax payer dollars are being diverted into 'programs, systems, and weapons' which the American tax payer would never approve. We're getting a lot of 'bang', but it's not worth the 'buck'.

Until we change the monetary equation...war will always come first and diplomacy second. The Department of State NEEDS to receive more funds...not the Department of Defense. Change that change the fate of the world.

Same Players. Different Scandal.

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