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tv   Wartime Contracting  CSPAN  April 21, 2012 4:55pm-6:30pm EDT

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>> when you look -- thank you for the question, senator kuntz -- when you look at our, the testimony we submitted, you see we detail a number of the seminole racial profiling cases. in fact, some of them brought by david harris. one might be instructed for why this piece of legislation is essential is to track when the incident occurred and when the case was decided. because you'll note that many, in many instances and the one i'm looking at now, you're looking at a span of several years of time between when you get pulled over by a police officer on a highway and the case of robert wilkins, and ultimately when that case was decided by a court. and for many minority group members especially those in our communities and families who lack resources to hire private attorneys, it is not simple or
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economic to retain private counsel, even when you've been wronged. we turn away many, many cases and individuals who write to us every day simply because we lack the resources to take on every single case. we take on cases where we think we have a -- an ability to have a high impact, which means systemically at the highest levels. the number of heartbreaking letters i sends back saying i understand you were profiled by the police, but we have them under a consent decree and will throw your fax nair yo consent decree doesn't bring the individual, often egrieved, even if willing to step forward, much comfort. that's really what's at stake here. i think the burden on hundreds of thousands of new yorkers, let's say the 400,000-plus i cited have been wrongfully stopped by the police, the idea you would ask 400,000 new yorkers who were innocent and yet stopped by the police to file all individual lawsuits, i can't believe that any member of
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this chamber to believe that would be an efficient use of our resources. this is one of the times when by the senate taking action and putting in place a legal regime and being able to stop the type of rush to the courthouse steps would do both the economy and our civil liberties a service. >> senator, if i may, the one area, going to the question you had about the lawsuits, or why people can't file the complaint is, in many cases, i think the bigger challenge is that it may actually follow a legal stop. this is why the legislation is critical. why data collection is critical. i think when we think of profiling people, people sometimes unfortunately think that the stop itself may not have legal cause. so we have a phrase in policing, give plea a car two minutes and a vehicle code and i'll find a reason to stop you. so the stop maying justified. cracked windshield, bald tires. you know, you'll see those low discretionary stops used quite often to get to, as the decision, talk about pretext to
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other things. where it makes it hard on an individual basis is a person's complaining about being stopped but, in fact, they did have a cracked taillight, and it makes it hard for that individual case, what you need to do track holistically to see that that's the 10,000th cracked windshield, 90% may be all of one -- >> i see that and am well past my time and i appreciate the concerns that have been raised by this conversation, this hearing today, about the definition of racial pry profiles, the importance of being narrowly targeted in a legislative response and am grateful, chairman durbin, for your crafting a bill that insists on training on data collection and on narrowly crafted response to a significant problem. thank you very much. >> thanks, senator kuntz. following up on your question, i think one of the obstacles, mr. romero can probably back this up, deal wig the question of whether or not race or ethnicity or profiles was the sole cause for the stop. you run into a real obstacle.
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our staff did a little research. turns out this isn't the first time that congress has talked about this. arguing the discrimination should only be prohibited if based solely on race and ethnicity has a an unfortunate congressional lineage. attempted to gut the civil rights act of 1964 offering an amendment based solely on race. senator clifford case of new jersey argued in opposition saying this amendment would place upon persons attempting to prove a violation of a section no matter how cloer the violation was an obstacle so great to make the title completely worthless and senator warren of washington said limiting the civil rights act on discrimination based solely on race would "negate the entire purpose of what we're trying to do." so the courts have set a standard which makes it extremely difficult, and chief davis, your examples, there might be a cracked taillight, as the reason they're being pulled over. what we found in illinois, incidentally, to go to my home
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state, consent searches by the ill it state police between 2004 and 2010, hispanic motorists in my state were two to four times more likely to be searched. african-american two to three time morse likely subject to consent searches than white motorists. however, white motorists were 89% more likely than hispanic motorists and 26% more likely than african-american motorists to have contraband in their vehicles. so it made no sense from a law enforcement viewtoint to do this, yet it is done. i thank you for this hearing, and i'm sorry it took ten years to get back together and i'm sorry we need to get back together. to put it in historic perspective, back to our nation's very beginning, our founding fathers started wrestling with issues of race, gender and religion, and this year the presidential campaign wrestles with issues of race, ish and gender and religion, an
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ongoing debate in this nation. there are moments of great leadership and there have been moments of ig no minnous contact. as far as account about the is concerned, yes, this holds law enforcement accountable but i hope we hold every member accountable including members of congress. let me concede i came to this job saying, remembering what bill clinton once said when he was being interviewed before he became president. is there any issue you will not compromise on? we said i will never compromise on race. he said that as a man who grew up in arkansas and saw segregation. i thought that is a good standard, durbin. you saw it, too, in your hometown. hold to that standard, and i looked back and remember in my time in the house of representatives of voting for a measure that turned out to have a dramatically negative racial impact. the establishment of the crack cocaine standard and sentencing of 100 to 1. years later given an opportunity in this committee to try to make that right, and bring it back to
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1 to 1. i couldn't get the job done. because of the nature of compromise, it's been reduced to 18 to 1. still a terrible disparity but a dramatic improvement. what happened as result of that bad vote? by black and white congressmen? we lost trust in the african-american community. many people serving on juries said i'm not going to do this. i am just not going to send that woman, that person away for ten or 20 years because of a crack cocaine violation. we lost their trust, officer gale. and i can see it when the judges came and talked to us about it. we moved back to try to establish some trust in that community by doing the right thing, but we need to be held accountable. this senator and all of us. whether we're in elected or appointed office in our government, we serve. we serve the public. and that accountability has to be part of that service. this is not going to resolve the issue. i think it is, i mentioned earlier, more complicated today, because of concealed carry and some of the standards being
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established in states. more complicated today, as mr. clegg has said, because the war on terror raises legitimate concerns about the safety of our nation and how far will we go to respect our national security, without violating our basic values under the constitution. i thank you all for your testimony. it's been very positive part of this conversation, which we freed tone gauneed to engage in further. there's a lot of interest in today's hearings bp 225 organizations submitted testimony. thank goodness they didn't come leer to speak, but we're glad to have their testimony and will put it in the record without objection. that's good. it will include the episcopal church, coalition for immigrant refugee rights, japanese-american citizens league, leadership conference on human rights, muslim advocates, naacp. national immigration forum. rights working group sic coalition and poverty law center
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and these statements will be made part of the record kept open for a week for additional statements. it's possible someone will send you a written question. it doesn't happen often but if they do, i hope you'll respond in a timely way. without further comment i thank all of my witnesses for patience and for attending this hearing and look forward to working with all of you. >> the space shuttle discovery is now on display at the smithsonian museum outside of washington, d.c. it arrived earlier this week. see the landing an official transfer ceremony tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. >> when i was embedded in eastern afghanistan, the soldiers were telling me the
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u.s. government was wasting tens of billions of dollars on totally miss management development at logistics' contracts. >> following the money in afghanistan, finding corruption from top to bottom, right into the hands of the taliban. >> a brigade commander, incredibly effective guy, this is not long after president obama took office, and the state department was saying, okay, we will give you a lot of development funds, counterinsurgency, we will do this, win their hearts and minds. colonel coward said, don't send any more money. send me contract officers who could oversee this stuff. we need people. we don't need more money. >> bankrolling the enemy, sunday night at 8:00 eastern. and on may 6, our interview with robert carrow that coincides
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with the passage of power. his biography of the 36th president. >> virginia senator jim webb testified before the senate, a securities subcommittee and contracting tuesday about increased accountability and the soft waste fraud and abuse and overseas contract in. the legislation is based on recommendation from the commission on wartime contracting in iraq and afghanistan, who in a final report released last august found as much as $60 billion of waste and fraud in contracts for the iraq and afghanistan worst. -- wars. this hearing is about one hour, 20 minutes. >> i did not want to keep our first witness waiting. my colleague, senator jim webb is here to give testimony about our subject today. and a brief introductory remark.
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i am not going to go into who he is and why he is here, because i think most people know who he is. when i came to the senate in 2007 senator webb and i quickly found we had a place we wanted to work on, and that was contracting and contingencies. his background in the military was a great asset to us as we put together the war contracting commissioned legislation, and we work on it together and succeeded back in a day before senator warner had retired, the ranking member of the armed services committee, and he was a tough sell. it was when president bush was still president, and i think there was a fear this contract in commission was a political exercise. and of course, it was far from
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that. it was something that was really needed to take a hard look at what had gone wrong with contracting and contingencies and to build a body of work that could change the culture of work around contracting and contingencies for the long haul. and i want to thank him for his friendship and his hard work on this issue, and i look forward to his comments today as we look at legislation trying to implement the recommendations of the commission that we worked hard to create together. senator webb. >> thank you very much. i know you have to fold panels. i will be brief. i would ask that the full written testimony that i have would be included at the end of my brief oral remarks. >> without objection. >> thank you.
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basically expressed the strongest support possible for the movement of this legislation that you, madam chairman, and i have worked on in different capacities for now five years. at a time when the senate is continually block down in symbolic votes rather than issues of governance, i am proud of what we have been able to do on this issue since 2007. i would say it has been one of the great pleasures of being in the senate, to have been able to get this legislation into place, the first round with the wartime contract in commission, and hopefully with this recommendation that we will be implemented some of the funding. some of the findings. she brought a strong background in all building to the senate. i spent five years in the pentagon in different
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capacities, including the defense resources board. one of my eye openers coming to the senate was sitting on the foreign relations committee in 2007 when he had a hearing. when we had a hearing on the rebuilding iraq. they had a $32 billion that had been appropriated and had some form of being put into play, and i asked in a way that i normally would have asked if i was at the pentagon years before to see the contracts and the amount, to the contractor was, and what the state of the implementation was on these different contracts, and they cannot tell us. we work with them for months, and they cannot tell us where $32 billion had been spent in a specific way where we could evaluate the results.
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that was one of the motivations that caused me to start working as avidly as i did, along with chairman mccaskill, to see if we could not have the management structures in place catch up with the realities of what had happened post 9/11 environment of military commitments overseas. this is a particular problem in the state department and u.s. aid i don't think they had anticipated the sorts of programs before the situation that existed once 9/11 occurred. we were very lucky to have gotten the support of senator john warner when we were advancing this legislation through the senate. he was my senior senator, was a republican boat. i had worked with him when i was a young marine, my last year in the marine corps. i followed him as secretary of the navy, and he, by stepping
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forward and demonstrating this was an issue of wide concern, and for people like himself who had spent time in management position in the pentagon, really helped us push this over the threshold and into reality. we had a bipartisan wartime contract in commission. i think they did a fine job. i am disappointed a lot of the findings have been sealed up 20 years. but the overall recommendations, i think, are something that we will be able to work on in terms of implementing the legislation to get into management, policies, and how we bring rigger to the process. i like to emphasize, as i did in the press conference earlier, that i believe and i want to acknowledge the great majority of the contractors who
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participated in this process since 9/11 are not only reputable but they have really done a very fine job in an environment that a lot of people had not anticipated. so this is not a piece of legislation, nor was it a major goal of this process simply to bash wartime contractors. again, we cannot get along without them. this was an effort to put the right kind of structure into place so we could have efficiently run, well managed, and effective wartime contract being and operational contingencies out now and in the future. i was very pleased to have worked in detail on this legislation as it was developed. it has my strongest support, and i think senator mccaskill for
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the untiring efforts to bring good governance into this body. thank you, madam chairman. >> thank you, senator webb. i will make a brief opening statement, then turn it over to my colleagues. then we will ask our first panel of witnesses to come to the table. on august 31, 2011, the commission on wartime contract in iraq and afghanistan presented its final report to congress. on february 29, 2012, we introduced a senate bill 2139, the comprehensive to ditzy contracting reform act of 2012. this legislation is based on the findings and recommendations of the commission. this morning i had the honor of
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chairing a distinguished war prisoners from the defense department, usaid, and respective agencies and inspectors general present their views on the support legislation. based on their contributions and what we have heard from many of the stakeholders, and all the input of other senators, we were advised of legislation to introduce a new version for consideration by the homeland security and government affairs committee. this will increase accountability for wartime contracting and transformed the way the federal government awards, manages, and overseas wartime contracts. it will help insure that the waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement that we saw in iraq and afghanistan will never happen again. i want to make a few points about today's hearing. first, we're here today to seek input from the executive branch, agencies, and inspectors general because we want to get this right. the subcommittee has previously met with contractors and other stakeholders regarding this
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legislation. however, major portions of this bill deal with accountability and responsibility to the government. that is by design. therefore, i encourage you to share any suggestions you have to improve this legislation. second, this legislation builds on the existing structures and rules to solve the problem identified by the commission. senate bill 2139 requires each agency responsible for wartime contract and to establish clear lines of authority and responsibility for all aspects of contingency contracting. it requires the department of defense, the state department, and usaid to improve their training and planning for contract support. and support. the legislation reduces reliance on noncompetitive contracting practices and risks of contracting practices that have resulted in a lack of transparency and visibility. the legislation requires agencies to conduct risk analyses before relying on
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private security contracts and to terminate unsustainable reconstruction and development projects. it also strengthens tools to combat a human trafficking. this approach is pragmatic and will reduce the potential for waste, fraud, and abuse in future wars. many of the witnesses today have already testified numerous times before this committee about lessons learned in iraq and afghanistan. i commend the department, particularly the defense department, for recognizing they have shortcomings in implementing changes. however, the commission concluded in its final report that, a " meaningful progress, meeting ltd. -- will be limited as long as agencies of exist major reform that would elevate the importance of contracts." i like to put you on notice today such resistance is number acceptable. today and in the weeks and months to come, we have an opportunity to make a real
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change in the way that government spends money during wartime. it is not too late to prevent further waste in afghanistan. and it is not too late to prevent the problems in iraq and afghanistan from occurring in the next war, whenever and wherever that may be. everyone knows that contracting in a wartime environment is not going to go away. it will be here, with our nation, in the future. it is imperative that we no longer make excuses, rationalizations, or hide behind existing structures to defend the gross inaccuracies that our government has displayed during contracting processes in iraq and afghanistan. we must fix these problems now, while the memory is fresh. while the memory of these failures are fresh. and before the harsh lessons of iraq and afghanistan are forgotten. i remember on my first trip to
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iraq on contacting oversight. i remember being accompanied by a general, a high-ranking general and the army. i remember the conversation where it was said, you know, we did a lessons learned after bosnia. i just don't know what happened to it. i want to make sure the same sentences are not uttered during the next to his seat -- during the next contingency as we face contracting in the most difficult environment, parking occurs, and that is when our men and women are putting their lives on the line for security and freedom. i think the witnesses for being here today and i look forward to their testimony. >> thank you. i appreciate your comments and i am pleased that our witnesses are experts and will give us input, as you say. and it was good to hear from senator whetebb.
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this is an opportunity to examine the lessons we've learned from work time contracting over experience the last decade, 10 years in afghanistan, nine years in iraq. it is a chance to hear from what this is on some of these reforms that are necessary to improve the stewardship of our taxpayer dollars in this very challenging environment. this past august, as was noted, the commission issued their final report on its investigation of government use of contractors in iraq and afghanistan, and in my view the commission came to a very troubling bottom-line conclusion. it was estimated by the commission that out of the $206 billion spent on service contracts in iraq and afghanistan, including everything from building alliterate installations to train election workers, between $31 billion and $60 billion was lost to what they termed avoidable waste. out of the money spent, between
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$31 billion and $60 billion loss to avoidable waste. it is a difficult environment. winston churchill once said the only thing certain about or is it is full of disappointments and mistakes. and it is true. it is tough. but when it comes to a wartime contract and we have to look back and understand reforms are necessary to avoid making more costly mistakes. this is not just a retrospective, because contractors are still very much in gauged, particularly in afghanistan, where the u.s. still has over 100,000 private contractors. even in iraq today, after the last u.s. troops returned home december, the departments of defense and state maintain roughly 30,000 private contractors. at this time of serious fiscal challenges and trillion dollar deficits, we must do all we can to avoid waste and to get the best possible value out of the taxpayers' dollar. the war contracting commission
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along with a long series of inspector general report identified some of the issues which should be focused on, ranging from improving reliable price information to ensure the government is getting a fair deal, to tighten restrictions on the use of noncompetitive contracts, to strengthening of sight of subcontractors, who were often too often insulated from direct accountability. one of my principal concerns is sustainability. by that i mean how do we ensure that our work, reconstruction and development work and so on, will last and be carried on by the afghan and iraqi government and the people of those countries? the issue is critically important because we are mature are good investments to go bad. that means we have to consider not only how many additional schools and health clinics to construct, but will sustain them? the they have the medical professionals and the teachers to be able to sustain them and keep them going? on this issue, the wartime contract in commission was not very optimistic.
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and i will look forward to hearing from the panel on what steps are needed to reduce this risk of future waste or lack of sustainability. beyond ensuring that is fiscally unsound, we also have to picture that is -- fiscally sound, we also have to make sure that it is done with our values. the report said that existing prohibitions on a human trafficking have failed to suppress it. they have an incentive to bring in a third-party nationals to work for u.s. contractors, only to be mistreated or explicit. one of the commission members at that time, a former reagan and bush administration defense official, testified before the armed services committee these findings were just the tip of the iceberg. both dod and state department have told us we lack sufficient monitoring to have clear visibility into labor practices
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by contractors and subcontractors. that is why we introduced legislation, bipartisan legislation. we have been joined by senator mccaskill, as well as senator rubio, senator lieberman, collins, senator franken, and it is meant to exit -- strengthened existing protections against human trafficking. human contract means forced labor that continues to trafficking and recruiting workers to leave their home countries based on fraudulent promises, confiscated passports come to limit the ability of workers to return home. charging workers recruitment fees, which are more than a month's salary, and many other forms of abuse that were mentioned. we should be clear the overwhelming majority of u.s. contractors and subcontractors are law-abiding and reputable. and they're doing a good job in a difficult situation. they have made it a priority to
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ensure that a piece of labor practices played no role in the challenging work we're doing. our proposal is designed to ensure the best practices adopted by those contractors become standard practice for all contractors. they include requiring copter to stop a compliance plan in place, reporting and monitoring, and giving contract in officers more tools to hold violators accountable. i am hopeful that we can make twork to make these the law of the land. we have invested heavily to build up civil institutions, a functioning economy, unstable governments in both afghanistan and iraq. and our military has done everything debit asked to do and more. there is performed with the bravery under the toughest of circumstances. getting this overseas contracting right especially the area for construction is critical to consolidating the hard-won gains they've achieved.
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madame chair, think for holding this hearing and i look forward to hearing from our witnesses today. >> thank you, senator. if our first panel of witnesses would come forward. what you are doing that, i will introduce you. richard ginman assumed the position of director. he retired as rear admiral of the u.s. navy in 2000. prior to this coming served as principal deputy to the director from 2008 until 2010, and deputy director contends deconstructing and acquisition policy from 2010 until assuming the position as director. patrick kennedy has served as undersecretary for management to the united states department of state since 2007. he has been with the department of state 39 years and has held positions including director of the office of management policy, rightsizing innovation, assistant secretary for administration, u.s.
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representative to the un, for management and reform, chief of staff of the coalition provisional authority in iraq, and deputy director of national intelligence for management. angelique crumbly is the acting assistant to the administrator for the bureau for management of u.s. agency for international to the limit, commonly known as usaid. she has more than 20 years of federal service and has held several key positions at usaid, including senior debt to the assistant administrator and the bureau for management and director of the office of management policy, budget, and performance. it is the custom of the subcommittee to swear renault witnesses, so if you don't mind, please stand. the use where the testimony will give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? but the record reflect all the witnesses have answered in the affirmative. please be seated. we will be using a timing system today. we ask that your testimony be no
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more than five minutes, your written testimony printed in the record in its entirety. i am told that we have committed a protocol gaffe. mr. kennedy, under the hierarchy of undersecretaries versus directors, he should be first in the pecking order of the hearing, so we will call on you first for your testimony concerning your input into this legislation from the perspective of the department of state. >> madame chairwoman, i certainly defer to the chair. >> it is fine, go ahead. >> german mccaskill, thank you for inviting me to discuss the comprehensive conceit contract and reform act of 2012. we share your desire to strengthen the to subcontracting. i review of bill continues and we very much welcome, madam
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chairman, your request that we work with you. we have met with your staff once and we very much appreciate your invitation and we look forward continuing to do so. this legislation builds on the import work of the commission on wartime contract in. the department worked continuously with the commission from its formation in 2008 until its sunset, gaining valuable insight. we have been taken many steps to improve contacting based on the oversighthe cwcm, entities, and our own lessons learned. we have learned much from the iraq transition, working closely with the dot, usaid, and interstates the partners. on april 3, secretary clinton described the iraq transition as the largest military civilian
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transition since the marshall plan. we are now taking the lessons learned in iraq and applying them to contracting, planning, and execution and afghanistan. state centralization of acquisitions for goods and services and our acquisitions management office, which together with its regional procurement support officers, ambled over 80% of our contract dollars. the centralization of acquisition of the with the need for extensive additional policy guidance and oversight and a dispersed acquisition organization. we have hired 103 additional acquisition management staff since 2008, using our working capital funds, 1% fund law. kermit, enabling us to devote 37 contract in officers and support personnel to iraq and afghanistan, and we have trained and deployed were competent officer representatives with officer representatives in 2011 and 1200 total projected by the end of this year.
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it is called for in the diplomacy review. the requesting bureau must now ensure adequate resources are identified early in planning. and also verify annual oversight continues to be sufficient. we have also increased accountability by mandating that contract oversight work include performance appraisals of technical personnel with contractor management responsibilities. all monitors must now complete a 40-hour training course, which we updated to be more interactive, skills based, not an adult learning focused. a separate class session has been detailed for those who deal with local guards and other security programs overseas. all department cor's supporting dod take additional dod
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training and other specialty training related to the specific contract. this insures that state personnel managing dod contingency contracts the dot standards. to improve our efforts, we've issued detailed procedures and provided training to grant's officers encountered in officers. suspension activities increased from the suspension and a dozen 9 -- in 2009, and 19 actions halfway into fiscal year 2012. this increase is due to a more active ordination between the department and our investigators, stronger referral activity, and improved processes and focus when in this suspicion and department office. the d.c. contracts are now requiring special vigilance against trafficking persons and issues have been undertaken at
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say to address contracting issues. contracting officers are trained in the front line to prevent contractor and worker abuses. contracting officers taylor specific oversight requirements on lookout, service, and contract time. contracting officers travel overseas to monitor performance at the site and in force the programs. in some locations, we have hired a direct hire program and manager, ought to stay at the housing area. recruitment plans and submission of agreements to prevent the maltreatment of workers. we continue to strive for zero tolerance of trafficking in all contracts. the department has taken a significant number of positive steps to improve our cover to function. we have strengthened contract being administration through hiring and training, adequate
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federal personnel, to provide strong government oversight of contractors. the billions of introduced has many positive elements, and we look forward to working with you on can't see contract in. thank you very much, and that look forward to your questions. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. i apologize for mispronouncing your name, mr. ginman. >> i have learned to respond to any pronunciation. >> i know the feeling. >> i have addressed the department's position on each of the provisions in the proposed bill in my written testimony, so i will not repeat that now. you have also co-sponsored legislation to that created the commission on wartime contracting, and i would like to think both of you for your leadership. the commission's efforts spanned
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three years at a final report recommendation on the basis for many of the provisions of this bill. the department maintains a scorecard to manage. residents of the commission's recommendations. the government accountability office is currently evaluating the department's implementation of the commission's recommendations, and we have been actively providing information on our progress to them. but the department has been and continue to be focused on improving of the original contract support. it has been a journey, and we believe we're making good progress. the bill we are here to discuss today is another positive step on that journey. the department of defense concurs with many of the provisions of the bill but we do have some concerns and we like to work to resolve those. we are committed to enhancing contingency contract and and are in favor of legislative efforts to augment the department m.l. initiatives. we are especially appreciative of the 2012 coverage of no
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contracting with the enemy, access to subcontractor records, head of the seized its operation and increase the board is provided to the reach back. in closing, i reiterate the appreciation for your continued improvement of operational contracting. like you, the department is focused on the war fighters current and future needs, while managing resources and balancing risk. but has been accomplished, the challenges remain. think for the opportunity -- thank you for the opportunity. i ask that my written testimony be submitted for the record, and i welcome your questions. >> thank you. >> german mccaskill, ranking member apartment, thank you for the opposition need to discuss the potential impact of copper care reform act on the u.s. agency for international to the limit. i will summarize my remarks and last my full statement be entered into the record. the more than nine dozen men and
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women of usaid work to provide effective economic development and humanitarian assistance and support of u.s. foreign policy goals. how we improve our conducting practices, including could see directly impact the success and sustainability of our mission. accountability to congress and the u.s. taxpayer for the funds we use it is a duty and is a duty we take very seriously. in november, 2011, the usa at the administer a -- the u.s. aid manager left. through my career, i focused on making business practices more efficient and effective, with the overall goal of enhancing performance while reducing unnecessary cost. i am stand the motivation behind this legislation very well. it addresses many of the management challenges highlighted in a report of the commission on wartime contract being that you created along
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with senator web thbb. usaid has implemented a lessons learned in iraq and against them. of the past two years, the administrator shall has instituted one of the most comprehensive reform packages i have seen in my time. our reforms are designed to ensure we provide a more effective business model and deliver more sustainable and results-driven development programs. implementation and procurement reform as a key element, and i want to know this is complementary to many of the recommendations of the cwc, so u.s. aid has already made great strides for our acquisition assistance portfolio. we are increasing transparency. we have been working actively with our progress they
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colleagues to make for assistance data available to the american public. as a result, anybody can view spending, including overseas contingency operations online, at foreign we have been strengthening our oversight. in february, 2011, least of the compliance division within the bureau of management office of acquisition and assistants to serve as the central repository for any and all referrals of administrative actions, including suspension and debarment in just one year, the division has issued 100 to administrative actions and recovered nearly $1 million taxpayer funds. we are promoting enhanced competition. in 2010, we established a board for acquisition and assistance reform. in its first year, the recommendations resulted in a 31 & increase in prime contract awards. this is significant because it
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means we are broadening our partner base and reducing dependence on any single organization. usaid has asked to several cost- saving measures and a savings plan has yielded approximately $170 million of cost savings or cost avoidance since 2010. while we have had difficult challenges, we have also achieved some significant successes. in afghanistan, we've put more than 2.5 million girls back in school, helped rebuild the afghan civil service, aided farmers and a growing legitimate crops, and assisted in dramatically improving health care particularly among women. in iraq we have made significant contributions to diversify the economy and promoting women's participation in the market. with regard to the legislation, written statement he does, concerns we have on specific provisions of the bill and i'm happy to address these particular section that you wish. but i would like to take this
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opportunity to compliment you and your staff for your leadership on this issue and your willingness to engage in a dialogue. we all share the same goal. enhance the accountability and overseas contingency operations. again, thank you for the opportunity to be here today and for your support of usaid. i look forward to our discussion. >> thank you. i will try to make an effort today to take off my typical hat in this committee, where i am tough on folks, and try to point out inadequacies and make a point by using the power of cross examination. i will really try, because i want this to be about how we can get this legislation in a place that it is not want to just be warething that is ignored a that is checking a box. i really want this to be a
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framework that is workable for your agencies. so i want to underline my sincerity about getting your input. whether it is today in the give- and-take of the hearing, or by members of your staff sitting down and slogging through the difficult process of going through phrases and sections of the bill, double checking, what i don't want to have happen is for us to get this legislation passed in its entirety or partially and then have a hearing for several years down the line and realize nobody paid much attention to it. this is your opportunity. with that will come the danger that i hope i or somebody who will sit in the chair will not let you off the hook or your agencies off the hook in a few years when you say, well, that legislation was not workable. i don't want those words to ever
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come out of the mouths of you or your successors in your job as relates to improving contract in. so with that, let me get started on what is one of my boat -- i have several overarching concerns about this, but in the interest of time i will hone in on some of my vote favorites, and i mean that sarcastically. let me start with debarment and suspension. i think the air force has provided such a good role model for everyone as relates to suspension and debarment. i was interested to hear in your testimony about how you all had stepped it up in terms of looking at performance on contracts and whether suspension or debarment was something to be considered. just to give you some big numbers, according to the defense department, over five years, we had -- let me get the
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exact numbers to get it right. in 2011, the defense department found over 10 years the department had a warrant $255 million to contractors to had been convicted of criminal wrongs another shortfall and civil fraud cases that resulted a settlement or judgment against a contractor, many of whom were never suspended or debarred. in 2011, gao report at the state department had only had six suspension or debarment cases, with over $33 billion of outstanding contracts. look at the air force. airforce had 367 suspension or debarment actions in a single year last year. the state has had six in five
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years. the air force suspension and debarment officer is independent from the acquisition chain. so somebody who was involved in acquiring stuff is not involved in determining whether or not there should be a suspension or debarment. does not department' have those attributes. the state department's officer has other duties involved especially in acquisitions. why don't you speak to that, secretary kennedy, about any resistance are reluctant she may have to separating out the suspension and debarment officer from any duties. they've related to acquisition? it is hard to be in charge of being in charge of buying stuff for services and turning around letter and saying, you know, i really screwed up and give it to a bad guy. it seems to me separating that
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duty makes common sense, and i am curious as to your input on that. >> senator, i fully agree, but i believe that is the process we have in place at the state department now. we have a head of contracting activity, a senior career executive servant, who was responsible for all of our contract in activities. it is our responsibility to buy and is rewarded contracting subordinates to do all of our buying. we have a separate senior career civil servant who we call our procurement executive. he has no responsibilities to actually buy anything. he sets the policies and practices of the state department, but that does not engage in buying. he is in charge of the suspension and debarment activities. with all agree, senator, we
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believe -- we fully agree, senator, we believe it is correct to split the duty of buying from the affected duty of oversight, with respect to our inspector general, who also has the larger oversight framework. it is our procurement executive who is the department official and, thanks to his work, have -- we have increased the suspect as and debarment. so we agree. >> in our briefing, we were told that corey is the office, and assists with contracting supplies and services. that is not correct? >> he writes policies. he does not buy anything. he is awarded a contract in officer, yes, but he does not procure goods or services for the state department. my predecessor hired someone
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with wide and deep experience in contracting. who better to know how to set policies and to discover when you should spend -- when you should suspend someone, that's when it was done it, but he does not engage in procurement activities. >> but it makes sense to have somebody full-time just on suspension and debarment with the amount of money that is being contract? would it not be better to have somebody whose full responsibility was just suspension and debarment? >> he has staffed out -- he has staff assisting him, a professional staff. we think we have constructed a pyramid it within the procurement executive of professionals who know how to write the regulations so we hold contractors responsible, and then implement a full-fledged suspension and debarment program should it become necessary for us to take that action. we believe that we are complying
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with both the letter and spirit of what you have put forward because we agree, it is our responsibility to ensure that every single taxpayer dollar is administered and used to the best interest of the national security of the u.s. >> ok, i am hoping that we can get you to tap somebody at the top of the organization, suspension and debarment, who has just that responsibility. because we think it is that important terms of setting the tone. we can talk about that going forward. another one of my big problems is sustainability in terms of products. we try to do our greatest list here at the hearing, and this is examples of waste, fraud, and abuse. i think i ask all of you to guess three or four projects that would make this list, i am hopeful you would know what they
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were without me reminding you. because it is not good. and i think the notion that we have actually done a a full sustainability analysis is just not borne out by the results of many of these projects. i think it is very important this legislation include something that requires a certification of sustainability. i know under the foreign assistance act that usa id is required to have a certification. that is because aid traditionally has been doing these projects, and is a whole new world out there with afghanistan, infrastructure fund, and the week and has
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morphed into something far beyond what was explained to me when i first arrived in the senate. in a report by isaf, there is no persuasive evidence it has fostered an interdependent relationship between the host government and population. impose aslation would much more rigorous review of these projects. i have circled several of them. i have a usaid product in afghanistan, the 3 stoddert million dollar power plant. -- the $at 300 million power plant. clearly, whatever certification was flawed because that is not sustainable. i have the water treatment plant the state department did in iraq, almost $277 million,
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operating at only 20% of capacity because of the failure of the iraqi folks to know how to operate or maintain it. i have the waste water treatment system which was a state department, defense department joint project. is there any argument or push back with any of you on the sustainability front that this has been a failure, and even as we speak we are building things in afghanistan that will not and cannot be sustained? >> clearly, from the defense department perspective, we have not always covered us in this area. in august, we did create the afghanistan resource oversight council. i think we are in our fourth or fifth meeting of that. by several sharechaired
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people. sustainability is clearly a topic on the agenda in each of those meetings, what we can do or not do. i think in testimony before, with general ash, the talk about what we attempted to do to go into, particularly the core of engineering, of dogwood pradesh, -- particularly sustainability, and we are asking the question up front, what is sustainability? have we done it well in the past? no, senator. i we attempting to do a better job of a ford? yes. have we put the structures in place to do a better job? i think we have done that as
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well. >> i guess my biggest problem with this, i know and understand our military is the best in the world because there is no mission they cannot accomplish if we set our minds to it and put the power and resources of this country behind it. and it feels like to me that in some room somewhere, there is not an acknowledgement that we are using fairy dust to really justify what this country can do when we leave the. capable ofey're doing when we leave. i am not talking about security forces. i'm not talking about creating an army for a country that has never had a centralized army. i'm not talking about creating police forces that are capable of sustaining the rule of law when you leave. i'm just talking about who will fix the roads, it will operate the power plants, who will actually have the technical expertise on these water projects.
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it is hard for me to imagine with the gdp of this country once you take out the huge influx of american dollars, they don't have any money. if somebody being brutally honest about going forward with these reconstruction projects as it relates to reality of what this country is once we are gone? >> again, those three individuals are consciously looking at, what are the current projects that are there, what we think the long term tale is? the people who are overseeing the training of the military forces and the ability to do it are participants in that discussion. from my standpoint, i think we have the right people together to attempt to address that question. can we afford it and how will be paid for in the future.
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>> we are building highways for a country that does not even have a highway department. they don't have any revenue. to support their highways. there is no fuel tax, there is no tax out there that would sustain a highway. i just think this certification -- what about the others in terms of this? is there anything that you want to add it on sustainability? and how did this power plant it built? who decided a dual fuel, $300 million power plant was a good idea in the country? >> in essence, it was an interagency decision to move forward with the power plant.
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i do want to know the power plant is working in terms of performance at peak or surge capacity b. >> yikes. that is an expensive generator and a number to see. >> and we have turned it over to the afghan utility portion of the government, so we're looking at how that can be sustainable in the long term. so it is meeting some needs in the country. united the four assistance act requires we focus on sustainable development, and we do that with usaid programs as a key factor whenever we are developing programs or projects. i would say we have some work to do, and we have taken seriously the recommendations. in essence, we have put together a sustainability policy in afghanistan. i was talking with the deputy director of our office of acquisitions -- afghan and pakistani affairs, and he said when he was in afghanistan
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recently, there implementing the sustainability policy at the provincial reconstruction team level. we are taking it seriously. we are putting policies in place and we're looking at the longer- term sustainability in afghanistan. >> anything from state, secretary? >> i would agree there are clearly issues. we try to do a lot in very difficult environments. obviously, we have not succeeded completely. i think my colleagues have addressed that. the major state department activity in this regard is our police program. we're working very carefully with both the government of iraq and the government of afghanistan to ensure that we are providing them the kind of training they need and kind of training that will have a long term, positive impact in their police programs. we have a senior state department officer who was assigned in both iraq and afghanistan as the coordinator for foreign assistance, to make sure we are focusing on
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sustainability. but just as the admiral said, there is a lot that we can do better, and i believe we have learned our lessons. and we welcome the dialogue, as you suggest, how we can ensure sustainability is institutionalized and carry it forward. >> let me know if there any parts of this legislation that he did not think are sustainable. senator portman? >> a lot of titles, i cannot keep them straight. first of all, thank you for getting into the sustainability issue. i did not to hear the entire dialogue. i think that is a critical part of what needs to be done as we talked about in the opening remarks. i know that you also talked about enforcement, suspension, debarment, and other ways to have enforcement play a more credible role. i want to talk more about database, pricing information, which is something that is in
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the bill, also been talked about by the wartime contract in commission. a number of reports have talked about it. it ishow you get a fair price? competition is the best way. another way is to be sure that we have a database of pricing information that is transparent, that is accessible and that is one that the agency and department can rely on. one dramatic example is our report that came out of the special inspector general's office in july last year, which found that one department of defense contractor was charging $900 for a switch that was worth $700. markups ranging from 2300% to 12,000%. we have plenty of examples of this brought forward by the
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reports and the commission itself. competition is a powerful tool but i would like to hear from our witnesses about the feasibility of a systemic way to approach this issue, tracking pricing intermission to ensure contracting since we're getting a good value. we will start with you. i understand dod has established a pilot program under the director of defense pricing and the notion here is to create a more transparent and accessible, accurate data base on prices. can you talk about the status of this program and whether you think is working? is it producing savings? >> certainly. i will start out the department agrees unequivocally that competition is the best way to get good pricing. that pricing -- the pricing effort under the director is -- we do not have good competition
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frequently. it is an effort, what do we need to do to put into the hands of contracting officers when they are negotiating with companies? the information they need. examples i would give is the director from his former life when he speaks, he frequently when he would negotiate missile buys with the army, navy, and air force, he would be the one at the table who understood what was happening. the the process behind the information that we are gathering is to put in one place so when an officer is doing any buying, they can turn to this database and find what was the last negotiation that was done? what were the overhead rates that were there? that can turn to dcma.
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an overhead rate -- is 22% the following year. i really want to know is, tell me how they executed to the rate. if in fact there 20, 21, and 22, with executed was 18, 19, and 20. i would like the absurd to understand that when they are negotiating the under-executed with the rate is so you are putting the contracting officer with the fair photo in which equal knowledge that is there. we have created the cbar, i apologize again to the acronym. we will put all the business clearances and put the pricing information, all the rate information that is available to us so that when you are negotiating with any of the major defense contractors, you will be able to go to this one place and see what everyone has done before you, what did they negotiate, what were their examples.
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i would say from the way the legislation is written and asking if the change, we are leery the way it is read. this is, tell us pricing information. if i am buying poured upon these -- port a potties, what was the price? i do not think you are intending -- when we do not have the forces of competition behind us, what we will have is the ability to provide the contracting officer some tools. we're agreeing we will make it available to opp and other agencies that have the appropriate need to see this information. we believe -- let me step back. when i started doing this in 1973, we expected contracting officers to be skilled pricers. about 1990, coming forward, as
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we downsize within the department, we more or less give away the pricing capability within the contract community. well today we have pockets of people -- while today we have pockets of people, we do not have skills sets. one of the other things is creating groups of people who are experts in pricing and knowledgeable of the specific major companies so that when the different contrasting officers are negotiating, they can turn to this group of experts to help. we have also done -- we have reintroduced what we called mid- level training courses to get the 1102 community to regain the skills necessary to adequately price contracts. >> let me interrupt you for a second. we have a vote in five minutes. i will run over there. the chair and i are very fast
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but will have to take off in a minute. tell me if you think the pilot is working in writing. you have good ideas that are agency wide. tell me how it is working. to the other panelists, any thoughts on this issue, the pricing database and how to be sure we're getting a fair price as was talked about by the commission and second on the trafficking bill, with regard to provisions in the mechanical -- ckaskell bill. >> what i will do is i will ask you to hold. i will run over and vote quickly and come right back. i just have a little bit more for this panel and we have the remaining panel of the ig. i will be right back.
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i would like you to speak before you leave the stand whether you think the limitations we have put on here on decision and debarment or limitations on subcontracting, if you think there workable and -- a contingency -- and they are workable and a contingency. do they cause to pause and, especially as you consider the
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waivers, the provisions we have that there is a six month lead time before these requirements would going to affect -- into effect. the competitive requirements we have in here. let me start with that. do any of those cause you problems as it relates to contrasting in wartime? >> the one tier i think is a problem. i think what the commission on wartime contract and was trying to get to was, why were we unable to break out work that was under [unintelligible] expressly and to go through that. that is good question. the translation of that to one tier in any scenario, wartime or not, is simply unworkable. i cannot imagine a situation with almost anything that we do that i cannot get through eds single tier of subcontracts in doing it. we think there are ways that can
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be rewritten to get to what that commission was trying to do and we are happy to work with the staff to come up with those words. >> as you know, we had a problem in the log cap contract for we had kickbacks with kbr. that is the poster child for contracting done badly. the host trucking contract with multiple layers of subcontracts really had a security risk associated with it as a related to where the money was going. we figured out that some of the money was going to the bad guys. what we're looking for here is we do not want to get away from the efficiencies that subcontracting might provide. we would get to a much more transparent situation. >> in my opening oral statement, the legislation the nda give us
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that grants us to oversee records where the roof rack -- refuse to provide records, that should open the door for us to demand this record and get them task force 2010 which is the one the group is trying to follow the money and get there. the really wanted that legislation. we appreciate the senate's help in providing that legislation. i am hopeful we will not face it again. at least from the standpoint of not being able to get their records. the legislation has given us the authority to go get it. >> what about the three competing compaq's -- the recompeting contracts? >> it depends on what is the scenario. what is the frequency with which we want to turn over contracts. express example i gave was as we were pulling out of iraq and we were looking at to -- at
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recompeting some task orders, -- i would prefer to focus inside iraq. could you leave the contractors in place so we did that? >> would that not be a waiver situation? i would think that would be custom tailored for a waiver situation when you would document there was an either-or here and moving people out with -- was more important than recompeting at that juncture? >> we basically said for all our contracts, particularly where the the technology moves quickly, we do not want contracts that exceed three years. if we are in sole source contracts, we would like to find ways to get to competition. if i am in a scenario where i can i get the competition, i will have a lot of waivers. if i am in a situation, it will be sold source for an extended time, you would see a lot of
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waivers to do that. the waiver provision provides the out. the length of term of the contract is dependent, tell me where i am and tell me the technology of what i am on. tell me how well i can price it. the other issue is it is difficult to price effectively >> you know that if the contract is more than three or four years old, someone is on the back end of it. it may be the contractor. not often enough. i should not say that. i do not want the contractor to be on the back end. i am focused on saving the government money. the more frequent -- i know there's a culture that weighs against recompeting. it is a pain. this is not an exercise everyone looks forward to. the notion that kbr was a non-
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compete came from bosnia. we know they can. there were in bosnia and they got it non-compete and made a huge amount of profit. much more than they needed to make had they been more aggressive. for an openfavor competition. all the points you made were correct. if i could posit one scenario. the state department has put out competitively bid a number of master contracts. we we issue once we have qualified a group of companies. we want to make sure that nothing in the legislation could be interpreted to mean that we would have to back away from that activity. we go out and we see something on food service or security or
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wherever. go to major companies and competitively bid and award and put them on the master list and then reward of task orders. we would not want this limitation to say sense that contract is in effect, it is over two years old. you cannot ask in order that is valid for more than one year. that would set us back. we're trying as you have put forward in the preamble of your legislation to make sure that we have planned and so one of the steps we're taking to plan for the future is to have a master contracts in place competitively bid and we can utilize them having obtained the best price. >> how long do in visit -- envisioned a contract being in place? >> lyders. then we issued task orders that would run the duration. >> was the security contract master contract?
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>> those were individually bid before hand. we want competition, we want to do the best. we want to make sure that our planning that has led to a contract in place would be available to us given the fluid situation. >> could you speak to your -- in response to a report, your administrator wrote in afghanistan, now includes a seven crown -- subcontractor award. that requires the prime contractor to form a certain percentage of the work. have these changes been implemented? >> they have. >> there in every contract now in afghanistan. >> that is correct.
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the limitation is to a two tier sub. >> have you found any problem with having that requirement? is there anything you think in terms of value or competency that you have sacrificed for a two-tier limitation? how long has this been place? >> within the last -- >> i would be anxious to see if you hit any bombs. that seems reasonable that you can restrict the number of tiers and require the prime to do something rather than taking a cut off the top. we have a lot of those around. to many contractors to take a cut off the top. that means they're managing the contract because we're not in a position to manage it ourselves. i would like to see those contracts go away. let me turn to broadbased
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questions. what is not in this legislation you think should be faxed to we go further in many places? have we address training? i worry that we have not gone far enough on training. obviously, we hollowed out the acquisition for us -- force and paid a dear price. think of the money. -- think of the money we lost because we had no one minding the store in contracting. this is what is so hard about funding our government. because what sounds good in the short run in the budget cycle, we do not have a tendency to think in decade-long implications. i think that we have to be careful as we go toward a much cleaner government which we must do. and towards the defense department where dot does not get everything it asks for. it is looked upon to find
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savings many places. what have we -- i think i know the concerns. your staff has visited with us. we know where your concerns are. is there anyplace you like to see us go further or clarify something in the legislation you do not think it's clear? -- think is clear? >> things that concern me is in the area of task performance. not giving when the commission made this recommendation, we objected to it and it is in the legislation, not giving contractors an opportunity to rebut-past performance. we used the performance for other contractors to make decisions when they award going forward. anything that is - 4 requires the officer to explain to -- negative past performance.
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from my standpoint, not giving the contractors an opportunity if there is negative past performance is setting us up downstream where a contracting officer fails to do and go asks, it becomes [unintelligible] and for whatever reason it was an unfair statement. letting one level above the contracting officer have the authority to say, i have looked at what the contractor said. this is what i think the final answer should be. it makes sense to us. there are two issues i would like to see in the bill and one that i have some doubts and will communicate to your staff. i would like to see if at times, lowest price is not always the best value for the american taxpayer. we have had some legislative
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exceptions from time to time allowing us to award contracts on the basis of best value. the best value over time does result in a lower price and the first bid and that. that is something we would be interested in discussing with you and your staff. the second is that the ability to use direct hiring authority that authority expires on september 30 as we're trying to regrow the contracting community. anything that would help us bring in a new generation and get them trained up as fast as we can. it is of very great interest to us. the one issue we are discussing that we're concerned about is in the section on security contracting. there is a statement that the combatant commander in the theater has the final say on all
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security activities. that is of great concern to us because that substitutes the judgment of the combat and commander for that of the secretary of state in determining what is the best way to ensure the diplomatic and consular in assistance programs are protected as opposed to the combatant commander who is focused on protecting the troops and engaged in force projection, rather than force protection. that is the remaining large item of concern. >> ok. you have a sincere fear that the command commander -- combatant commander would view the protection of personnel as not special -- specific enough in terms of decision making power? >> that is correct. there is this charge of the secretary of state that vests
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the responsibility for protecting of civilian employees overseas in the secretary of state. >> i want to follow-up on a previous statement made. umbrellae department's contract is 10 years, not five years. >> there is the base contract and reward these task orders for no more than five years. >> ok. the umbrella contract said they -- contract they could be awarded under is five years, not 10 years. that seems like a long time. you want to make sure that the price is always best. the price is determined in the task orders that are awarded. and so that is where we ensure that the quality is still there and the price is in the best interests of the government. and so you have a master, you have qualified the firms to
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compete for the task order. >> and this is getting far afield. i will not go too far in the lead on this but i would love to spend time with the staff of the committee working on this. frankly, i am not sure that we should ever not have private security forces at embassy -- at embassies in a contingency. there is a strong argument that can be made. if we're in a country where we are fighting a war, that the security of that embassy should be by our military. and not by third world nationals that are being hired by a subcontractor under a 10-year umbrella contract. we have had bad things happen in kabul, as was the subject of a different hearing. i am not saying that is the fault of the contracting that went on. i just think that if we are in a contingency, i think the people
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at the embassy could be best protected by american military. >> we would certainly. we have -- benefit greatly now and overtime with cooperation from our military colleagues. we also know that the u.s. military is exceedingly stretched, and when i first served in iraq in 2003, the u.s. military was protecting the civilian contingent but over the course of time, as the demands on the u.s. military increased, they could not and did not have the resources to protect us. i have less than 2000 diplomatic security special agents and officers for the entire world. 285 embassies and consulates and their responsibilities for security protection of foreign dignitaries in the u.s. so i am caught in a bind here. i am required to ensure that we can continue diplomatic and
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consular operations not only in war zones, the sounds of conflict, but also everywhere else in the world and the ability to do that is constrained by my internal resources and the resources that dot is able to put at my disposal. and the compromise there is to do the better job that we are doing, more training in these master contracts that will have a better quality control so that we avoid the problem that you alluded to in kabul two years ago. i would note the u.s. embassy has been attacked twice in the last six months and is that same security personnel who have done heroically in defending the u.s. embassy against the attacks, the one this past sunday and won several months ago. >> that is a new contract. >> is the same one. >> i thought eod was
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terminated. >> they never started. the previous contractor that was involved with a small unit of specific people, those individuals were replaced. the upper level management replaced, the company is still there and will be there until the new contractor rives. >> i did not realize that. armor is still there under the bridge contract. >> yes. >> i would like to support the points raised by my fellow panel members but i want to note as undersecretary kennedy mansion, he is able to supply resources to support his acquisition assistance work force. we are requesting that authority. if there is a way to have support so we have that steady stream, that is important for
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us. one other thing i did want to correct in terms of the subcontracting while we are at the two-tier. we have a process where the a mess border -- administrator would approve it if you go beyond those three. we want some flexibility on subcontracting. i did want to note that. >> we have every place that we have said this should be the role, we put in waivers. what we're looking for is a change in what is the primary contact of contracting and contingencies and because it is a contingency and stuff happens, there are times when waivers will be necessary. at least if waivers are necessary, that means you'll get documentation which is one of the challenges we have in this area. i will thank all three of you. in some ways i have been a broken record on the subject for
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five years but i have a tendency -- i am trying to be kind to the institution i am lucky to serve in. sometimes this place has the attention span of a kindergarten class. i have noticed that things like this once the move off the front pages have a tendency to fall through the cracks. i want to get this across the finish line in terms of getting these changes into law and was trying progress as we'd clean up contracting and contingencies. one thing i will let you know is i did have an amendment to pull all the aif funds at of afghanistan and have them go into the highway trust fund. people did not think i was serious. i was serious and the reason is the projects that are on the board for aif which is morphing into serp. the projects we have ongoing are
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not going to be completed until 2014. if we're adding additional resources for the next fiscal year, we're starting new projects. i am not yet -- have not yet gotten what the defense department is envisioning these projects might be and if we are starting new infrastructure projects as we're trying to pull out, then we may end up with that reality that i think it is hard for americans to understand. our military would be gone from afghanistan. we would have a full force of contractors would be paying on the ground for years to come on projects that we would struggle to provide security necessary for completion under that scenario. i continue to wait to find out what this new $400 million that has been requested is supposed to be building in afghanistan over the next six years and hope you can spread the word


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