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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 25, 2011 8:30am-12:00pm EDT

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every single person, seemingly, over 10 years old has a mobile device, and that requires more spectrum. >> host: is this going to be tough getting that through congress? >> guest: it is hard for me to predict. i know i have some engagement with congress, but i for the life of me, i can't read them. but i am hopeful that we will come to a series of decisions that will sync up the needs of the market and be our ability to go forward in terms of good policy making. >> host: mignon clyburn, fcc commissioner. as always, thanks for being on "the communicators." howard buskirk, "communications daily," thank you as well. >> guest: my pleasure. >> you've been watching "the communicators," c-span's weekly look at the issues and people affecting telecommunications policy. if you missed any of this program with fcc commissioner mignon clyburn, you can see "the
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communicators" again tonight and each monday night at 8 p.m. eastern here on c-span2. >> ahead on c-span2, a look at u.s. strategy in afghanistan, libya and the middle east with author and political commentator ann coulter and americans for tax reform president grover norquist. then members of the commission on wartime contracting in iraq and afghanistan hear from government officials on eliminating obstacles to changing contracting procedures. >> all week you can see -- all this week you can see booktv program anything prime time featuring replays from our "after words" series as well as selections from recent history, biography and political programs. it begins tonight at 8:30 eastern as author and columnist bill kristol discusses his late father's essays in the his book,
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the neoconservative persuasion. it includes writings on politics, religion and american culture. david brooks hosts the discussion. then at 9:30 eastern pulitzer prize-winning author annette gordon-reed on andrew johnson. she recounts the president's reluctance to provide civil rights to recently-freed slaves and his lack of leadership. later, columnist eric alterman talks about his book, kabuki democracy in this which he con tends president obama has been unable to deliver on many of his campaign promises. that begins at 10:30 p.m. eastern. booktv in prime time all week here on c-span2. >> may 1st in, in depth, your questions for tibor machan.
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his books include private rights and public illusions, the promise of liberty, and the man without a hobby. and he'll take your calls, e-mails and tweets live sunday, may 1st, at noon eastern on c-span2's booktv. >> now, author and political commentator ann coulter and americans for tax reform president grover norquist. they talk about the afghanistan war and u.s. policy toward libya and the middle east. this event was part of a series of discussions hosted by the afghanistan study group. from the carnegie endowment for international peace in washington, this is about an hour. >> i know all of us, including myself, are very much looking forward. i have no idea where we're going to go in this next session, but i'm very excited about it. let me just say a few words about ann coulter. a couple of years ago i got a call from folks that were
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watching my web site and getting into the metrics of measuring and said, steve, washington note has just gone totally crazy. you couldn't get on it, it was breaking down. and i kind of got into the guts of it to look, and i had this blog called "human evented" or this web site that had link today my blog, and i had just written a comment about one of the criteria that barack obama may have used in thinking about joe biden is the notion that he didn't have many assets. and in the united states senate he ranked last in terms of his personal wealth. so i thought that was sort of a cool thing. and ann saw it differently, but she linked to this blog. that's where my relationship with ann coulter began, and i was greatly appreciative and have been hoping for more since. ann coulter is the author of seven new york times bestsellers, she writes a popular syndicated column for the united press syndicate. she clerked for the honorable pass coa bowman of the united
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states court of appeals for the eighth circuit. i worked in the senate after i served as founding director of the nix sob center. ann practiced law but also worked for the senate judiciary committee, so she worked for senator spencer abraham. we know her as a provocative, thoughtful just texas twister, i suppose. [laughter] of sorts. but without further ado, let me invite ann coulter and then, of course, after ann speaks and offers her provocations, we'll have questions, but i've also invited another friend, grover norquist, and i'm going to say a word about grover right now. grover has been somewhat of a partner with me, and i think grover's right behind the door here. grover? he's missing his c-span moment. [laughter] grover is president, of course, of americans for tax reform. he's a member of the board of directors of the national rifle association, the american conservative union as well as the advisory counsel of gop proud. he is the author of the book
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"leave us alone." more important, though, grover norquist has been i won't say a partner because i don't want your people to begin protesting you because of your relationship with kiev clemens -- with steve clemens, but to get conservatives to talk about these vital issues is what it is about. it is extremely important that the issues that we've talked about so thoroughly today get a fair hearing, get discussed, and this is something to create a discussion on my view, and grove's been a great ally and friend of that. tbroafer, i'm going to ask you to sit over here with me and, please, welcome ann coulter. >> thank you. [applause] thank you. thank you. well, i'm not sure if you know this, i am not an expert on afghanistan. but i am something of an expert on liberals. and that explains what we're doing in the afghanistan. consider that our bombs cost
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more than anything we could possibly hit in afghanistan. but democrats don't care about the cost of anything. the only time it ever comes up is as an afterthought when they oppose some federal initiative for policy reasons. they view the american worker as a 7-eleven, to be robbed. we know they don't care about any programs unless you consider tax cuts a federal program. when it comes to missile defense programs, abstinence programs or tax cuts that's when we suddenly hear, oh, it's very expensive, we're concerned about the cost. suddenly, they become hard-headed, fiscal conservatives. they think art therapy for the homeless, that'll pay for itself, but tax cuts, ooh, that's going to break the budget. free health care system for all americans, revenue gusher. [laughter] but taking out sal dam hue --
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saddam hussein was, apparently, the one federal program that ended up costing a lot of money and bankrupted the country. after all of the democrats' hysteria about iraq, it's curious that obama then sent more troops to afghanistan. the reason liberals support sending troops to afghanistan is that it serves absolutely no united states national interest. [laughter] three weeks into bush's war in afghanistan, we had accomplished everything went going to accomplish in that god forsaken area of the world. a popular liberal chant during the iraq war, you'll remember, was saddam didn't hit us on 9/11. saddam didn't hit us. well, afghanistan certainly didn't hit us. the taliban had invited osama bin laden into afghanistan to help deal with the northern alliance. they didn't want to attack the united states.
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mullah omar had no idea what was coming. really, do we have to attack the united states? couldn't we just go after curds in curds -- kurds in the north? afghanistan has never exploited violence to, you know, go out and kill the infidels. their very tribes fight one another, but they don't export terrorism. they, afghanistan has always been the invaded, not the invaders. so after the 9/11 attack america's only interest in afghanistan was to take out the taliban, kill or neutralize osama bin laden, take out al-qaeda's bases and quarantine the entire country. we had accomplished that before the end of 2001. so why is obama sending more troops to afghanistan now? to quote one of liberals' favorite arguments against the war in iraq, what would victory look like in afghanistan?
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afghanistan is one of the most illiterate nations in the world, it's sort of a wild west country with more goats than flush toilets. what are we going to accomplish in afghanistan? the war there is just going to bleed us and bleed us and bleed us with no purpose, with no idea of victory. and the only reason for this is that this was of a democratic talking point against george bush. both in 2004 and 2008 we kept hearing that afghanistan was the good war. it was -- iraq was distracting us from the good war in afghanistan. that's because after, immediately after 9/11 liberals couldn't very well say their proposal was unilateral surrender which it was. no, let's attack no one in response to 9/11. so they pretended to support the war in afghanistan except michael moore and then spent the
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next seven and a half years trying to distinguish afghanistan from iraq. um, it was iraq was a war of choice whereas afghanistan, the good war. that was a war of necessity. and be i ask you -- and i ask you, was michelle's trip to spain a trip of necessity or a trip of choice? neither afghanistan, nor any country attacked us on 9/11. both iraq and afghanistan were sheltering associates of the terrorists who hit us on 9/11. so either both the wars were wars of choice, or both were wars of necessity. maybe for their next trick democrats can tell us why fighting adolf hitler was a war of necessity and not a war of choice. because adolf didn't, didn't hit us on 9/11. he never hit us, never planned to hit us. but obama says, he's explained why that was a war of necessity. not the ideology sought to subjugate, humiliate and
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exterminate. it perpetrated war on a massive scale. so, what, saddam was just moody? [laughter] obama won't admit that his enthusiasm for war in iraq was just a line on a campaign trail. so now we'll have to be in afghanistan for 30 years without end so the democrats can fulfill a line they used against bush in the campaign. this is the essence of democratic foreign policy. liberals made fun of sarah palin for not being able to define the bush doctrine. can anyone define the obama doctrine? even obama can't define it. the reason liberals can't, can never explain their approach to foreign policy is that if they said it out loud, americans would burn them in oil. since vietnam the democratic party has supported foreign intervention only if it serves no interests of the united states. if it serves our national security interest, they're hysterically opposed.
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let's review the history of liberals' intervention in the middle east or, as i call it, the great pyramid scheme. it was, of course, president jimmy carter's masterful handling of war in iraq -- or iran that led to the shah being deposed and islamic fundamentalism getting its fist real foothold -- first real foothold in the middle east, a calamity we're still dealing with, even as carter was back stabbing this loyal united states' ally in iran. the shah was assuring those around him, don't worry, the united states has always been our friend. we can count on them now. [laughter] there was no one there to warn him. there's a democrat in the white house, run for your life! this little exercise in democracy led to americans being held hostage for 444 days. we were standing tall under jimmy carter until that giant swimming rabbit came along. democrats are all for meddling in other countries, thus, for
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example, liberals loved clinton's misadventure in the balkans which posed no threat to the united states, served no u.s. national security interest. to the contrary, clinton bragged at the time, this is america at its best. we seek no territorial gain. we seek no political advantage. so why are we there? liberals see the united states military as their little do-gooder project. after all of liberals' prattle about saddam hussein not being an imminent threat to the united states, we're apparently only allowed to attack a country if they are moments away from launching a first strike on america, what was milosevic's threat to the united states? there was yugoslavia proposed no threat to the united states, not latent, not burgeoning, not now, not ever. no, liberals were proud of that.
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that's if you don't count all the u.s. highway deaths caused by yugos. [laughter] clinton compared the balkans to stopping a hate crime. that's what we use the taxpayer-funded u.s. military for, stopping a hate crime. if milosevic was committing a hate crime, saddam was creating a hate holocaust. while despite madeleine albright and poetry-writing secretary william cohen telling us hundreds of thousands of civilians had been killed by milosevic, when the international tribunal went looking for bodies, meanwhile, saddam hussein had gassed hundreds of thousands of his own people, had used chemical weapons against hundreds of thousands of his neighbors, but only in the case of iraq were liberals hysterical that america did not have sufficient reason for going to war. they wailed that we were, we
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were intervening sole hi to affect -- solely to effect regime change which one pompous liberal after another told us was an illegitimate reason, regime change. why did they by we were bomb withing sloe bow can milosevic? and what is obama doing now in libya, community organizing? you'd think democrats would at least wait a few years after their his tier -- hysteria over iraq and regime change is illegitimate. just wait a few years before intervening in libya and egypt. but, no, with liberals history always begins today. it's unfair and illegitimate to quote what they said yesterday. push has already -- bush has already removed the taliban regime in afghanistan, won a war in iraq and established a pretty well-functioning democracy. he's turned middle east leaders
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despots into really sort of pussycat despots who are terrified that bush would invade them as we know from mubarak rushing to the british after we invaded iraq saying, is he going to invade me next? through all of that, democrats were carping and nay saying everything we did in the war on terrorism. but now, now that the country's rolling in money they want foreign interventions every place. libya, egypt, escalating, escalating, escalating pointlessly in afghanistan. where are the demands for humanitarian interventions back when we were taking out the guy with the rape rule, you know, the one who gassed his own neighbors, was desperately seeking weapons of mass destruction? where were the demands for democracy in the middle east when we were actually establishing one? no, liberals couldn't have been
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less interested in englishing democracy in iraq. if turnout had been any higher in iraq's first election, nancy pelosi would have had to fly over to aid the insurgents. so it's really adorable seeing them get all choked up about democracy in the middle east now in places like egypt and libya where our intervention is far less likely to succeed. but you just can't get democrats to focus on national security. they really care about domestic policy, redistributing income, and they'll throw troops around the world to make it look like they're tough on national security. you see, as long as liberals are so gung ho of getting rid of out of touch, overbearing dictators, how about starting with janet napolitano? why did they want to keep saddam hussein in power again? what was liberals' interest in that? all they said was saddam was five long years from developing a weapon of mass destruction.
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well, we invaded in march 2003, so by my calculations that means by march 2008 saddam would have total control of the middle eastment what did we do then? they keep saying what about north korea, what about north korea? well, yeah, once they get a nuke it becomes a much trickier problem. the truth is for those of you already familiar with my work, they were opposed to going into iraq because the war in iraq would serve the united states' national security interests. facing long, pointless, never-ending wars in afghanistan, egypt and libya, that's the kind of wars liberals like. oh, you know, another country where obama was not interested in democracy, yes, iran. iran is ideal for democracy. you'd have a young, pro-western, highly-educated populace, but it's led by a messianic loan,
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mahmoud ahmadinejad. so why upset that apple cart? everything's working fine. when peaceful iranian students were out on the streets protesting an election that had been stolen in 2009, about 18 months ago, we didn't hear a peep out of obama. the students had good reason to think the election had been rigged and some pro-ahmadinejad districts. turnout was over 100%. wait, no, i'm sorry, i was thinking of al franken's election in minnesota. [laughter] but there was a lot of vote stealing in iran as well. but when it came to iran, liberals could not have cared less about peaceful protesters, not decapitating. when an iranian protester was shot dead in the street, obama responded forcefully by going out and is having an ice cream cone. then a year later liberals are hopping for democracy in egypt.
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they're all for the protesters decapitating mommy, shooting guns in the air. mubarak supported u.s. policy, used his military to fightists, recognized -- to fight terrorists, recognized israel's right to exist or, as liberals call it, three strikes and you're out. obama didn't care about peaceful protesters protesting an election where we knew what the outcome would be. the guy who won the election would become president. he didn't care about the kurds being gassed by saddam hussein. but egyptians start decapitating mommies, and the democrats are hot for democracy. obama said of the egyptian protesters, we hear your voices. you didn't hear our voice and we were tea partiers protesting right outside the white house. as long as obama could hear the egyptian voices, i wish he'd ask them what they think of
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obamacare. maybe they could change his mind. democrats' main argument against mubarak was the high unemployment figures in egypt. remember? they kept talking about, oh, they're all out of work, no one can find a job. have they seen the u.s. employment numbers? are we one jobs report from liberals rioting in the streets? then obama ordered air strikes in libya. many have pointed out he didn't support the rebels when the rebels actually overturned the despot. it's only he jumps in when the rebels can't take the despot. now we're on the losing side. excellent. and the timing couldn't be better. gadhafi has just given up his nukes and paid and weapons of mass destruction. he invited the international inspectors in to show that he had given up his nuclear program after we invaded iraq and, also, recently paid, admitted
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culpability in the downing of flight, what was it, the flight over lockerbie. paid each of the families $8 million. why are we taking out mubarak now? only bill o'reilly seems to think we're taking him out to pay him back for the lockerbie bombing because the only reason to get liberals to support american intervention someplace is that it serves no interest of the united states. that's why for the past 50 years democrats have orchestrated one humiliating foreign policy defeat after another. in vietnam, in somalia, korea, title ix, the list goes on and on. time and again democrats' fecklessness has emboldened american enemies, terrified its allies, and we're seeing that
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all over again. i believe this was the actual slogan of the state department under jimmy carter. yes, here it is, u.s. department of state emboldening american enemies and terrifying america's allies since 197 6. the incontrovertible lesson of history is if at all possible, don't allow democrats anywhere near foreign policy. and i know what you're thinking, but not even to keep them away from domestic policy. there's always a conflict of interest when people who don't really care for america are asked to defend it. for 50 years democrats have harbored traitors, lost wars, lost continents to communism, sheltered america's enemies, defended america's enemies. their utter incompetence at national security is bad enough when the economy is booming. but we're not exactly rolling in money right now to be going on these pointless foreign interventions staged by democrats to prove they can be
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trusted with national defense. this was, incidentally, why lyndon johnson said he was escalating the war in vietnam. he wanted to show that democrats could be trusted on national security. always the same thing with these democrats. so i guess now we're going to pay for democrats' never ending foreign interventions in afghanistan, for example, right now. i don't see an end to that. with all the money we'll be saving with obamacare. i'll conclude now with a quote from the only liberal who -- or the only man who knows liberals better than i, tailgunner joe, joe mccarthy. he said if they were merely stupid, the laws of predictability then only some of their decisions would serve the united states. and that is what we're seeing over and over again. i understand some of you are also against the war in iraq, so i will very much look forward to
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question and answer period. thanks, you've been a great audience. [applause] >> thank you. you know, it's fun. i spoke over the weekend with arianna huffington and thought for a minute we might have an interesting back and fort on this. but i thought what is very important in this discussion, as i said before, is to get a conversation on the right. i get your frame, it's not exactly mine. i'm going to invite grover to share, but before i do, just something to think about. another encounter i had with ann coulter that was so important. when michael steele, then chairman of the republican national committee, came out and basically said this war the administration's directed is sort of doubling down on a failed strategy. michael steele was somewhat severely attacked not by liberals for -- well, they were attacking him too -- but he was also being attacked by republicans, some of whom you know. and you came to his defense and wrote an extremely articulate set of concerns about the
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afghanistan war. how was that? how did it come out? is bill kristol, bob kagan, some of your friends in the republican party were also, at least on the obama side of the equation of that. grover, your thoughts and can comments. why don't you join us here. >> thank you. it was at a dinner that you hosted a couple months ago that i raised what i thought was a not terribly ambitious goal suggesting that those in the center-right should have a conversation about the costs and the benefits, the purposes and the end goals of the american occupation of afghanistan. and to ask, you know, what are we doing and how long are we staying and what's it going to cost. and there was some criticism, but we did, i think, in the center-right begin to get a conversation going. and i want to first talk about sort of why we didn't have a robust conversation over the last ten years and why it's
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difficult getting it going. i think there are a couple reasons. one is there's no draft, so there are a whole bunch of people who don't have skin in the game and who don't enter the conversation. part of it was it started under bush's watch, and republicans were reflexively just supporting the president. and, of course, republicans all cheerfully voted for bush when he said we're going to have a humbler foreign policy and not get wrapped around the axle on places that we can't pronounce. yugoslavia and somalia, we weren't going to be doing that sort of thing anymore. republicans said, fine, yes, good. and then when he decided not simply to knock out the taliban government and try and kill the leadership of al-qaeda but decided the -- decided to stay
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and turn afghanistan into kansas, people continued to say, okay. and there wasn't a conversation that, wait a minute, we went from kinder, gentler to jumping on top of another country and occupying a rather large country with a history of not being appreciative of being occupied and getting involved in all sorts of tribal matters that perhaps we didn't understand as well as we might. and yet because it was a republican president a lot of republicans said, okay, and let it slide. and you didn't have a conversation. then you also had something that seemed to me sort of the flipside of vietnam where republicans, center-right people remembered the left being very harsh in their criticism of american troops during vietnam, and all of a sudden support the troops became the phrase that was used when it was, when the actual statement was stop questioning the president's policies. okay? and i, and it was as if be you
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didn't -- if you didn't wish to continue the occupation of afghanistan, then somehow you were, like, for leaving the american troops there ask taking the food and the weapons and the supplies with you home and leaving them in -- i'm not sure anybody had suggested that, but somehow if you weren't for the policy, you weren't for the troops. and i think kind of runs the other way. you're not being supportive of the troops if you're not thinking through how best to protect them and to make their work and their sacrifice worthwhile. and successful. now, normally you'd think conservatives, center-right elected officials, activists who demand a cost benefit analysis of every epa regulation -- as they ought -- haven't been making the same request when lives are at stake and a great deal of money. $100 billion or more to occupy a country whose gdp is not 100
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billion. .. >> ronald reagan decided not to occupy lebanon when our marines were hit in lebanon. he didn't say we will now stay and manage your civil war. for the next 15 years. he actually said we're not going to stay and be in the middle of your civil war. and the lebanese had a perfectly fine civil war all by themselves. it didn't require our
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supervision or our financing, and no better or worse than if we had stayed and sat on top of it and left one day. so, is there an opportunity, is there a reason for optimism that perhaps we can have a conversation on the right that is a useful conversation? i think yes for a couple of reasons. there was some interesting polling data that's a two-thirds of conservatives think everything we've done in afghanistan is worth while respecting the truce sacrifices, referring to bush's judgment. and two-thirds want to do something radically different in the future. you might look at that sake and what happened last week that makes, that makes sense. i think it makes sense if people don't want to dishonor the sacrifice or get into a conversation about have we been wasting money and lives for some time now, but okay, setting that aside now, looking forward what do we want to do. something dramatically
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different. and that gives us an open if we don't spend a lot of time trashing obama and osha decisions up until this point, and instead focus on why i'm here, what are we doing, what's the benefit, what are the costs of continuing this, and would've the opportunity costs. if we were not spending the lives of troops and money there, what could we be doing with the time and effort? so one, public is willing to having a conversation. two from the center-right this is -- this is now obama's or so this should be sort of ollie ollie in come free. everybody on the right is now a loud to think for themselves on this subject. we are not following the republican president in this conversation, and with the increase in the number of troops it's become a different operation and a much more expensive one.
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i emceed a panel discussion at katowitz three republican congressmen, a number of months ago, and i asked them off the record in private what percentage of republican members of congress believe the continuation of our sitting on top of iraq was a wise -- not knocking out the dictator, but staying in managing and being on top of iraq, and three of them said all and it was a mistake. i made to answer the question again because i was expecting 10, 20, 50, who knows. so you have this conversation among republicans who don't feel they have permission yet somehow to ask tough questions, and that's breaking free. so i think there's some real opportunities.
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again, reason for optimism, there is no political structure within the republican -- someone said i'm going to go steal people's comfort i can assure you within republican party, the conservative public there's a structure that said no, no, no. you're not allowed to do that. i happen to match the structure this is don't be raising taxes either. but there is anything within the center-right which draws lines in the sand on a foreign policy question like afghanistan. the republican presidential candidate said i think we should shift and decide not to occupy afghanistan for the next 10, 20, 30 years. there maybe five op-ed writers who would send them nasty notes but there's no vote against that. those no primary, there's no structure, institution that draws a line in the sand that would want to does not down drag out fight. i think we have begun belatedly, tried to go through why did it take so long, why is it still
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taking a while, why hasn't it been faster, but why is their optimism that there can be the steps. the inarticulateness, and if you buy those people said you can't do that. what i suggest we have a conversation, max boot said that was laughable to ask for a conversation. and a couple of the guys said well, grover just called for leaving afghanistan tomorrow. i suggest we should have an open conversation about the cost of the benefits, and that people are advocates of the status quo believe if you had a conversation about the costs and benefits, everyone would want to leave. that's not exactly showing a robust defense of their position in life, and it reminds one of the old joke of the east german dictator who, towards the end of east germany turned to his wife, or his wife turned him and said why don't you open the berlin
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wall, open it up, and he was surprised because she was a pretty little communist anything but and finally he smiled and said oh, you just want to be alone with me. because he had sort taken several steps and decide if you open up everyone would leave, which is not exactly showing a great deal of faith in his creation in east germany. and again, those who want to argue for the status quo or a version of the status quo, reoccupation of afghanistan who want to try to shout down a conversation, are really telling you not that we believe they have no argument. i'm open to listening to the argument. i've been waiting for 10 years for an explanation about why this makes sense, and i'm open to that. but they evidently don't think they have it, and that's kind of damning when you think about it. thank you. >> grover, thank you very much. [applause] >> we will take some question. maybe i can just open with a question about the michael
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steele case if you said it was one of the most quoted pieces you've written about afghanistan. what was that like? there's a piece of republican versus republican that you got into somewhat ferociously and i think there's an echo aspect of that. >> yes, interestingly, welcome michael steele made his comments about afghanistan that were secretly taped its i think they should've been publicly day. they were great statements and something i have been saying over and over again on tv, what is our purpose in afghanistan. it's the reverse of what liberals say iraq was the good or. afghanistan, we were done in three weeks. it was great the first three weeks, after that it was unnecessary. this was basically what michael steele said at this connecticut fundraiser, and suddenly all of these republicans attacked him, including my friend bill kristol and lynne cheney. so i wrote a column titled he once said michael steele had to
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be fired so i wrote a column said fire bill kristol. and i got more response to that column, and positive response, then any column i've written probably in a few years. >> probably even from liberals spent a lot of conservatives. and i think the reason a lot of it came from conservatives is a little bit of what grover was saying, we are so used to, and by the way, this is an excellent rule of thumb. if democrats say black, we say white. you will be right 90% of the time. probably 98% of the time. and so liberals, you know, so hated the war in iraq, they hated the first three weeks of afghanistan. republicans genuinely liked the troops as opposed to liberals who hate them, but pretend you like them. and so what a lot of republicans i think sort of feel the impulse to support any form intervention. they don't remember vietnam. they don't member the democrats
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-- democrats idea of the military is that they are, i don't know, well-dressed and well armed boy scouts out doing charitable work. i mean, if you look at the two sort of extremes to make it clear, you have, i will call it the republican position, the military used to be used to promote the interests of the united states. we wish other countries will end their civil wars, as grover mentioned, but if we're going to be risking american lives, and a lot of american money, then it ought to be to put america in a better position. no one -- i mean come even bush can't even republicans will never say it that clearly. so the first gulf war when should i was against him and i think i was against it because the first president bush didn't exploit it more clearly. i don't know much about the middle east. if you just come out and said
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this is a crucial area of the work for the best states, including oil. and by the way, this idea of going to war just for oil, of course we should go to war for oil. it's likely we're going to war just for oxygen, just for food. we need oil. that's a good reason to go to war. know, the the first president bush said oh, one country into the other. but what if they start talking about the military being used for humanitarian purposes, for nationbuilding purposes, if you think the military can be used for promoting the interests of the united states, you get confused. if bush had said this is in america's interest, this is the central area of a crucial region of the world. we can't have this lunatic going in, taking over countries, stopping the oil flow blah, blah, blah. then i would have supported it. at the other end of the spectrum, and again, an extreme example, yes the president is the commander-in-chief but what
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if obama sends you his troops to the bahamas to build disneyland? does the constitution allow him to do that what he's the commander-in-chief. that there's supposed to be doing what armies do and not building ferris wheels and obama's. i'm not sure how that would ever come out legally to go before the supreme court. perhaps in an impeachment, but i think the humanitarian goals are similar to building the ferris wheel. that's not what the military is for. whether it is somalia, i guess in iraq, though the reason i supported our forces staying in iraq to oversee the nationbuilding was something that again republicans will not say clear. we wanted a puppet government, or at least let's say a friendly government. that's in our interest to make sure that democracy doesn't lead
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to them voting and osama bin laden. otherwise why did we spend all that money invading. we want a friendly government there to keep some troops there to oversee the transition which, even a republican president, will promote as the idea, well, we're helping to build a democracy. know, from our interest were helping to build a government that is not going to turn and start sheltering terrorists who would then fly planes into our skyscrapers. so i think that is a clear division and the reason i keep being so repetitive on the point of liberals only support the war as long as it serves no interest in the united states is it is hard to believe. it seems like and colder hyperbole. but if you go through the history of the interventions they support and the ones they oppose, that explains liberals. i'm not sure what explains republicans who support wars where none of us can see any advantage to the united states.
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i don't know what motivates them. >> there are some. >> there seem to be some. >> will go to kerry and then tommy. >> googood afternoon. giffen your positions you are taking from what i have had some of you, the clear funding for the war in afghanistan should be cut off. and given the budget cutting our designating tsunami that's going to washington, why don't we hear more of this coming from your adherence or followers in the tea party? >> that's a good question. i mean, grover the answer on the republican, actually republican senator that i could, but i think it's because of what i said at the beginning just now of how republicans have this instinct, and grover said in terms of support troops, support the troops. so always supporting this country going to war.
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they forget about things like somalia, bosnia, vietnam. when democrats are sending the troops, it often has actually nothing to do with making this country more secure, safer, serving our interests. i mean, it's just like you get in such a habit of always supporting sending the troops there, and you have been fighting these olympics and the code pink people. it's american troops than we are for. i think there are some although i was surprised by the response to my column fire bill kristol, that a lot more conservatives understand the point i was making than i thought. >> keep it brief, tommy. [inaudible] i just wanted if it influence your approach to muslim countries? >> i'm glad you asked. his name is not asked mustafa. i just called and that as a
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nickname. he is more right wing, we are still friends, he is more right wing that i am, and just incidentally on 9/11, he pretty much gave of islam. and i think we are a few tweets away from making them a christian to anything, an american. he escaped the communist, or his family escaped economies in bosnia to go to see. then he escaped to syria to come to this country. he's an american. he would agree with everything i said and yes can he did ask -- influence the. everything about 9/11 turned out to be true, including i kept saying, but why would, why is saddam shaking his this at the hesitate during us to invade? and he said, it's all a matter of saving face but it would matter if he had if it weapons
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of mass destruction. that area of the welcome he has to shake his fist at the united states otherwise they will completely lose faith. although we did find weapons did find weapons of mass instruction and we do know, thanks to joe wilson to that clown, joe wilson, two major investigations both in britain and here, saddam was seeking enriched uranium for not niger. and general, what's his name, george said that saddam moved his stockpile to i think he said he moved them to syria. okay, we didn't find the stockpiles. but he was trouble and i guess unlike a lot of you, i am a big supporter of the war on iraq even more than george bush apparently has found through dick cheney and name, huge fans of that were. i think it was important for 8 billion different reasons. i think we need and israel, an air of israel. we need a democracy of arab someplace over there. and you do have that in iraq. we accomplish that. [inaudible] >> you had that in lebanon. >> you have had.
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yes. perhaps that would be. that and iran, i would be more interested in regime change in than libya, egypt him and whatever we're doing in afghanistan. >> right here at the front. >> thank you. a couple questions very quick. if the taliban had given up bin laden as we demanded before we went in, do you think we would now be in afghanistan and? >> ask a question. no, i don't. >> if we had succeeded in killing bin laden, which was our original purpose, what i consider the first afghan war which had a purpose, would we still be in afghanistan and? and then finally come is a world where exactly the way it is today, except for our presence in afghanistan, is there any reason why we would then go into afghanistan today? >> and first on the first question for if they had given
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up on osama bin laden, that would also be and his al qaeda camps. we would go in and take all of them. it isn't just this one made. and that became kind of a liberal myth, the chant you'd always hear, where's osama, where is osama? why haven't you got a solid? we had the choice. he is on the run, he is hiding in a cave someplace. it's not like if you took out kenny rogers, all country music would die. it is the whole network. so we needed to take out the al qaeda camps and osama bin laden. if we had killed him, i think it probably -- one thing i sort of disagree with grover on, and maybe on underestimate how much effort and lives were being spent by the bush administration, but my recollection was we pretty much wrapped things up in three weeks and left some troops behind. you know, spending some time
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looking for osama, spending some time making sure al qaeda didn't emerge again. but there was a lot of money. and as i recall, the end of the bush administration they were very few deaths from afghanistan, particularly compared to iraq were as the deaths of our troops have gone through the roof since obama came in. and something they don't talk about. we used to get those constant of troop deaths from iraq. i'm not getting them from afghanistan since obama has become president. and for what point? >> real brief. i will try to be brief. to point. one point is the stolen election in iran. that election wasn't even disputed, like the one we have here in 2000. ahmadinejad runs fair and square, we ought to get over it. the question i have for you is this. we said and perhaps you're right, that ahmadinejad gave up his nuclear program --
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>> no, mubarak. gadhafi, sorry. no, i would like to go into iraq. >> she meant to david for those watching. >> oh, sorry. >> i think it's an important point if i may, because while we're in this era of distraction right now, the 900-pound gorilla we should be thinking of in egypt, we're spending a lot of political shows on libya. a lot of stuff going on in afghanistan. but there's been meet with north korea between north korea sending signals it will begin misbehaving again because it sees us as militarily overextended. and by the way, there will be no strategy at all to get north korea to give up its nuclear weapons system because we just invaded a country that had nuclear weapons, and systems and programs. so the distance is that now have become huge for other governments in the future, the whole calculus has changed. answer negotiations with north korea to get rid of nuclear
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arms, fundamentally don't make sense. i just want to bring this up as well. i think it's important -- >> it was an important year. that's when iran stopped working on a nuclear weapon. and i thought i heard you admit that, but i guess i was wrong. >> two points. sorry about that. gadhafi, mubarak. i can keep these muslim names straight. and no, i -- liberals were wrong about ahmadinejad giving up his nuclear program. remember, that's another thing they lied about. we kept hearing about all our intelligence agencies, and for those of you who watch msnbc, that's all we heard about for a week on how bush had to apologize to, gentle as a lamb, ahmadinejad because our intelligence agencies had determined he had given up his nuclear programs. and then boots, december 2009 ahmadinejad announces were nuclear.
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oh, well, i guess we are the 8 billionth time in the last five years the cia was wrong. data we can save some money. you fiscal conservatives. just shut down the cia because wal-mart has better intelligen intelligence. >> lisa savage with code pink. in attempting to understand u.s. foreign policy under succession of administrations, i'm curious why you overlook the role of the miss profits for corporations that build weapons systems, contract secure services and so forth. it seems to be a very large factor, yet i'm not doing that. >> that would be one of the advantages of the war. obama is spending all this money on stimulus bill. we are providing jobs for public school teacher. if that were to i would be more in favor of it, except alas, it doesn't serve the united states
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security interests. >> while we're waiting i just want to have another question. haley barbour has become i think a major possible republican presidential contender, has come out and express a lot of concern about afghanistan in the last week. howard dean interestingly also yesterday basically said we need to get out of afghanistan. you can see some doing to. on hold i haven't haven't heard mitt romney, mitch daniels, polenta, sarah palin and others kind of lineup yet and call this. but you think that dynamics begin to build among the republican presidential hopefuls at? >> i think that is a tricky issue for them. the same way the further issue is tricky for them. they don't want to be annoying people who might otherwise vote for them. and especially in a primary.
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and you still do have republicans who have -- i think kind of a knee-jerk instinct to support any foreign intervention. and i mean, it is kind of republican fault for not speaking clearly to the american people. george bush number one with the gulf war. george bush number two. and you know at the time when bush gave that speech 24 hours before we went, at 5 p.m. east coast time, i don't know if you remember it, but he said i'm speaking to you, the iraqi people, your days of living under oppression, of rape rooms are over. i thought it was a brilliant speech, but i think perhaps it could have been made clearer. we have 17 reasons to take this guy out. and the first 16 serve america's interest. and by the way, it's also going to be good for the people of iraq. but we were not going in for humanitarian reasons. and because republicans have this instinct to not appear the
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imprint of power, which is insane, america is the only non-imperialist superpower in the history of the world. and yet we're costly having to explain ourselves. there are a lot of reasons for americans to want to go into iraq, to serve america's interest and take it is dangerous of that whole reason come to step -- stop the weapons of mass destruction program. to have a function democracy in the middle east, to terrify gadhafi into giving up his weapons of mass destruction program. there are a lot of reasons to take him out, none to keep them in. >> steve, this panel having a very different now at the end, i thought it was a little strange but now i really welcome it. i think it was a really good idea to end with comedy. thank you. >> thank you. >> we will take one last question but a very brief.
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>> i think you mentioned republican presidential candidates being afraid perhaps to come out because of angry voters. i think what we have heard a lot of good arguments during the whole day about getting out, that you and grover and some of your colleagues could perhaps do more if you are now willing if not afraid to call out republican presidential candidates for not taking the right position on afghanistan so that some of the other conservative voters would be more accepting. >> i'm not sure i'm taking advice from somebody who calls them tea baggers. >> i really want to thank you. i again can win ann coulter links to my blog, it really did create this worry of traffic. a lot of people came in, brought in a new audience and i've got a great life for another human
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event column saying it got an extra $119 billion, would you go spend on a country of 14 billion euros of gdp. if you just kind of went down that way, then today would be a great success. i want to thank ann coulter. grover norquist, thank you. i have of the afghanistan study group, the new america foundation, all of the folks that participated in today's program, those in the back behind the wall on the other screen, we've been in overflow all day, i want to thank you all very much. but again, another round of applause. thank you for joining us. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> as we wrap up that discussion from last week on the war strategy in afghanistan, we're going live it to the commission on wartime contracting in iraq and afghanistan.
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they were continues today with a hearing on the effectiveness of past recommendations on contract to reform. witnesses we expected from will be inspectors general for the reconstruction in iraq and afghanistan, the department of defense inspector general, and the former chair of a federal commission on army acquisition reform. this is live coverage on capitol hill. >> a senior official of the government accountability office or the gao, the nation's premier watchdog agency, and three inspector general. i will introduce them all shortly. our conversation with these witnesses will focus on ways, change in judgment. like the commissioners, eyewitnesses has been a great deal of the professional time identifying and combating waste your and fraud and abuse. this is important work. our warfighters, diplomat, development officials and taxpayers all suffer when funds designated for contingency operations are spent needlessly,
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or ineffectively. or aren't stolen or misdirected for personal advantage. the commission's authorizing statute directs it to assess the extent of waste and fraud and abuse in contingency contracts in iraq and afghanistan. as part of our work on that task we have asked our ig witnesses to update us on to work in the field, and to give us their best current estimate of the extent of waste, fraud, and abuse in the theaters of operation. we also solicit their evaluations of these shortcomings. for example, what are the relative contributions of poorly defined requirements, duplication of effort, poor management, lack of coordination, and unsustainability in producing waste. what are the most glaring opportunities for fraud? what kinds of people our positions, government and private come are most likely to engage in bribes, kickbacks, favoritism and other abuse? besides combating waste, fraud,
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and abuse our witnesses are all working for change. they may do this through the deterrent effect of identifying wrongdoing and referring perpetrators to administrators for rossi getters for punishme punishment. or they may pursue change by offering recommendations for improvements in contracting. for example, the office of inspector general in the department of defense produced an excellent report in may 2010, contingency contracting, a framework for reform. and doctor gansler come when our first witnesses has led reform writing panels for both the army and the defense science board. the commission is also press for change. our second interim report to congress filed in february 2011 may 32 recommendations. and our fourth special report to date have made 13. the commission final report to congress due in late july will offer many more recommendations.
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all of us are pursuing change. we hope to engage our witnesses today on three kinds of judgments related to change. first, we will explore their various recommendations, including the background testimony and data behind these recommendations. second, we're interested in their views on the obstacles they have encountered with regard to their own recommendations, a nursing organizational culture, fear of change, turf protection, personal vanity, or whatever. and what tactic they have used to overcome these barriers. third, the commissioners are keen to hear our witnesses opinions of the recommendations we made in our second interim report. we will be reviewing new search and events to check whether any of them need to be revised before we issue our final report. hearing the opinions of experts assembled here today will be very helpful in that process.
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we have to panels of witnesses today. our first panel consists of dr. jacques gansler, former undersecretary of defense and chairman of the army panel known as the gansler commission, now professor at the university of maryland school of public policy. and paul francis, managing director, acquisition and sourcing management, with the government accountability office, or the gao. l2 has three members, stuart bowen, special inspector general for iraq reconstruction. daniel blair, dod deputy inspector general for auditing. and herbert richardson, acting special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction. i would note that two of our witnesses are veterans of our proceeds. we consulted with dr. gansler early in the commission's life, and welcome him as he witnessed last september. stuart bowen, the special inspector general for iraq
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reconstruction, was a witness at our very first hearing in february 2009, and has been back since. we are very pleased to see them both again, and to welcome our new witnesses. thanks to all of you. we have asked our witnesses to offer five minute summaries of their testimony to the full text of the written statements will be ended into the hearing record, and posted on the commission's website. we also ask that witnesses provide within 15 days responses to any questions for the record, and any additional information they may offer to provide. now, for eyewitnesses, dr. gansler and mr. francis, will please rise and raise your right hand and i will swear you in. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you will give in this hearing is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? let the record reflect that both of them answered in the affirmative. dr. gansler, please begin.
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[inaudible] >> thank you for the opportune to appear today. [inaudible] >> oh. [inaudible] >> now is it on? that was the way it was lit before. foolish. okay. anyhow, thank you for this opportunity to appear before the commission and discuss implementing improvements to defense wartime contracting. as you pointed out, my judgment is based on my chairmanship of the secretary of armies commission and army acquisition and program management in expeditionary operations, and on the congressionally mandated defense science board task force on improvements to services contracting. as well as of course my own many years of experience in the defense industry and the
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government as under secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics from 97-2001. you asked me to, on the two independent studies that i fled, as well as your own commissions recent interim publication, and during the opening statement here i will highlight a few topics in each of these categories in my written statement contains far more detail. i will start with a more recent defense science board effort on buying services because essentially all of the approximate 270,000 contractors in iraq and afghanistan are performing services. the dsp task force found that overall, the dod buys more services and supplies in 2010, for example, 57% of all the acquisitions in terms of dollars were services. by the very nature services are different from buying weapons systems, services do not follow an incremental sequential process, are measured by wide
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variety of differing standards, and may require continuous performance so that they are not subject to minimal breaks and contracts or possibly recompetition. historic data clearly show that government personnel should always carry out inherently governmental functions, and it not inherently governmental functions are best computed data among commercial providers or between government and industry. if the dod automatically insource is not inherently governmental functions, it loses both performance and cost benefits. for example, the congressional budget office study determined that for equipment maintenance, wrench turning if you will, using army military units would cost roughly 90% more, 90% more than using contractors. and, of course, range turning is not inherently governmental but it's not in the constitution anywhere. writing requirements and issuing
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contracts clearly, these are inherently governmental function, to acquire services is more difficult and requires high quality experience government contracting and program management personnel, additional after the war trained and ready resources must monitor and assure that the contract is performing and providing the desired services. these government workforce demands are only compounded any contingency environment where the accelerated operations, tempo mandates faster response times. likable approaches and experienced personnel. our dsb task force recommended to the secretary of defense make improvements in four areas. policies and processes related to services, leadership and organization related to services, people with experience
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and services, and contingency contracting as a special case. the specific recommendations to improve management and oversight of contingency contracting, include developing a single playbook, for contingencies, modifying the federal procurement data system to provide better visibility in contingency operations, and granting limited acquisition and contracting authority to the geographic combat command. in addition we recommended that all military departments and defense agencies conduct realistic exercises and training that account for services contracting and the role of contractors during contingency operations. now, let me shift to the army commission, which predated the dsb effort. our key findings here include the observation that the dod has an extremely dedicated core of acquisition people, but they are
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understaffed, overworked, under trained, undersupported, and particularly they are undervalued. further, the military leadership for the dwindling community had also diminished dramatically. on the other hand, on a positive note, in the three years since our study the department has made noteworthy progress. for example, growing the depleted acquisition workforce, funding growth of its civilian acquisition corporation through this is acquisition workforce development fund, and congress added billets for 10 general flag officers in acquisition positions. and, of course, the army established the army contracting command, and now the contracting field in the army has the benefit of four new general officers. a key remaining area of concern is the need for contingency contracting administration services. right now defense contract management agency builds this function in fear while the army grows its workforce.
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this puts a strain on dcma's own mission. a further concern is the need for contracting officers representatives, the co ours, for contract oversight. we believe the department should be examining the role, the reserve components my plate and providing continuity and professionalism the importance of contract administration cannot be overstated and would need a cadre of professionals to get the attention it deserves. i am pleased to see that your commission also sees the importance of this function. finally, i read with great interest your report and its 32 recommendations. clearly have taken on a very important topic that needs attention, and you are focused therefore can be of great value. you requested my feedback on your report so i offer the following thoughts. starting with the report titled and the the message it conveys. the main title rightly identifies risk as a considerable issue, but the subtitle is open to very
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significant misinterpretation. the statement about quote, correcting over reliance on contractors and contingency operations, unquote, conveys an impression that the dod should reduce the role of contractors. in reality, contractors played an essential role in contingency operations. the government's focus should not be on decreasing contracto contractors, but instead on a showing that they are performing the appropriate functions and to bring properly managed. my opinion on the title reflects my general comments on your second interim report which falls the two is concerned regarding contractors. first, the focus on punishments like suspension and debarment, comes at the expense or the neglect of positive incentives. missing is a discussion of creating incentives to reward outstanding performance, such as awarding contracts with follow-up work if they achieve
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higher performance at a lower cost. i strongly believe in the valley of competition to get higher performance at a lower cost, but if the threat or option of the future competition is enough, to get those desired results, then competition should not always be mandated. rather, it should be required if the desired results are not a cheat. the greatest incentive for a contractor in achieving the desired results is the follow on award. second, i grant the need for significantly more emphasis on government acquisition management of contracts and contractors. these are inherently governmental functions. but i insert the importance of limiting organic capability to only inherently governmental functions which much be filled by government employees with relevant management experience. not providing public sector monopolies for noninherently
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governmental work that can be competitively awarded in the private sector. >> can i get you to wrap up? >> i am on my last paragraph. >> great. thank you, sir. >> the overly -- the concern should not be so broad that it pulls in efforts that best performance at lower cost by our industry partners. the government gains great value from use of contractors for most contingency functions. in my prepared remarks i suggested explicitly workings of your recommendations in this area. so in closing i encourage your commission to shift the focus in your final report toward rewards and recognition versus irishmen and sub optimization. i believe this will go a long way towards creating a systemic improvements our troops deserve, contractors are an important force multiplier but we must build a government capability and infrastructure to manage
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this reality. clearly there are many actions, legislative, regulatory, policy, practice and so forth were your commission can play a very valuable role. in any of these actions i see the key issue as getting the right people, government and industry, and in creating positive incentives for these individuals to get what the warfighter needs, when they are needed, without any performance and at low cost. i believe this can be done, and it must be done. the men and women serving in our nation in harm's way deserve no less. thank you, and i welcome your comments. >> a.q., dr. gansler. i consciously allow that because you put your suggestions to us near the end, so split the difference with you and went ahead and asked you to complete what you had. thank you. mr. francis, please proceed. >> thank you. chairman thibault, chairman shays, commissions, good morning. and i appreciate the opportunity to engage in the discussion of
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operational contractors today. as we know it today, ocs has been a reactive ad hoc phenomenon. it's been the sum of thousands of decisions, has not been a managed outcome. i think the goal is not necessarily to accept this as the new normal, and to codify it. but rather to practically define what should be and tried to make that happen. i think the challenge before us is not necessarily to look at this as something broken that has to be fixed, but rather something that has an inertia to a. it's been in place now for a number of years. i would say it's in a state of equilibrium. that's going to take more energy to change. dr. gansler talk about some of those acquisitions and i think the distinction between services and products is very important. one very important distinction is dollars are not a good proxy for risk engaging services
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acquisitions. it works for weapons but not for services. moreover, decisions on services are made by numbers of organizations and people at the local level. and that i don't think is going to change. so i think our aim point here out to be how to put people at a local level in a better position to succeed. so, turning to recommendations, i think of recommendations and actions as occurring on the strategic level and the local level. at the strategic level i think there's a fair consensus that we do need a cultural change your. ocs does need to be integrated into plans, education and exercises. we do need a strategy for defining roles, functions and responsibilities. we need to define that mixed force and plan for it. we need to incorporate lessons learned and think about how to write size of the support. the strategic level, i do think,
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since the context for those who manage at the local level. indeed, it creates the culture for making local decisions. at the local level i think we have to understand that this is where requirements are set, this is where statement of work are written, contracts are red and oversight takes place. so along those lines i think it's really essential that we have that contrary -- cadre of ex-areas, contracting officers and course there could similarly, we need to train and educate, prepare our non-acquisition workforce. really, the combat units because they are the ones with the requirements. they have to work with the contracting officers in developing statement of work, and they will be ultimately responsible for monitoring execution. so, going forward i'd like to think in terms of an act, enable
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and empower. and enacting how i kind of threw together laws, policies, regulations, directives. i think that's been largely done, more can always be done there, but i think secretary gates is january memo puts kind of a cap on that. i think the commission put this very well, that many initiatives are in policy, many are in planning, but few are in action. and the real question is why. there's been enough after but we haven't done it yet. i think in enabling we do have a lot of work to do yet. and there i think about, we talked about the need for planning at the strategic level, but i think we need a normative view, some vision of what ought to be in terms of integrating ocs into plans. we need to think about
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scenarios, faces, maybe some ratios, start to get some ideas out there. we can't wait for pertinent information to as an auditor we kind of do that. we're still try to measure the number of people who are in theater right now, but we can't wait for perfect information but it has to be good enough to act. we have to get some chalk marks on the board. the hard part is the imperative, and i've been struggling with that. a couple of weeks ago admiral mike mullen -- or admiral mullen made a comment in a press conference i think was really insightful. he said you have to realize that over the past decade we have doubled our budgets, and in so doing we have lost the ability to prioritize. and i kind of thing that was at the heart of the problem here. we have and prioritize. i think the commission has recognized that we been enabled by unconstrained resources.
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and i think that's something that really has to change. so my last point is, how to enforce. and i think we have to start doing something with a budget and we have to start getting in front of the problem. so for example, if we want this planning to be done and ocs to be integrated, maybe we need to budget for it and hold people accountable for executing that budget. similarly, services acquisitions are very hard to find in the budget. there's no line item really for them. i think we have to change that as well, especially for contingency operations. we have to bring some budget this ability to services acquisitions, and then hold people at the strategic and local level accountable for managing deficiencies. naked and imperative. and i'll close with this thought, we will be leaving iraq militarily at the end of the year. we have a timetable for leaving afghanistan. so i think the work the
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commission is doing will most likely be able to affect future military operations, but the agencies that could benefit most right now will be state and usaid. they are more dependent on contractors, and have less organic capability to manage them. and they are in there for the long haul. so, with that i will close and entertain any question. >> thank you, mr. president the process we're going to use it to rounds this morning. we are going to begin with my co-chair, commissioner. >> mr. francis, you talked about accountability, and that has the concept of rewarding for doing well, and excluding those who are not doing well. would you agree with that? >> yes. >> so it's both sides of the equation. dr. gansler, i'm hard-pressed
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over 10 years of seeing how we have held contractors accountable, and those who oversee contractors accountable when services are not done well. you focus 99% on reward. are you pretty comfortable that we have held people accountable when they haven't done their job? >> oh, first of all let me coming. i didn't feel that my percent dissipation was 90%. i think it was more than 50% on the quality and the oversight provided by the government workforce. i think that is essential and we have neglected that. we have undervalued it, and when that is there, then we'll have a lot less mistakes been made. as far as the concept of debarment, suspension from a company for something that one employee happened to do that the company may or may not even have had any visibility into, i think
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that may be an extreme -- >> we would agree. >> that's not what you're report says that's why i've i object expect with all due respect, i think that is a false interpretation. >> but it is easily taken. >> no, i don't think so. the reason i don't think so is i can't name on my hand, continues, in spite of the fact that estimates are that 10% is wasted to waste, fraud, and abuse, i can't think of, i can't name five companies that have been debarred for false services. i can tell you companies where we have renewed the contract because we didn't have anyone else to take their place. can you give me five companies that have been debarred? >> i will give you an example of what i consider to be in and abuse. number of years ago, this was a general electric -- >> i'm just talking on, and -- >> this is a very good example because they were accused of having overpriced lightbulbs. >> that's not my question to my question is, can you tell me,
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and if you can't, you can't. i can't name five companies that have been debarred for bad service in spite of bad service. not just by one employee. not by overbilling, and so on. can you name any? >> let me distinguish between fraud and waste. waste, fraud, and abuse sometimes -- >> that's not the question. i only have eight minutes, and you are the star of stars. and so i have nothing but respect for you. >> when you say nonperforming, which do you mean? >> can you name me any companies, much less five, that have been debarred for better but? >> no, but i can name countries have not gotten follow-on contract for bad service and to me that since the big incentive. >> i agree. named employees spent every time there's a recompetition, recently the incumbent has been losing. in fact, the word out in the industry is it's not good to be an incoming.
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>> it's not necessary because they get bad service. it's because someone else has been on price and sell. see, one of the problems we have is you can't say 10% and that number, and then come to look at the facts and realize that nobody has ever paid the responsibility of being debarred. >> i think you raise a very important question. i agree with you to it on the imports of past performance. >> exactly come and that was my emphasis. while you have given emphasis to one of three to recommendations, i think it's and extreme -- i think your focus on is extreme in my judgment we are just saying there's got to be some past performance come and there needs to be the willingness in the part of the government to debar someone when the service isn't provided right. and we don't see the. that's all it was. nothing more than that. can you tell me, what we wrestle with, we had a hearing on the whole thing in the qdr, and we
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did not see hardly any focus in the qdr on the thing that you rightly worked so hard on, and that is service contracting. can you, one, tell me, isn't there and we missed a? if it is not there, what is your view of a? >> i think it is not there, and mr. francis said it's a cultural problem. people don't now recognize in many cases within the dod the fact that 50% in some cases more than 50% of their total force our contractors. they are not recognizing the value of contract is any contingency and fiber. they are not trained with them, not doing the planning for it, not going to procedures and so forth. so it is really, that's what it wasn't in the qdr. >> just letting you know, we are kind of hardheaded, or at least some of us on the commission. as you rightly point out, half of our efforts our contractors, and they are not integrated in, they are not considered
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important. and so common we can begin to say, we are not there, some of us not because we said, you know, oh, it's an issue of managing been better. well, if the department of defense doesn't get that they're hugely important and should be part of the qdr, maybe it's not just a management problem. ..waste.
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>> and, therefore, we need to focus on the government management of the services. >> and if the government isn't even willing to recognize that they're so important to put them in the qdr, why do you think they are possible of managing our personnel overseas when they are not in the qdr. >> that's not the contractor's fault. it's the government's fault. and the government has to make the change and congress can help that. >> maybe we shouldn't be doing them as to the extent. maybe we should -- maybe i'm asking you to consider this. maybe we should only hire the contractors that we can properly oversee so that we don't have this extraordinary waste. that's what we wrestle -- >> and you wouldn't get the work done. i mean, what these people are doing, logistics, maintenance, food service -- all of those functions have to be done.
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otherwise, you don't have a viable force. your choice isn't cutting them in half. your choice is managing them better. >> and that choice isn't being made and you rightfully agree? so what calls the question? >> what? >> what calls the question. this will continue. as important as you are, you have not -- and as hard as we work, we are not seeing that cultural change so my last question is, what get the cultural change. >> well, all the literature in culture change you don't write out a degree of care. you don't write a memo. in all cases of real culture change is taking leadership with a vision, a strategy, a set of actions and a set of metrics that gets measured. we have to have that vision, that strategy, that set of actions and i think the way to do it is not to say to get rid of the contractors but to manage the contractors and to have the government work force recognize they have to bring people in.
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maybe it's bringing inexperienced services managers from industry for a while. there's ways you could short term that and try to manage -- >> let me just say, my time has run out and that's what we're wrestling with and that's what we would love some guidelines before we do our final report. thank you. >> commissioner ervin, please. >> dr. gansler, mr. francis, thank you both very much for being here. i very much appreciate it, as we all do. dr. gansler, i thought that your statement was thoughtful and incisive. i agree with about 95, 99% perhaps of it. >> thank you. >> even the part i didn't agree with, i thought was thoughtful and incisive but i did have some bones to pick with you and that's what i intend to spend my time in this round and i intend to get in this issue mr. shays got into it. in your oral summary in your written statement you were stronger and more emphatic on the need in your view for
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positive incentives for contractors than you were in the statement. and i have to tell you like he, i'm troubled by that for a -- for two or three reasons. first of all, it seems to me thousands of years of human history show and commonsense shows that human beings need two things in order to act properly. they need carrots and sticks. and secondly, as you well know better than we given your expertise in this area there are incentives for good performance contractors. they're called war thieves. again you're very familiar with that. i wish i had the transcript in front of me and i don't now, of course, but the way you put it toward the end, it was almost a plea for positive incentives for contractors to do the right thing. and it seems to me that the very fact that these contractors -- and i don't mean to paint contractors with a broad brush.
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as you say, many of them and i will get into this are performing critical functions. and many of them have risked their lives, many of them have lost their lives. i am not reflextively anticontractor but for you to say in response to that that, you know, well, there's some examples of one employee, you know, a bad apple that a contractor that a company doesn't know about, you know there's many, many examples of it. is an incentive enough that these contractors are spending taxpayer money and that they are doing what they're doing in support of the war effort. isn't that incentive to perform economically and efficiently in your view. >> they still have the stockholder incentives in making a profit. >> right. >> the question is how do they do it? it's higher performance as mr. shays says is it by doing something lax about it.
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>> no one would disagree about management overnight and there's no question that the government has a huge, huge responsibility here. that it's not exercised but there have been egregious examples of contractor irresponsibility so i just don't understand your focus here. and further, what you said just a second ago is a good segue to begin and the inherently governmental. as you say unlike the government contractors do have to pay attention to their stockholders at least those that are public companies and government doesn't so that leads me to the second question that i intended to focus on. that is i could not agree with you more -- this gets back to the 95% of the statement that i agree with. that omb's attempt to define inherently governmental was inept. it was essentially -- basically, what it says something is inherently governmental if contractors shouldn't do it and i also agree with you, which further proves to me that i'm not reflextively anticontractor in those instances where it
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could not be asserted but can be proved that contractors can perform a given function cheaper effectively or more effectively than the government should perform that service but to me all that begs the question here and the question is, what in your view -- what functions should be inherently governmental? what function should only government perform? now, we have some notions among ourselves about that but i'd be interested in your views on this and i'd be interested in your views. >> clearly, it's the management. it's the oversight. it's the decision-making. it's the budgeting. it's the contracting. >> have you seen examples of all that being performed by contractors over the course -- >> no. >> i've seen examples of contractors in support of those functions and that's a big difference. >> right. >> the analysis that supports the decision, for example, could maybe in some cases be better done by a contractor with experience in that field. >> right. >> but the decision-making should be and to my knowledge usually is -- i don't have the
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specific cases. there will be illegal actions, there's no question about that. that's why we have jails. if everybody behaved we wouldn't need jails but occasionally we're going to have some abuses. >> all right. i would stipulate to that. contractors essentially carrying out management functions. i think everybody would agree with that. are there any other functions that you would argue ought to be performed only by government personnel? >> contracting, budgeting, decision-making of all sorts. oh, i would argue most important one is war-fighting. that's inherently governmental. >> how about security? let's talk about fine lines. >> that's on the gray area, i have to admit, because there are functions that, in fact, separate studies have been done on the security forces being done in terms of economics and also functions. but i think that's one you have to look at individually in terms of the case studies. i don't want comment on that generically. >> do you have any views about that. are there any aspects -- >> i think there are many areas where we have security people
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now in fixed installations that are doing their jobs. and that seems to work effectively. >> mr. francis, how about you? i don't know -- you didn't raise this issue in your statement to be fair but i presume there's been some gao work on this or that you have your own thoughts on there. are there some functions that ought to be performed by government in addition, of course, to what everybody would agree with namely management functions? >> sorry, i would agree with many of the things dr. gansler mentioned particularly -- you know, i think about budgeting and those strategic decision business what we are going to support. i think that in the area of personal security contractors, i think that does have to be situational. and i think what has happened and what we've reported on is sometimes volume gets away from us. so i think omb has made a policy statement about what functions
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would be inherently governmental but there's those functions that are closely supporting. and i think when they gain in volume then the government can lose control over that function. i think that's the hardest area to decide. so for pscs, it may be you may make some good decisions in individually cases but if it grows too much in a contracted area, one could argue maybe the government has given away too much. >> all right. dr. gansler, you raise on page 12 on your testimony a couple of examples. you cite a congressional budget office report from october, 2005, in footnote 11 and a gao report from march of 2010 for the assertion for the claim that contractors -- there's at least certain functions that contractors can perform more cheaply than government and those are two examples. are you suggesting that that's always the case, dr. gansler? >> well, first of all -- >> and one is 6 years old. >> those were independent studies of noninherently
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governmental functions. that's really the important point here. >> uh-huh. >> because we have even found when we have government people doing noninherently governmental functions today, and we run a76 competitions, that even when the government wins, and sometimes they often do, there's huge cost-savings as a result of the presence of competition. i mean, you believe that's the american way and when we find on the a76 competitions over 30% cost-savings and improved performance particularly when it's monitored afterwards and followed up. >> all right. well, let me ask you a follow-up and i'll get to you if there's time mr. francis, let me just ask this final question if i may. that's a very good segue to another question i intended to ask. you just argued eloquently it seems to me for competition. the notion of competition. on the other hand, in your statement you seem a little jaundiced about competition. and i want to probe that listing. you say requiring competition on all awards significantly reduce the incentive to submit new
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ideas as unsolicited proposals. i didn't really understand that. it seems to me you must be saying that the reason that that would discourage people from submitting new ideas as un-soliseted proposals you'll have to submit it and if you don't submit it you'll get it as a sole source you must be saying. and if this is what your saying if you're getting it better and cheaper you'll get the award and you get it better and cheaper and you shouldn't get the awards. >> the idea of un-solissolicite proposals that the government is suggesting, in the old days they would say well, we'll give you a demonstration contract then we'll compete it after we see whether it works or not this new idea. today, they're saying well, we have to worry about our score card on competition so thanks for your great new idea. we'll put it out for competition and see if anyone else wants to bid lower on it. well, that's a real discouragement for giving them
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some new idea. and that's all i meant by that one. >> thank you, commissioner. i might ask you dr. gansler -- or i may make the statement. i doubt -- and you talked in your own statement about critical need, that there's a lot of room for demonstration contracts in a contingency operation akin to the way we've done it in the past in aconis. i just share that as food for thought. commissioner green, please. >> thank you. and thank you both for being here. dr. gansler i concur with commissioner ervin. i agree with the majority of what you laid out in your written statement. i'd like to talk a little about something that co-chairman thibault mentioned in his opening statement and that is inertia and culture. i recently went through the army posture statement for 2011.
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and i see very few or no references in there by senior leadership about services contracting. and i'd like your feeling on whether it gives sufficient attention to this -- what we all believe is an important subject, and then i've got a follow-on. >> that's what we found is the defense science force study by the way that report will be out this week. and i have some early charts on it. the main conclusion was that all of the rules, all of the practices, all of the policies, most of the legislation, et cetera, are all focused on buying things, goods. we don't do any training. when i was undersecretary, i paid for 100 case studies on the university and they all came out to be on products. no case studies on services. well, the people are being trained on buying products, all the rules are written around
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that. and certainly as mr. francis mentioned, the field commanders don't have any education training about the fact that they're going to have all these people doing services for them of 50% of their work force. that has to be part of the exercises, part of the rules, part of the practices. and as you point out properly, part of the culture. the emphasis has to shift in their policy statements and their qdrs and elsewhere on the importance of services when more than 50% of what they buy today are services. >> thank you. we all acknowledge the fact that there's been a lot of progress made and people are working hard. you mentioned some of them. the standing up the army contracting command expeditionary contracting command. the commitment by secretary of defense to grow the acquisition work force by 10,000 or so. the new general flag officer positions that have been created. also, some negatives. you mentioned one -- the dau and
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little emphasis on services. in our principal and primary education facility for contracting. in the recent dsp study that we did, that you headed, one of your findings was senior leader -- and i quote this, senior leadership still pays little attention to services contracting. i would re-enforce that with a couple quotes from our organization, a june 2010 report that cultural change emphasizing awareness of operational contract support throughout dod is needed and a more recent gao study in april, april, 2011, that sustained dod leadership committed to this or needed to
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ensure that policies and consistency are put into practice. i contend that without senior leadership -- and i mean at the most senior leader, without senior leadership paying attention to this, we will not change the culture and we will not institutionalize many of these recommendations that all of us are concerned with. i'd like your comments. >> culture change starts with the leadership. and that's what you're suggesting and that's what all the literature says. and clearly, that's the way to change an organization is through leadership. the one observation i would make on your statement that i want to amplify and that is when you said they are talking about hiring in-house acquisition work force. i think they need to distinguish there between acquisition functions that are inherently governmental and those that
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aren't because acquisition is encompassing in terms of even logistics for example. truck driving is not an inherently governmental function. so you have to make sure when you're hiring the acquisitional work force, it's the inherently governmental functions. >> what is your confidence level on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being great, if its senior leadership will get it? >> oh, i don't know. maybe 6.5. it's hard to overcome cultural inertia. >> no, i understand that. >> mr. green, if i may, i thought -- i had two thoughts on secretary gates' memo in january. one is gee, it's about time that this got this recognition but at the same time, at the same time it's like are we coming to this point for the first time, eight years into it?
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that's a concern. one of the things about culture is you have forces that say the status quo is okay. and i think part of that has to be -- there's been money to enable people not to be too concerned about managing -- >> i agree with you. i agree with you. but, you know, as we look down the road and if we look at the budgets that we're all going to be facing in the federal government, and the pressure that currently exists with groups like us and sigar and sigir is anybody going to give a darn with this? >> i think what you just highlighted will be the driving function like less dollars when the budget declines clearly people are going to have to start paying more attention to what things cost and how well they're managed.
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and if they accept the fact that 50% of it is services they're going to have to figure out how to address the management of services. >> but there's very little constituency for services things. i think we got -- we've got a real challenge ahead of us. because not just change the culture at the senior level but to get operational folks to pay attention to this. i strongly believe this is the way we're going to war. we're going to war with contractors. it may not be one-to-one as it is today and particularly with the decrease in budgets, more and more of the old combat service support staff that we're used -- we were used to having done within the services is going away. and we either downsize the mission, which nobody wants to do. we salute and say, yes, sir, three bags full, we can do it.
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but that may be something that we have to look at and just literally bite the bullet. >> in the commission i was in, we were all very surprised at the fact that all the training courses for the combatant and commander forces that mr. francis mentioned did not mention the contractors when they are more than 50% total force. that has to change. they have to realize how important that is to their overall function and it has to be part of the education process and it has to be part of the exercises. contractors should be taking part in the field exercises. >> well, my time is up, but they have started but it's maintaining that, that i have concerns about. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, commissioner green. commissioner tiefer. you're up, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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i mean want to thank my gratitude for leading up this effort. mr. gansler was the very first of our early briefings and we have a panel of inspector general on the second panel which we had on in our very first hearing and at the time i had my doubts about these and you reassured me that these would be great briefings and hearings, partly -- both because they were and partly because you said, we could have them in a while to see what happened. and this is today is the fulfillment of your prophesy. dr. glandsler, one of your own classic issues has been the overuse of cost-type contracts in situation where is we could just as well have fixed price contracts and by doing so, we could have a broader range of companies to come in and compete for them. and maybe get lower prices
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because we wouldn't have to depend on fancy accounting prices and contractors who can function that way. and you also mentioned today there is a danger that if we narrow our choice of companies too much, we could end up with monopolies. i want to ask you if i have an example, i think i do, but it's one that's quite important to us. in logcap we have cost-type contractors at the top, in the past it was kbr and now it's dyncorp but under them we have fixed price, fixed rate contractors. the main example is tamim which does dining facilities, and they can't do cost-type contracts. they don't have a segment that can do the accounting and so forth. and we have speculated that it would be possible to break out some of these activities like dining facilities that could
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themselves be exceeded and instead of having them under cost-type contracts have them be direct fixed-price contracts. do you see promise in approaches like that? >> no. and my reason is that those subcontracts need to be managed. and one of the functions that the prime contractor provides is subcontractor management of these smaller firms and so many cases, not u.s. firms. what do i think about your contract and i certainly fully agree with it is the fact that one of the things we want to bring into the services sector are a lot of commercial firms. >> okay. and those don't have the cost -- >> i have my answer. let me go to mr. francis. i'm drawing on your relatively current report, not that it's pretty recent, improvements needed in management of contractors supporting contract and grant administration in iraq and afghanistan.
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and if i understood where the punctuation marks would go in there, we would have a problem that was similarly mentioned in previous questions about contractors managing contractors. or contractors closely maki mang the contracts. you found contracts worth $900 million. is that right for the performance of administrative functions for other contracts in iraq and afghanistan? >> yes. it's -- or maybe it was 990, yes. >> okay. and you think that amount has stayed up at a pretty high level. these contractors are not out digging ditches or riding shotgun. they are just helping manage other contractors? >> that's correct. >> wow. and i see that you looked at what is a favorite example for this commission, the aegis company was manning the acod,
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the armed contractor oversight division, which supervises in afghanistan all the personal security contracts and they also are going to compete for some of those personal security contracts. and i remember when commissioner thibault came back from afghanistan, one of his early trips he dug this up and it's like an animal he caught, i'm not sure what species this is but it's not something you'd find in the united states. i think i'm making trouble for myself here. what was your view at gao of the acod contractor who was doing this? they had an organizational conflict of interest? >> yes, i think as we reported, that would have clearly have been an organizational conflict of interest because they were both going to oversee and
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possibly bid on that contract. now, it was -- it was caught eventually and that -- they did not get the oversight contract, i think, because they were making plenty of money providing the service itself. but i think what's illustrative here is these situations, i think, are going to occur and it's incumbent on the government, which i think is what dr. gansler had mentioned to be able to provide oversight and do those kind of checks so the government can protect its own interest. and i think this situation is illustrative of a situation where contracting officers have so much to do and such high volume these are the types of things that gets missed in those situations. >> and on my right, it was preached to us that mitigation plans and other profalaxic steps can solve this problem. could the acod problem of aegis
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be solved? >> in many case i think i can but in this situation i don't know a mitigation plan could have alleviated the risk of somebody overseeing the contract and then also be part of that contract. >> boy, i'm praying for extra time on the second panel so i'll yield back now. >> thank you, commissioner. >> good morning and thanks for being here. and thanks for your service, both of you. i know you've been at this quite a while. i think i would agree with the concerns that you both raised about focusing on hardware set of services in terms of buying it but i think you probably even understate the problem. one of the examples that has been brought to our attention recently is trying to get radios in a contingency and because there was not enough procurement money to buy radios, we're now paying a contractor for
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communication services and we're releasing those radios and so we're releasing them over and over and over. so i think it's even worse than you pointed out. i'm not -- i don't share your confidence, i don't think, in getting change here. you both said it can be done. yes, it can be done. will it be done? i think we need to talk more radically maybe about how change occurs. we talked about taking the money away. we saw the piece dividend. have we seen any change in the way the military develops weapons and buys weapons, i don't think so. if anything, it's gotten worse. we have had in the last administration a focus on the business side of government agencies with the president's management agenda, this administration, the president came in calling out particularly government contracting as something that we need to pay attention to. all the work that you all have done, you know, i'm just not sure what it's going to take. but i would like to think about
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it not so much as diminishing waste but maybe diminishing expense and you both have raised the issue of local requirement-setting processes. and the need to get people more attuned to the fact that if they waste -- if they spend money in one place, it's not available someplace else. let me ask but incentives. how do you incentivize commanders in the field to advise that they can't have everything that they think they want? i'll start with you, mr. francis? >> i think today the situation is the -- obviously, the commanders have war-fighting on their mind. and that's their primary obligation. they don't necessarily have a good feel for what the contracting process is. and what it takes to set requirements and translate them into a statement of work.
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nor is there, i think, a good enough relationship between the commander and the contracting officer 'cause the contracting officer does know how to do that. our work in the past has found that once a contract is let and once something is in motion, then a preference, if you will, for incumbency can take place. in this case the commander is happy with the service and not so concerned with the cost because that's not what he or she has to worry about. so i really do think that can bring pressure on the contracting officer just to get it done and i think the fault position is to get it done the way it's been done. >> so you require the commander to stick to a budget? >> i would say so. at that level there has to be a reason to manage differently and i think that's kind of what we've been talking about with the policies. as long as there's no downside
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consequences, as long as we can pay our way out of it, i don't see the imperative to do something different. >> dr. gansler. >> as mr. francis has pointed out. the new thing that the combatant commander is interested in is urgent needs for military operations. and he has to work very closely with the contracting officers on the local services that he has for. if the combat commanders say i want three meals a day. sir, do you mean steak and lobsters or meals ready to eat. there's a big difference in terms of what he got and that's the requirements process, if you will. i do think it would help a great deal for a closer linkage there and i think it would help a good deal if you had the contract capability and the funding for it, for these local needs and services for the combat and commanders. if he had some authority as special forces does, for
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example. special forces has both the contracting and the funding to do this. the former joint forces commander also has that authority but the other combat commanders do not have that authority and i think should have additional authority and that forcing function of resource constraints would then decide what you really need versus what you'd like to have. >> so it's not that the contracting authority is not going to be a forcing function because putting the contracting authority in the hands of the commander, there's no reason to say -- >> no, one of the requirements has to be cost or price. in the future we're going to be writing our requirements, i think, because i agree with the statements that were made by the other members of the commission that we'll be resource constrained which we haven't been for the last decade and that's the loudest and not worry about what something cost. in the future we will have cost as a requirement. we've done that before in the past. the jdam missile, for example -- it had only three requirements.
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it should hit the target. it should work. it should cost $40,000 each. now, it hits the target and it works and cost 17,000 'cause cost was a requirement. >> if you could give me more examples of a jdam i would feel more confident but i would take your point. >> i would too. and we've tried doing that with the joint strike fighter but in the last decade we lost sight of it. we did the global hawk and lost sight of it. i can give you more examples in the rich man's world we have not paid attention to cost and now we have to start doing it. >> commissioner, can i please? >> yeah. >> you know, the only comment i'd make in this just for my reference is you're providing all these examples, dr. glandsler and they're all platforms. and yet you're the one in your testimony that says this is about services in terms of the dollar and the volume of the contractor support and all that. so i'd just share that -- >> you're absolutely right. we haven't done it for services. i would argue we should.
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>> that's right. does that require a change in the goldwater-nichols legislation. giving contractors authority. have you looked at that. >> no i don't believe so. the fact is two of them have it. and if that's the case, why couldn't all of them have it. but i do think we have to say what is an affordable price and a reasonable price, not simply put price as the only consideration. one of the things that scares me now that's happening is a lot of the contracting is shifting to a low bid technically acceptable, you know, i'm sure none of you drive a yugo. that's low bid technically acceptable car. we don't do business ourselves. we don't buy services on low bid. we look for quality and low bid. >> and we're on the record
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supporting that as well. thank you. >> thank you, commissioner. you actually segued into my third item but i'm going to save lpdt, low price technically acceptable until then. in your testimony and in your 2007 report, you, dr. gansler, you mentioned, you know, in the importance of following up on them, 90 cases of fraud. >> yes. >> and you do it in the testimony. we've got a witness -- and that was through 2007. we got a witness coming up in 2003 to 2007. that was your time frame. >> yes, but those 90 were under investigation. >> no, i understand they weren't convictions. >> right. >> now, we got a witness coming up here from the deputy inspector general for auditing from the dod ig, you know, that fields those just for defense are his area. and his testimony says -- the same frame, 2003, to 2010, the number is 398. now, i accept both your numbers.
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but are you concerned that the first five years it was 90 and the last three years it's added 308 through the simple math of both your -- that seems like a pretty significant increase. observation? >> i don't have any insight into what has caused that. i know the 90 was the number the secretary army gave me when i did the commission. >> right. >> and what has happened since then, i don't know. if we had more people checking on it we might find more possible cases. >> i think i'll explore that but the point i wanted to make is, that wouldn't fit your recognition but it would certainly fit your point you have to have oversight and enforcement. >> my rewards recognition would be the ones that are not on that list. >> i understand. and it's interesting and another point i wanted to make quickly. all the examples that come forward, it seems a
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disproportionate number and i guess it's appeal in the country -- maybe people think it's the reader on military cases, you know, major caps and so-and-so. well, i want to show you in that data there were 11 article 32s out of investigation out of 398. i think that's important there because i think it's in the 2.something percent on article 32s that are in the military. the vast majority the 98-plus percent -- you know, there may be a few government employees in there and that's why there's a need for oversight and i'll make that observation. dr. gansler, you talked about the importance of senior leadership which i couldn't agree more. biased my experience and talking to an awful lot of individuals such as yourself, i think the pentagon leadership personally and i'm going to ask whether you two agree as general officers,
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senior executive service individuals and political appointees. when we get into theater the political appointees worked from back here and so they're general officers and there are ses, senior expect services. >> they are all volunteers -- >> i understand all that. and again, my question is, does that kind of fit your definition? >> well, certainly. that's the reason -- >> okay. >> the washington people set the policies. the people over there -- >> we all know that. >> and they should all be in uniform. >> we all know that. i just wanted to define it because i've got a point to make a second. do you see that any different, mr. francis. >> yes i agree with that. >> and the testimony i want to share with you that for senior leadership there's a problem. it's your lack of training, your words of lack of training and your words lack of management
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strategy. and they reward compliance over performance and they stifle creativity and effectiveness. are we talking about this -- you know, i got to be right at the point are we talking about the lack of experience, lack of experience, general petraeus, general caldwell who runs the training mission. is it ultimately their responsibility to turn this around. >> i certainly think they would be major players in it. not exclusively. i think the secretary can do it. i think the undersecretaries can do it. >> in theater -- >> in theater it requires the senior military officers. >> because i couldn't agree with you more but to me it's alarming and i'm really glad you said it, they lack training, experience and training and experience and i couldn't agree with you more. >> in my commissioner i was shocked to find the generals with contracting background they had sear. >> fair enough. you talked about in my leader item lpdt, lowest price
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technically acceptable. you try to find out what works and, you know, can they do the job. and then you rip the envelopes open and you give it to the low price. are both of you familiar with afghan first? >> somewhat. >> afghan first is driving very substantial billions and billions of dollars. and because they don't -- these are afghanistan firms have the kind of accounting system someone talked about, they rip the envelope open -- they have to decide can they do security on bases, for example, and they rip it open. >> yeah, my view -- >> is it working? that's my question. >> the concept makes sense from the viewpoint of getting them off the streets and getting them from being insurgents. but if you want them to do a good job, you've got to be able to have some quality, not just low bids. >> here's where i'm going to ultimately be talking about the importance of contractors but also the importance of best value. do you have a particular view on how afghan first is working or
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not working? >> no, i'm familiar with the program but we have not done any work -- >> let me give you all an example of something we ran into last month in a trip. we've taken a lot of trips and we make a point of going out to bases. and we were briefed at the organization that owned several forward bases. and at the end i'm going to ask you, you know, what's your view. but one forward based a situation -- they call them health and welfare inspections but the idea is to make sure these afghanistan employees on the base, security guards, they're guarding the perimeter, they're saving american lives, supposedly, if there's an attack on the perimeter and there's 400 forward bases and about 200 have afghan guards. that's the general math that's accurate. and they found within the living confines in one that they briefed us on, these are the
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military security officers on that fob along with the base commander, that they briefed us on that they found pressure plates, electronicwater ways, batteries and other devices that would make ieds. they found a full blown marine corps colonel officer uniform pressed and they found an afghani equivalent uniform pressed. meaning you could go around and get access on that base. they were on the base and they were proved they were technically acceptable. their solution was three individuals, the company said, left real quick and they were sure all the other 160 some guards were loyal. it was a taliban hot bed. they hired local. those are the facts. they went to another base, the base we were actually on and they did a health and welfare and they found four kilos of drugs which again i'm supposed
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to be knowledgeable and i said what's a kilo. it's kind of like a brick. 4 kilos and they found half of the employees with some form of recreational drugs with them. and that company -- i said so you got rid of them right away and their contract ends at the end of may. we talked to the contract people and we'll take it into consideration then. we're talking lowest priced technically acceptable for american military troop lives. you know, perimeter guards. i know you have some concerns about lpta is that a aaa example of what's wrong with lpta, dr. gansler. >> i think that's what's wrong with not doing security on those people the lowest price technically acceptable is probably the wrong thing to be using, period. but i think you also need to do security on these foreign hires as well but clearly you don't want that to be the basis of no information on past performance of the company, of their record,
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of their employees, the security we would do on a u.s. company. why would we do it on a u.s. company and not on a foreign company. >> again, mr. francis, are you -- >> yes. we've actually done some work on that area and screening contractors particularly in afghanistan has not really been guided by policy. it really goes by what the local commander does. so the policies have not been consistent. we've currently gotten work underway looking at the vetting of pscs but i think -- one of the issues that comes up here with the afghan first is, what's in the government's best interest? and there's a policy dimension to, obviously, that program which i think we understand but you're hitting an issue where there's got to be a line between policy and then the safety and security of the unit. >> right, right. go ahead whoever is doing my time. i'm going to lead into the second round and take my time
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there so put about 4 minutes on that clock. and we'll expire downhill from there. i would propose to you that in a war where -- in iraq we didn't have iraqi guard of perimeter. we used third country nationals. i would propose to you in a war where they try to hire local. if you're anywhere in a lot of the countries, the hot bed -- if you're hiring people that are in a hot bed area, locals and everybody certifies their anti-taliban, good luck. and i would propose to you that it would probably cost about three times as much to do best value, third country national which is a proven concept 'cause they've got no loyalty at all to the taliban. you know, and your risk is reduced. but when we were over there, we were told, well, no, we have to use afghan first because that's the big program and we're counting numbers of people.
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and i'd just propose to you there's been too many examples of soldiers already, we read the papers, four, five, six examples where they've been shot by either military or guards and i share that with you. dr. gansler, should contractors -- quality assurance, big complex system. should contractors inspect other contractors where they're both firms and they're competitors between each other? >> the point that was raised earlier about avoiding conflict of interest is a very important one. >> but my question is, does that make sense? >> if they're independent contractors who don't compete with people they are investigating then it does make sense. if it's not independent and they have conflicts of that sort -- >> no, they compete with each other. >> no, you hypothesized a case and i agree with you but that hypothesis -- >> well, let me be specific. other contractors could do it. >> we've been briefed by the itt
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world, multiple location. itt does an exceptional job -- they say they are a force enabler and they couldn't get it done without it because they don't have the capability to build these complex communication systems so they get good grades, but the good grades they get from a firm called jdit, general dynamics information technology. you give specifics of hiring generals and things like that and i couldn't agree with you more but we have to stop if we're doing a $800 million cost type contract and by the way the inspections are a cost-type contract, you know, is that in the best interest? i'll also ask -- 'cause this is near and dear to me, for obvious reasons. my history as an auditor -- i shared data that i obtained last friday, you know, this is about properly staffing resources. and the defense contract audit agency is a third.
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there's a procurement organization, there's dcma which you rightfully mentioned and there's dcaa that do the audits. they are end strength -- the good news was that between -- it had been sitting at about 100 increase for a couple of years. and the good news was from 2009 to 2010 they added an end strength of 397 auditors. it takes an auditor two, three, four years to get effective. you know that, doctor. the interesting news is this year, because of funding limitations and other justifications, they're targeting 21. so this year they will have a net plus of up to 21. now, i share that because the next slide that they presented is their backlog now is over $400 billion. that's unaudited. and that's because they haven't been doing incurred cost audit. now, contractors are faced with
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a 5 and 6-year backlog that increase their risk 'cause if you find something in 2007 or '6, the first thing a good auditor says how long has this been going on? and the word that i heard in a briefing was that if the auditor strength doesn't come up, the workload is going to explode, get out of control. first, mr. francis, observation? >> sure. we're actually looking at the closeout of contracts in iraq now and, obviously, the backlog is huge and part of the issue is when the auditors go in, they find a lot of the things that should have been done for contract oversight when the contract was let wasn't done so they have to go back and reconstruct the case, if you will. i also think that numbers are a bit of a problem for us because it's something we gravitate to, insourcing, outsourcing we start with a solution and then work
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inward. the example you gave earlier in the itt world is real illustrative because i think at the heart of the problem was the government did not have the expertise in oversight to find contracting. >> exactly, exactly. >> it has to work by its own interest and buy expertise and you're off to the races and you find yourself in a risky situation so i think all of that creates additional workload for the audit community but i think it goes back to how we set up and administer the contracts because that's where we're creating the -- >> total agreement and the secretary rightfully has a plan to increase 10,000 people? i don't have time to go into the letter that -- the march letter that's pretty nebulous to go over the approvals to go over sealy. my time is up, and i do want to say both dr. gansler and mr. francis -- sorry, mr. francis. >> no offense taken.
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>> this is the best statement that's been brought up here, you know, simply because you engender discussion and for that i thank you for your service. i thank you for your service. now, i'm turning this over to commissioner shays because in the spirit of limping out of here into the sunlight, i'm getting an operation on my toe. and my toe right now is pretty important to me. so i thank you all for your service and commissioner shays, i'm confident he's -- he's right here. thank you, sir. >> thank you. >> i intended to say something funny but i won't. we'll go with mr. ervin. >> thank you, mr. shays. >> dr. gansler, you made a comment at the conclusion of the last round that you and i had together that i wanted to focus on, and you said this in passing. you said that kind of the scuttlebutt in the industry circles now is that it's bad to be an incumbent because the
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likelihood is that an incumbent will lose when a contract is recompeted. you said it as if that was ip so facto a bad thing. if an incumbent loses competition by virtue of having been bested by somebody who can provide it at a better price, cheaper price and, of course, is equal or better quality, isn't that a good thing? >> surely? the reason that i made the observation is exactly the point that mr. thibault was pointing out which is too frequently now what we're doing is giving it away to a low bidder, you know, somebody who simply is knowing how much it's cost in the past is simply low balling it to get the contract and not worrying about the quality and what i would argue is that when you're an incumbent and this is a point that mr. shays raised earlier, that if you're an inbant you don't following along but if
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you're incan that bant that is getting lower costs i deserve they get it on a sole source fact on that condition. it's the performance and cost that we should be evaluating and too often we've been moving to this low bid technically acceptable and not using prior performance at all. >> i don't want to get too detailed about these different contract types but i just feel obliged to talk about it a little bit. you wouldn't argue that there isn't a role at all for low bid technically acceptable because there are it seems to me certain things -- >> for buying towels and bread. not for engineers. you're buying an engineer he has a degree because he got it on the back of the match box and his temperature is 98.6 is that what it matters and take the low hourly rate for an engineer? >> i agree. one of the issues that you raised in your statement, in your view, the need to incentivize dod civilian people, to participate in the war zone. >> correct. >> that troubles me a little bit.
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we're in two wars now. and if you include libya, we're in three. >> right. >> and it seems to me that we shouldn't have to incentivize people who are paid by dod to go to the war zone? >> people don't like to be shot at. and, you know, the military hazardous duty pay, the contractors do get extra pay. what we found in the commission was that the civilian volunteers were not getting major medical, long-term medical costs. they were not getting their life insurance adjusted for acts of war which most life insurance doesn't cover, you know, things of this sort. and special compensation for going -- for example, tax waivers which others get but they weren't getting. so we proposed a set of -- of things to encourage people, the top people to take these jobs. and they also were being discouraged by their own bosses to go because they felt they were too important to leave.
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but on the other hand, i was surprised to find when this was proposed they didn't want to do it because it would raise costs. >> right, given the exigencies of war and that's only going to increase as time goes by because we apparently are not ratcheting down our commitments overseas and concomitantly our budgets is going down shouldn't we make time in war zones of civilians as a condition of employment. >> we could do it as a volunteer but plan for it. one thing we with respect to doing is plan for it and there are now efforts underway to try to have a contingency group and certainly the concept of using the reserves for that function might be another way of doing it. >> let me just ask a couple of other questions since mr. thibault exceeded his time. one of the things you raised, dr. gansler, on page 13,
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actually, of your testimony -- you called for recognizing a beneficial segment of the contractor market, namely, nontraditional government contractors -- what did you mean by that term -- >> commercial. the ones -- well, part of the problem here is that services are often listed in the yellow pages, you know, the kinds of services of truck driving, you know, and things of that sort or even maintenance type of things for commercial aircraft or military aircraft. there's a lot of services functions, food services. and these are people who are not traditionally defense suppliers because of things like cost accounting standards, intellectual property rights, export controls, all of the barriers to commercial firms doing defense business. if those were removed, we could get some of the companies who have the experience and low cost as a result of commercial competitions. >> thank you. and then my final question goes to both you, dr. gansler, and to
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you mr. francis, it's kind of an uberquestion. on page 15 of your testimony, doctor gansler you lay out what i think no-brainer commonsense recommendations establishing a single playbook for contingency services contracting, requesting the modification to the federal procurement data system to create a separate tracking effort for each contracting operation and limiting the contracting authority to the geographic combat and commander. it's so commonsense and then later on in your testimony you explain where dod is in each of these in the shorthand way of summing that up is, you know, some progress but not even enough even though it's commonsense and you raise in one your rounds mr. francis that's hanging over here in what we're exploring today and that is why. you mentioned in passing that here we are 8 years in iraq, 10 years going in afghanistan and we still are trying to measure the number of contractors in
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theater, in both places. so why are we where we are with regard to these issues, both of you? >> well, i think one thing is services themselves are not well understood. you can't label them. at jsf you can see, at jdem you can see. but services are that multitude of things that people don't want to know. they're the housekeeping chores and, obviously, that's not an accurate representation, but it's not something that people worry about. if you look at the budgets for services, their oem contracts you're hard-pressed to find where the money is and to hold people accountable. and i think we've been able to kind of buy our way out of it. we haven't had to worry about it because if we didn't do something right, there's money to do it over again. i do worry about the point mr. green brought up. is that when these operations do
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scale down and things return to some kind of normal, i think the imperative -- if there's any right now is going to go away and we're going to go back to situation normal, which is if you go back in time and look at how we budgeted for these activities in peacetime, the same problems have existed in peacetime they've gotten worse in wartime, i think we'll just go back to the old way of doing business. >> thank you. that's very helpful. if you could give me a short answer. >> people object to change and when they have a lot of money they won't change. i think they will recognize that they need to change. i mean, keeping track of how many people we have and what they're doing and the categories -- i mean, it's silly. logcap, for example, is in one category, you know, and yet we do thousands of different things under that category. some people drive trucks, some people do maintenance, et cetera, et cetera. we need to be able to know what they're doing and be able to track it. and that's a change. >> thank you both.
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thank you. i'd just remind the commission members we have said that this is such an important panel that we would allow the members to go 8 minutes instead of 5 so if the clock would give mr. green 8 minutes and if he doesn't use it, he doesn't have to. you have the floor. >> dr. gansler you expressed a degree of satisfaction that the defense department have added 10 general officers to the force. but you also indicated disappointment that at least in the case of the army that those were acquisition general officers as opposed to contracting general officers. ..
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>> it is clear that the general category of opposition is so broad that you can put somebody who's been a logistician all his life for example, giving that charge of contracting. you have a learning process that has to go on. it would be much better if you let someone who had that particular background. i think the professionalization of the acquisition senior people is something that, in fact, it starts with the commission. when we were on the packer commission we found that the army, for example, in that case had four people, four-star
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generals in charge would never been in acquisition before. i mean, that is -- we wrote rules you have to have some background in order to get into those positions like program management and so forth. i think with the same requirements for these new general officers, but it's going to take time. it's important that we start promoting people. a great young major time to go into the field for the arm and you want to say how do i get promoted, you're not going to pick contracting. so we need to have that potential for them to get promoted into those positions. when you deal with experience positions. >> would you advocate a separate branch for contractors? >> i think there's some distinct advantages to doing that. we certainly recommend that promotion reviews and so forth, promotion board. >> thank you. >> i might point out by the way that even though goldwater-nichols is being violated every day, and terms of the ratio of promotions, i just have to, send letters to the
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service secretary saying you're violating the law. but it didn't you too much good. they said thank you for your interest for national security. >> that's a lot of the way those letters get answered. even a participant in, and in many cases, the chair of numerous studies and boards and commissions, and we certainly respect your service and what you have to say, not only today but in the past. as i recall in the gansler report, somebody said that we're what, 21 of 22 of the recommendations had been, and correct me if i'm wrong, have been adopted or addressed, i'm sure, you know, different degrees of success. what process do you use, or have you used him in sharing that --
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have you used in ensuring that progress be made because i ask that because we as a commission are going to face exactly that same problem, and i'm going to ask the same question to the next panel. we've got a challenge with following up on whatever findings and recommendations that we have. and so i would welcome any thoughts that either one of you have on the best way or a way for us to do that, so that we do as much as we can to ensure that our final report and previous reports don't like so many end up on the shelf gathering dust. >> this is a lesson i learned from david packard and the packard commission. they said make sure losses will come back and hear and find that, got implement a. and for joy when i mentioned
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that you secretary given with the commission, he said i'll do it. and we did have, that's where your numbers come from. at least they took some action, sometimes even disagreeing action, but at least they did addressed each of them when we came back a year later to review it. i think you have to do something of that sort. there has to be some way of following up. >> i agree. i'm done. >> i thank the gentleman. mr. tiefer. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. francis, going back to the port we talked about earlier, which the conflict of interest protections in situations where you have contractors overseeing or managing of the contractors. you talked about organizational conflicts. i want to talk about personal conflicts and interest. we have focus in on this but we didn't make a recommendation yet, so we still have to decide whether to. and if you can't answer some of this question, just take it for the record. i think the goal has been that
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if the contractor is in effect sitting next to a federal employee in managing a contract, that the same ethical requirements that you apply to the federal employee should apply to the contractor. is that a generalization that we look for? >> i think that would be generally correct. >> all right. but with respect to financial disclosure forms, my understanding is that there's this sharp difference between a senior federal contracting manager and employee. or the all the mems of congress and abilities that hold of this hearing have on them. that's different. went i do a financial disclosure form, i signed it under express warned that the penalties of 18 usc 1001 a plot, which is effectively as if they were side and the penalty of perjury. i don't believe contractor
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employees are told, are put under that penalty, are they? >> that i would have to take for the record, mr. tiefer. there is a distinction between a personal services contractor, obviously, where the rules are somewhat different, and the legal authorities are. so there may be a distinction between that and a regular contractor. >> i think the next one though is pretty -- the other thing is even if they do, even if this contractor employee sitting next to me as a financial disclosure form, it isn't made public the way mine does, the way every member of congress is. it's just a good internally. isn't that right? >> i'm not sure. >> have you ever seen a public -- >> i haven't. >> have you ever heard of a public? >> for the contractors themselves, i have not. >> no, no. and so i just make, i just make this observation that the way in which conflicts of interest are
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policed at my level and the executive service, or among members of congress, is the press looks at them and checks up and says, wait a second, you owned a piece of land? that piece of land turned out to be a pretty good deal, didn't it? they can't you. they're not going to catch this among contractors managers. suppose it turns out that as you and i suspect these are not public, contractor employee financial disclosure forms. are we missing a safeguard on them that we have for government employee disclosure forms for? >> i'm not so sure that they would have to be public to get that kind of scrutiny. again, i would put the burden on the governors. the governments responsibility look for those conflicts and be aware. again, coming back to managing risk. so i don't think we should rely on the media, for example, to perform that function for us.
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>> okay. would it be a supplement though if we're going to say we -- if are going to put the same restrictions on the employee sitting next to the federal, the contractor sitting next to the federal employee come it will put the same restrictions on them they would have to be the same restrictions including how a disclosure form is look at. >> i guess would have to look at what the other consequences are of that. if we had that kind of restriction, if you will, or possibility for publication, then i don't know what that would do to the pool of contractors we have available to us. so again, we have to look at what's in the broader government interest. so i don't have an easy answer for you there. i think it's a complicated question. >> i will take the rest of this for the record. i will yield the balance of my time. >> i thank the gentleman. >> thank you. dr. gansler, you made reference earlier to the congress and the
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congress having a role in some of us. i was reminded of a former chairman of house armed services committee who said, you know, we would not have an army of shoppers larger than the marine corps. you could agree with that statement but, unfortunately, it was interpreted to mean the acquisition workforce in the department, not everyone it and that's what led to, as you know, the dramatic cutbacks that we saw in the acquisition. >> 25% cuts by law by congress. >> with a lot of the problems i think today resulting from some of that. but would you care to comment on how congress is implicit in the problems that we're seeing today? they have passed, we talked about services. they've had laws about better management of services on the books for several years now. doesn't seem to have had the intended effect. are there other things that come to mind as to how we can make them part of the solution?
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>> commissioner ervin raise an important point about bring in other contractors, the commercial world who have the experience and a low-cost, but are in a sense begin with barriers to entry by legislation that exists currently, things such as cost accounting standards, export control laws, things of that sort. and so that's an area that warrants looking at. we give speeches about the desirability of bringing commercial firms income and we pass laws that prohibit them. others -- >> we did have a federal acquisition streamlining act which address a lot of those problems. >> that was the extent. >> i was about 20 years ago. >> each of the areas that there are examples where congress can help. unfortunately, sometimes we get unintended consequences, and that's the fear. that's the reason why i made the comment about the title of the report, you know, you don't want to scare away contractors from doing defense work, especially
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the ones with high quality low cost. >> since you brought up that title again i will just want to go on the record to say that there are too many contractors in a number of various. one, the army came before us and said, yes, it had identified several thousand positions that were being inherently governmental positions that were being filled by contractors. maybe they get around to bring those in house but maybe they wouldn't be able to do that because of funding constraints, and it looks like they're moving even further away. so they are there. the other is too many because we are not managing properly, and you know we have too many people doing too much that we don't actually need being done. >> i agree. >> that was how we defined it. let me ask you, both about training. one of the things that we read reported, both in the gop port and dr. gansler, in your statement, too, was the lack of
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training for acquisition reasons. i want just say the workforce but i was the acquisition reasons. you know, the thing that strikes me is we really do have a different set of incentives when we bring the private sector into a business deal. and those are more business days incentive. so did you come across any training? you said you didn't see a lot of it, but dgc training that really would talk about a new business model that would talk about making sure that when you're sitting on the other side of the negotiating table, you understand what is driving the contractor's behavior and what is driving, not just dcaa come in and doing audits but really an understanding of the business arrangements that these -- >> i think there are two types of training in that regard, the one you're talking about is whether people are negotiating contracts or writing the requirements are managing the programs really need to understand how the industry works and what are their
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incentive so they can apply them. then there's the problem of the other side which is the combatant commanders who get oversight and requirements in the field who need to also understand a little bit. and we found that wasn't even being introduced to their courses at all. but both of those exiting i think are important when you recognize we have a fixed force. >> mr. francis? >> a couple of points. one is the cost department has i think excellent insight about what industries enters our versus the government. so i think training on that kind of awareness is very important for people at the negotiating table. the other thing is we did work years ago looking at best practices for turn. one of the differences we found and commercial industry versus government was they identified what was important to you can't have 100 training initiatives. you might have 10, and the
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important ones you take to the factory floor, or in the case here, to the front. you don't put them in the schoolhouse and make people access websites here so you take the train to where it needs to be done. the other thing i was thinking about, the comment mr. green made, there's an appeal to having a separate organization for contracting, but that didn't makes it something separate, something that you don't bring into the negotiation. and i can speak from experience in our own organization. we've had people work acquisitions and people worked contracting. and we have found that it's very hard to separate the two. and if you do, you lose some synergy there. spirit in fact, you want to cross training for that reason. you want the contracting people to understand program management, program manage manat
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people to understand contracting. >> and i'm particularly interest in the requirements it is because they are the ones that drive the cost and everything. >> they are the ones that any exposure because they are quote warfighters but they don't have to worry about it. >> i would know the training question also falls on what mr. tiefer was talking, the conflict of interest. there are areas where you have a different set of incentives and the person sitting across the table from you and you better as to what those are in order to try speed is one lesson might point out, that i company said ashley, senator toby don't tell me the figure given a case study. give me an example. if we wrote case studies on buying services that cover both sides of the story, that would be a good training to. >> thank you. >> mr. green? >> let me just follow up to mr. francis, your comment on the question i posed earlier on a separate contracting branch, or something. i don't know what the formula is, but what we need to get to, and i understand the synergy, but what we need to get to is a
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way that we incentivize these contracting people that they see ahead of them career opportunities, promotion opportunities, and whether that is a subset of the acquisition corps, or whether it's something that a separate, you know, we've got to figure out a way because that's a part of this whole equation, is not making it so attractive that an acquisition person always migrates to program management because that's the sexy stuff, and they don't pay attention to the contract. >> thank the gentleman. dr. gansler, i kind of feel in a way, and i want to say this, you're at the top of the pyramid, and we are eating the crumbs off your table. but as a result i tend to judge or a little harder than i would others because if you don't get what we are saying, then we are
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in deep trouble. and when you said that the time of this report, that we don't want to scare away contractors, i just had to laugh. i mean, the likelihood of our scantily contractors is like one out of a billion. you know, you can scare them away if you have absurd regulations and requirements. those things you can. but to state that maybe we're all relying on it, it's the view of the commission in our report that contractors become false option. and it's triggered in this way. this is your quote. would have a lot of money they don't have to change, referring to dod. and we want them to change. and we are concerned that, heck, we will just hire a contractor because it comes out of the supplemental. the supplement is free.
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and by the way, i'm going to say because it is true, if a few contractors get killed, nobody seems to care. because it's not on that list that the press puts out about how many soldiers we lost. so they are expendable. that's a gross thing to say because they aren't but that's the way it is viewed. and so it's aqi hold, and i want -- it's a view i hold. we have over relied on contractors because they are like free. there in the supplemental side of the military budget. they get killed, nobody writes about it. and your comment though women have a lot of money they don't have to change, isn't that -- do pretty much feel comfortable with that statement you made? >> no, i think the leadership must make the changes, even with money, that that's a requirement that they have. >> but what gets -- i'm just
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making this point. we would like dod not to think there's a bottomless pit of contractors, that if you can't manage them well, then maybe you should be hiring them. now, then you come back and said, you know, they're the cheapest and all that and they perform essential functions. they do. but with all due respect were getting into the nationbuilding site where we hire contractors to do nation building and there is if you can't is that essential for the military to publish their task? just to give you a sense of what we are referencing. >> i think that terminology matters, what you say. entities that contractors are only a default option over and over reliance on contractors, and if that is in balance by the essential nature of the work that they do and the importance of it to the mission, and other things, then i would agree with you by the way, last week by coincidence i talked to the department of defense person who publishes the weekly listing of
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people killed that week, and i insisted they also list the contract is because there have been more of them in many times and there have been people in uniform. i think we undervalue and we have to be very careful about how we were the report cannot undervalue that half of the total force that other contractors. and yet we still need to manage them better. spirit we don't undervalue them. we do believe it is an outrage if the government is to hire contract and that oversee them, given that they're 50%. >> that's the governments fault, not the contractors fault. >> fine, that's true. dod is not auditable. and there's a reason why because they don't have to be because we're not going to shut them down. so that if there in the private sector they would all go to jail because if you're not auditable, you are breaking the law. but dod doesn't have to -- no, they private sector, if the company is not auditable then
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something is wrong. well, dod is not possible. what gets into the audible? nothing because will not shut them down. we want to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse. so the challenge is what do we do to get this cultural change? and one of them may be to say that contractors are in not an unlimited list you contact them as much when it is on the nationbuilding site. let me ask you, you basically take three out of 31 that you have some concern with. coincidentally the same concern dod has. tax performance, either performance or folks that say past performance and and isn't going to decide who we get. and it is the whole issue of department, suspension and debarment. so you folks on that. they generally said they agree with all the other recommendations in varying degrees, which you know is
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hopeful but it's not helpful. let me ask you specifically about one come and that is recommendation eight. and a recommendation eight, we want to sound a contingency contractors director in the offices of joint chiefs of staff. right now you have service contracting in j. four, logistics. can you see value, and i'll ask you this, mr. francis, as well, can you see value in getting the military to recognize that half the effort in terms of personnel are contractors that they should have a separate joint category? and that would be a j. path? >> i do agree that we have to give visibility to that particularly in the military. this is one way of doing it.
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my concern in general about organizational solutions is when we set something up separate, does it didn't affect become a separate. so would that become a separate activity which would then have to integrate into planning? so i think if we go back to what we talked about at the beginning, we did really planned this on an integrated basis. and so, the test i would hold for this solution is, will this get us there? and i'm not sure yet that a separate organization would do it. >> i think he gets to the question of how it gets defined and what the role is, and if it's just quote contracting as contrasted to concern about the next force and how it gets utilize and the benefits of it and trying to play in it for the exercises, for example, which would be very valuable i think, so i can see some significant positive benefits that could come from this as doubt it gets defined but if it ends up being
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the job of that person to be responsible for policy and contracting, no. >> right now contracting his hand in a j-4 by a colonel. 50% of our manpower. let me just quickly ask you this question. used inherently governmental a lot. we are not find it helpful term to mean whatever, what anyone wants it to mean. and so my question is, there's some of us who think that we need to say what is appropriate for government to do and what isn't appropriate for government to do. because inherently governmental you can legally do anything you want. would you agree with that comment or not? >> i don't know if i would go as far as to say lately you can do what you want, but i do agree that the definition we are using isn't always helpful, because you have to act in the
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government's best interest. so for example, we're talking about contractors overseeing contractors, you might say oversight is inherently governmental. but if you are doing construction in afghanistan and you need oversight there and putting somebody from the u.s. there, puts them at risk, you may have used somebody else. so, i do think we have to think about what's in the best in the government's best interest, but i do think what does hurt us is we don't age those risks. we don't gauge the things that put the government in a disadvantaged position in the long term. so it gets away from us in my. >> thank you. dr. gansler, and then we'll close. >> i agree with the same and i think we need to focus more on that definition at least least gives some guidance to which functions do and do not fit as inherently governmental. i think the general statement like all acquisition is inherently governmental just is wrong. but on the other hand, trying to sit down and define or think
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everything that's important or everything that is critical, or everything that is in support of the government is inherently governmental. again, that's wrong. now we have to be more specific in order to be able to define it. and i think most of the functions that i understand are being done, the majority, there are some functions where contractors are filling in, doing things they shouldn't be doing it and that's what you're trying to address, but the vast majority of what those 200,000 people over there are doing are things that should be done by contractors. >> let me just have you both come and by making any comment you want to forget to our next panel, is there any comment that you would like to make before we close? >> well, i think i will come back to the issue of cultural change. and i don't think we get there by setting targets like insourcing, outsourcing, and numbers. and that's what i get concerned with with the administration. i seen those numbers put out there, and then energy is lost.
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for cultural change, you really need to sustain energy. and i think we have to get at what are the skill sets, what are the roles, how do we need to perform this function if you want to cut services acquisition in peacetime, and in the future. and how do you sustain and hold people accountable in the long-term. short-term doesn't work. >> thank you. dr. kessler? >> i made the same know. i was going to say numbers isn't the right answer. it worries me that we'll have a bunch of people with no expense simply filling in the categories because we have 10,000 of them, and i was scared by the fact that the air force thought they were making 40% cost savings by bringing people to do wrench turning. i made observation to someone in the pentagon that maybe they're impotent on the grass because there's no overhead with that assumption. that's just direct labor on the industry side. we need to do on his comparisons
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of what things can best be done by the contractors, what things can best be done by the government. there's no question about the oversight and the management and the decision-making and the budgeting and all of those things that have to be done by experienced, skilled government people, well trained. we've got to focus on that. and we had to focus on the difference between services and buying products, which we clearly have a cultural problem with. and my summary statement is, i think you people have the opportunity to a very significant impact on that culture. and i encourage you to do that in a very positive way, rather than simply a threat that they might be subpoenaed and debarred. >> thank you. dr. gansler and mr. francis, i know on behalf of all the commissions we value your work and we appreciate your testimony today. thank yothank you very much. we will get right to the next panel. >> thank you. ..
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[inaudible conversations] >> you're watching live coverage of the commission on wartime contracting. in the next panel, we'll hear from stuart bo hen, cnn reports he's pursuing a number of allegations brought against contractors for false claims.
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last week it was announced that two whistleblowers would divide nearly half a billion for contractors in iraq who had overcharged the government for their services. while we wait for the commission to come back together, let's take a look at one of the first place winners of c-span's student cam documentary competition. >> this year's student cam competition asked students from across the country to consider washington, d.c. through their lens. today's first prize winner from middle school addressed an issue that better helped them understand the role of the federal government. ♪ >> well, i use the internet every day to talk with friends on web sites like twitter and facebook. >> well, the usual things, communications. >> are you seeing research for school papers?
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the internet, it's something that our generation has grown up with and taken for granted. we use it for research and entertainment and everything in between. it has always been free and open, and most americans assume it always will be, but will it? for people like mark have been ham erickson, the answer is, it won't. >> the internet could turn into something that looks more like cable television where the network operators choose what content you're going to be able to access. >> concerns like this are the center of the debate over what's known as network neutrality. basically, network neutrality or net neutrality as it is more commonly called, is the idea that all traffic floating across the internet should be treated equally and internet service providers should not be able to speed up, slow down or block content. sounds feasible, right? while most people would agree that the principle of net
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neutrality makes sense, after all, this is the way the internet has operated since it started, and it's still largely the way it operates now. >> there's tremendous agreement that right now there is net neutrality in place where consumers can get the access to the content and applications and services of their choice. >> the question is, should the federal government get in the business of enforcing this principle through legislation or regulation? or should this be left in department sectors? if we keep it in the private sector, things will remain as they are now. at least we hope they would. but for purposes of net neutrality or people who support government intervention, think that the demise of the internet as we know it today is quite possible. >> the technology that the network operators would employ to be able to take content and block it and prioritize it is really still in its infancy. clearly, the network operators would like to be able to monetize the delivery of content on the internet, so that's why
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we want some basic rules that say we want to preserve the internet that we largely have today. >> however, scott cleveland, chairman of net, believes differently. >> the issue is whether or not the government formally regulates that, so i would have to most respectfully disagree most strongly with you in the sense that, you know, discussing that this is just a preserving the status quo. you know, you don't need legislation or regulation to maintain the status quo. >> to get from the status quo to the land of guaranteed net neutrality, there are several paths that the federal government can take. first, the federal communications commission or fcc tried to apply the old or existing regulation. that happened after 2008 when the fcc decided to punish comcast for selectively blocking content on its network. comcast appealed that decision, and the washington, d.c. federal appeals court ruled that the fcc
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had overstepped it authority. its authority. with the first path blocked, the fcc decided to move on to the next one. it would go through a rulemaking process to clarify its authority so that in future instances of so-called net neutrality violations, it would have a legal enforcement mechanism to deal with them effectively. here fcc chairman julius genachowski e explains one of the three rules that make up the proposed regulation. >> so we're adopting a ban on unreasonable discrimination, and we're making clear that we're not approving so-called paid to play priority arrangements for some companies and not others. >> right now the five commissioners of the fcc are poised to take a vote on this proposed legislation. >> that rulemaking may culminate as early as december of this year. >> i'm here at the fcc headquarters in washington, d.c. where the five commissioners
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took a vote on december 21st of 2010. the result was a vote in favor of the regulation along partisan lines. so why did the fcc pursue a regulatory path rather than a legislative one? we may be able to find a clue in the results of the 2010 midterm election. as we know, republicans gained control of the house and took away the democrats' supermajority in the senate. chairman cleveland analyzed election results on his blog and found an interesting fact. out of 95 candidates for congress who pledged their support for net neutrality, not a single one got elected. chairman cleland was careful to emphasize that this did not mean that the elections were lost because of the candidates' support for net neutrality. however, this information did lead him to an important conclusion. >> what that showed was that the people that supported net
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neutrality didn't have the support of the american people in the election. >> he offered this prediction on the prospects of net neutrality legislation to us in our interview. >> well, i don't think you going to see -- you're going to see net neutrality legislation in congress. >> but as an average american how will this net neutrality issue effect me? on one hand, proponents say that net neutrality would level the playing field between big and small companies. >> an open internet is, perhaps, as much as anything else the great equalizer. it allows people with innovative ideas to succeed on the merits of those ideas. >> on the other hand, opponents say that government involvement would do exactly the opposite of what proponents say it will do. rather than spurring innovation, it may remove incentives for entrepreneurs to start small businesses and create ground-breaking technologies. >> when there's no problem, don't fix it, you know?
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because, basically, fix ago problem that doesn't exist -- fixing a problem that doesn't exist will create many, many worse problems. >> as we can see, the issue of net neutrality demonstrates how the three branches of the federal government can and have influenced our online community. the fcc voted to regulate the internet on december 21st of 2010. but don't let yourself be fooled. just because the fcc has approved the net neutrality regulation doesn't mean the battle is over. many people are calling for a congressional review of the regulation in which a simple majority in the house and senate could overturn it. there is also no doubt that the regulation could face serious legal challenges as many take it to court. so americans should expect to hear more and more about net neutrality in the future as the story unfolds. we don't know what's going to happen, but one thing is clear; whether you're for or against it, americans cannot afford to stay newt central on net
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neutrality. >> net neutrality -- >> net neutrality. >> go to student to watch all the winning videos ask continue the conversation about today's documentary at our facebook and twitter pages. >> we take you back now live to the commission on wartime contracting underway and a look at some of the inspectors. >> taxpayer dollars were wasted. >> we have suggested in our lessons-learned contracting report and hard lessons and other reports several improvements that are echoed commonly in the commission's report at what risk. our overarching one is that the departments of defense and state should develop a set of contracting rules for use in contingency operations that all entities would use. not as the situation we currently have where each department implements it own amended version of the far. difficult for contractors to understand, difficult for contracting officers to manage,
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difficult for overseers to assess. second, strengthen the capacity of contractors to carry out reconstruction work, echoing the organic capacity recommendation of the commission. commission recommendation one. there needs to be more talented individuals doing contracting in the stabilization and reconstruction arena, and that requires growing the capacity within the agencies. include contracting personnel in exercises. commission recommendation six, we agree with. avoid using sole-source and limited competition. commission recommendations 15 and 19, agree with those as well. develop deployable systems that are usable in stabilization operations. commission recommendation two addresses that. and, finally, create an integrated structure that's capable of managing this kind of operation. we don't have that today. commission wisely recommends in recommendation 19 that a special
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office be created to provide oversight. we concur with that, and with that i will conclude my statement and look forward to your questions. thank you. >> thank you, mr. bowen. mr. blair. >> good morning, chairman thibault -- or chairman shays. thank you for this community to discuss our work on contingency contracting and dod's challenges in this area. effective contracting for goods and services, as you've noted, is a key element to our success in southwest asia, and many in the department have been working long and hard to improve contingency contracting. however, we continue to find the same problems. simply stated, dod needs to get it right in the beginning and then have effective oversight to insure that it gets what it pays for. in order to get it right in the beginning, dod needs to do four things correctly, consistently. first, insure that contract requirements are fully defined and that they meet a mission
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need. second, select the appropriate type of contract. third, properly compete these contracts. and, fourth, determine fair and reasonable prices. however, too often we find that these key steps are not consistently performed. dod also needs to have effective oversight of all of these contracts to verify that the goods and services are actually delivered according to the contract terms. a detailed quality assurance plan in the hands of a well-qualified contracting officer representative is a powerful oversight tool. however, we find too often that the department continues to struggle in this area. these recurring problems are why we developed this report. contingency contracting, a framework for reform. this report highlights some of the challenges that dod must overcome and ways to improve contingency contracting. we're pleased to report that commanders and contracting officers in the field have started using it on a daily
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basis. since our last testimony before the commission in may 2010, we've issued 42 audit and inspection reports related to contingency operations. in iraq we are reviewing asset accountability, base closures and contractor demobilization. in afghanistan we focus on a wide variety of issues including safety and protection of forces, training and equipping the afghan national army and police, and the department's execution of over $14 billion designated for afghan security forces over the past two years. our recent audit of the prime vendor subsistence contract shows what can happen when dod does not get it right in the beginning. the contract grew significantly through i verbal change orders, and the department has paid over $3 billion without establishing all the contract requirements. dod recently extended this contract for an additional two years without competition. we found that the department overpaid potentially $124
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million for transportation and drywall costs and paid about $455 million to airlift fruit and vegetables into afghanistan without incorporating these airlift requirements into the terms of the contract. another audit, the defense utilization marketing office in cue bait highlighted what can -- kuwait highlighted what can happen. contractors allowed large quantities of potential reusable equipment to be exposed to the elements and destroyed. i'd like to direct your attention to the two large photographs i have here. the first one here to my right shows the large number of boxes. as you can see, these boxes over here are uncovered, and some of them have collapsed. what has happened is the contents of the boxes were exposed to the elements in kuwait. the second picture over here shows what happens after this long-term exposure. this box contained unused boots that were designed to protect our war fighters from contamination, and as you can see the boots are no longer usable.
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we examined one box and found that the acquisition value of its content was about $39,000. our investigations have -- our investigators have over 230 ongoing investigators related to contingency operations. these investigations have resulted in be 12 indictments, 19 criminal informations, 34 convictions, monetary recoveries of over $42 million and restitution totaling more than $90 million. in addition, those convicted were with collectively sentenced to more than 50 years in prison, and there were 21 debarments from future contracting activities. one of the most significant challenges the department must address in contingency contracting is to insure that or recommendations -- insure that our recommendations are more broadly implemented to determine what improvements need to be made to properly establish the requirements, complete the contracts, determine a fair and reasonable price would be transformational. oversight of u.s. contingency
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operations in southwest asia continues to be a top priority of the dod office of the inspector general. we will continue to identify and deter fraud, waste and abuse and make recommendations to help insure that the men and women serving in theater are well equipped and well supported. the department and taxpayers cannot afford inefficient and costly contracting practices. i thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning and look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, mr. blair. mr. richardson. >> chairman shays and members of the commission, thank you for inviting me to discuss implementing immaterial improvements -- implementing improvements to defense wartime contracting. under its mandate, sigar has limited oversight of department of defense contingency contracts. this oversight represents 13% of the $145 billion obligated from fiscal years 2002 to 2010. almost all can be found in three specific areas. first, the afghan security forces fund, second, the
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commanders' emergency response fund and, thirdly, the defense department drug intradiction and counterdrug program. sigar's work has largely focused on construction projects paid for by the afghan security forces fund and the commanders' emergency response fund. we have issued 11 audit reports which examine 15 construction contracts paid through the security forces fund totaling $363.9 million and 70 contracts paid through the commanders' emergency response fund totaling $54.7 million. in addition, we have looked at $11.4 billion planned expenditure of the combined security transition command build of 884 facilities for the afghan national security forces which we discussed in our last hearing with you. since sigar's last testimony before this commission, we've issued two additional reports on activities funded by the afghan security forces fund. one audit questions the capability of afghan ministry of superior to account for --
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interior to account for and pay the afghan police. this is a key issue as we approach transition to full afghan control. the other is an audit of contracts that discusses weaknesses in contract oversight which is a key issue to preventing cost overruns and costly contract delays. in addition, sigar has two ongoing audits of large infrastructure projects funded through the afghan security forces fund and being implemented by the united states air force engineering center. we are also planning in coordination with the department of defense inspector general to conduct an audit of two u.s. army corps of engineer contracts with itt corporation. these contracts provide operations and maintenance for afghan international security force facilities. our audits continue to identify challenges that place u.s. funds at risk primarily in three areas; inadequate oversight, lack of sustainability and insufficient planning. to address these and other
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weaknesses, we have made specific recommendations to the effective agencies, and we closely monotore their -- monitor their implementation. we ask for specific details about follow-up actions as well as confirmation that these actions have been successfully completed. to this end, sigar has made 35 recommendations to the department of defense during years 2009 and 2010. the defense department has concurred with 28 of these recommendations and partially concur with the the remaining seven. we have identified corrective actions taken by the defense department in about 75% of these recommendations. we've also made 14 recommendations to the defense department during the current fiscal year and are now awaiting their response. let me add that a critical ten in our audit -- step in our audit process is to make sure we coordinate with other igs. sigar will vet all notification letters with other igs to inscheuer not duplicating efforts, and we will also
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discuss potential outcomes with the commanders in theater to insure or cost-saving measures are taken as soon as possible. in conclusion, let me assure you that sigar is moving forward with a robust audit plan to examine department of defense, department of state and uasid -- usaid grants and cooperative agreements. examining billions of dollars of taxpayers' money being spent on foreign soil is a complex and difficult assignment. sigar recognizes the critical nature of this in addition and is deploying the skills and resources necessary to follow the money, generate a greater return for our taxpayers, build a critical investigative case assigned resulting in this fines, recoveries and prosecutions and insure u.s. objectives are being met. again, thank you for this opportunity to testify before you today, and i am prepared to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you, mr. richardson. i'm swapping my time with ms. schinasi, and so she's going first. i will go last. so the auditors, commissioner
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schinasi, glean, tiefer and myself. we'll start with you. >> thank you, gentlemen, for being here this morning, and thanks for all the good work that you and your staffs have done in the pursuit of learning and better expenditure, more effective expenditure of taxpayer dollars. i'd like to start a little bit, maybe, with a question that you're not given very often, and that is what's going right. i think many of us would agree that in the contingency by the very nature of it you can expect waste when you go into a contingency. we don't know a lot about what we're going to face, we're not really good at setting requirements, we don't have all the people there at the beginning to help. but my question goes a little bit to the cultural issue we were dealing with the last panel and have you seen any recognition on the part of the departments that you work with? and let's start with the department of defense. that we really need to change
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the way we do business, not just with respect to waste, but with respect to cost more generally. are we getting better at being more effective in the way we spend taxpayer dollars? i'll just start with you, mr. bowen, and if you are specific examples you have, i would appreciate that. >> are yes, we do have a specific example. an audit we are releasing this week concerning the u.s. army corps of engineers. eighteen months ago we issued a review of the asset transfer process, and we found that hundreds of projects were being unilaterally transferred and, thus, not being adequately sustained. as the commission has addressed, as we've repeatedly said, significant waste can occur if projects that we properly build are not effectively sustained by the iraqis. the audit that we will issue finds that the corps has dramatically improved its asset transfer process and has, has a
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system now functioning in iraq that will insure that the remainder of it projects will be effectively transferred to iraqi control. there is the continuing challenge, though, regarding whether the iraqis will sustain. >> mr. blair? >> one of the things that we note is in some of the work that we did in iraq was related to the area of asset accountability. and i though that's not really the cost issue that you're coming, asking about, but with the asset accountability we found that there was a good handle on some of the equipment. bun of the things that come -- but one of the things that comes to mind in the whole idea of a transforming a culture in dod and as was discussed a lot at the last panel, once a culture is in place, it's very difficult to change. we are seeing some discussion now, more than before, of cost. no longer are we seeing first and foremost i've got the money, i want it on contract, i want it
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now. but i was at a program management review a couple weeks ago with c stick ca, and there was some discussion not just about getting the items on contract immediately, but also some discussion about the idea that the funds that we once had are going to be more limited in the future than they were before. so that's encouraging. it's encouraging to hear that discussion takes place. i'm not ready to say that i've seen positive change yet. i think that's going to take several years to put in place. >> how do you make sure that that discussion you heard actually is carried through and spreads? >> we do discuss this in our audits. we bring it up, how are you particularly going to focus on cost. when we do our audit work, we do focus on whether the contract is the appropriate type and whether they're using a contracting
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vehicle that puts the appropriate amount of risk on the contractor and the government so that there is a preference to the cost, or not the cost, a preference to not time and materials and not cost, but a firm, fixed price. >> let me -- besides contract type, i know in many be cases the auditors are discouraged from asking about whether a need is really a need or a want. do you question whether or not a need is a need or a want? >> when we look at the contracts and the requirements determination, we want o see that link -- we want to see that link between the requirements and the mission requirements, the contract requirements, the mission requirements. we haven't got into the detailed question that you're talking about. that's something that i think we can include in some of our work going forward to the commanders, how do you distinguish some of the prioritization, how do you distinguish what you need now versus what you want for later. >> it seems to me if we do
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purview what particularly dr. gansler was talking about and what we've advocated about commanders having more responsibility for the money they spend, the audit community could be a really important supportive mechanism in that case as well. mr. richardson, i guess my question to you would be lessons learned from iraq transferring to afghanistan. are there things that you have seen or that you have discussed with your colleagues about cultural change that's being incorporated by the military units themselves? >> the major lesson learned from iraq is the sustainment issue. in afghanistan the issue is whether or not the facilities being built, the roads being built, the systems being put in place, the money being spent on the afghan national police and the afghan national army are going to be worth it from the standpoint of the ability of the
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afghan government to sustain these operations. and what we are finding from a cultural standpoint is that while this is a very complex issue, things are being put in place based on a number of recommendations that we have made over time the last couple of years to try to shore up these avenues. >> i just, i think if my colleagues don't pursue that sustainment question with you, i will come back to it my second round, but i would say that's probably one of the lessons that has not been learned from iraq to afghanistan given the waste we've seen in the sustainment there. but let me turn to another question both for you, mr. bowen, and you, mr. richardson, with respect to the state department. we haven't talked a lot about state yet. but you both make reference either in your statements or in reports about your, the difficulty in getting information out of the state department with respect to their programs. i guess, mr. richardson, you
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talk about a review you're doing of the state's transaction data related to afghan reconstruction that you've made a request in august last year for some information that you haven't gotten yet. and, mr. bowen, you make reference to a similar request for information about embassy numbers that you haven't been able to get. is the state department a harder agency to deal with, or are you -- is this acceptable that we don't know what's going on with respect to the state department's operations? >> no, it's not acceptable. that we don't know. because it's essential that we get the information necessary to our mission so the congress is informed. about how the taxpayers' money is being used. it's a development that's evolved over the last nine months. we've written about it in our quarterly reports, and it concerns a reinterpretation at the state department about who's actually involved in reconstruction activity. and they have, they said two
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quarters ago that only ten individuals were involved at the embassy in reconstruction which is not plausible. and we pressed back to get more information about funding used to support the prts, for example, 14 still operating in the field, and we, we have been -- we're somewhat stymied. this was addressed at a hearing before the in-house in march, and we did not see an appreciable improvement this quarter regarding that matter. >> is that because your portfolio is limited to reconstruction? is that why who was involved in the reconstruction? >> actually, our portfolio covers all funding for iraq. it's very broadly defined. not just hardened reconstruction, but it's the iraq security forces fund, it's the economic support fund, it's the iraq relief and reconstruction fund, it's the commanders' response program and the inl fund. and that's what we're no


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