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Project on Government Oversight

U.S. Government Failed Taxpayers in Oversight of Spending in Iraq and Afghanistan

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August 31, 2011

Statement of Scott Amey, General Counsel, Project On Government Oversight

The Commission on Wartime Contracting’s final report deserves considerable attention to ensure that past blunders are not repeated. The Commission’s finding that at least one out of every six taxpayer dollars spent in Iraq and Afghanistan was lost to waste and fraud is not surprising—but it is absurd. In other words, for the past 10 years, the government has thrown $12 million a day out the window and received nothing in return. The government and contractors have to do a better job protecting taxpayer money, even in contingency operations.

The Commission’s report details misconduct, poor planning, shifting requirements, inadequate competition, substandard contract administration and oversight, inadequate staffing and training, an over-reliance on contractors, and sub-par contractor performance. 

As a result, between $31 billion and $60 billion was wasted on projects that were not needed, not completed, or not sustainable. Reconstruction and diplomatic missions will not end when troops are withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan. The government must ensure that it is prepared for the State Department to take over operations, and additional taxpayer dollars are invested, especially as the government continues to rely on contractors to complete those missions.

To learn more, read: Deficient Contractor Accountability Leaves Agencies and Taxpayers at Risk, testimony of Scott Amey, February 28, 2011.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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