McCaskill calls for increased oversight of contract work in Afghanistan

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By Walter Pincus The Washington Post

The chairman of a Senate investigative subcommittee called Thursday for stepped-up government oversight of contract work in Afghanistan, saying Pentagon auditors have already challenged nearly $1 billion in charges by military contractors.

"What additional controls and government oversight are needed to make sure that these contracts don’t result in the waste, fraud and abuse we saw in Iraq?" Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) asked a panel of witnesses from the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Defense Department.

     

contractchartPentagon auditors had examined $5.9 billion worth of contracts and found about $950 million in "questioned and unsupported costs," she said. "Because auditors have only looked at a fraction of contracts," she said, "the real amount of waste is likely to be much higher."

There are conflicting estimates about the total value of U.S. contracts in operation in Afghanistan. McCaskill sought a single figure and a way to keep track of it — saying she was "trying to find out who was responsible for putting out this money" — but the assembled group could not give her a total.

Significant funding has gone to the Pentagon’s Commanders Emergency Response Program ($1.3 billion this year), logistics ($1.8 billion), USAID projects (more than $2 billion), equipment for Afghan security forces ($1 billion), the State Department’s anti-drug and rule-of-law programs ($900 million) and the Army Corps of Engineers’ construction projects (more than $1 billion).

Read more at The Washington Post

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