Rep. Lynch Introduces Bill To Reauthorize Wartime Contracting Commission

Jul 11, 2019 Issues: Committee on Oversight and Reform, National Security

Washington, D.C. – Last week, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Chairman of the National Security Subcommittee, introduced H.R. 3576the Wartime Contracting Commission Reauthorization Act of 2019, to reauthorize the independent and bipartisan Commission responsible for examining waste, fraud and abuse in U.S. wartime contracting.  H.R. 3576 would reauthorize the Commission on Wartime Contracting and require a final report due to Congress two years after the date of appointment of all eight bipartisan Commission Members. Congress established the Commission on Wartime Contracting in 2008, where it held 25 hearings and issued eight reports on contingency contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, embassy security, the sustainability of reconstruction efforts and Defense Department contractor oversight before it expired in September 2011.

“With over $132 billion spent in Afghanistan alone to date, and ongoing U.S. military operations in Iraq, Syria, Northern Africa and other regions, the Commission will provide critical oversight of contracting by the Department of Defense, the State Department, USAID and other federal agencies for overseas military, security and reconstruction operations,” said Chairman Lynch.  “The Commission previously identified billions in American taxpayer funds wasted in Afghanistan and Iraq due to corruption, inadequate planning, a lack of competition and insufficient contractor vetting. This bill will allow this important work to continue so that we can address existing lapses in federal contracting and better ensure the efficiency of U.S. operations and reconstruction efforts.”   

Ranking Member of the National Security Subcommittee, Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA) is an original co-sponsor of H.R. 3576.

“Back in April, Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko confirmed that billions of federal dollars have been lost due to contracting inefficiencies, subpar oversight, and outright fraud,” said Congressman Hice. “While there is no simple solution, the Wartime Contracting Commission will provide analyses and recommendations to improve contingency contracting and methodology to ensure American taxpayer dollars are accounted for. As we work to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse within the federal government, I’m proud to join my good friend, Chairman Lynch, in supporting this legislation.”

The Project on Government Oversight has strongly endorsed H.R. 3576 and submitted an official letter of support.  They included the reauthorization of the Commission on Wartime Contracting as one of its key recommendations in its January 2019 report that identified thirteen key policy areas that require Congressional action.  The Project on Government Oversight is an independent, bipartisan organization that investigates waste, abuse of power and corruption within the United States government.

“We champion reforms to achieve a more effective, ethical, and accountable federal government that safeguards constitutional principles,” wrote Danielle Brian, Executive Director.  “This bill is just such a reform.  As Pentagon spending has increased, there is an increased need for oversight and accountability.  By reestablishing an independent, bipartisan legislative commission dedicated to holding hearings on waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of wartime contracts, this bill will greatly benefit American taxpayers and our troops.”

In addition, H.R. 3576 would require the Commission on Wartime Contracting to examine federal agency contracting funded by overseas contingency operations; federal agency contracting for the logistical support of coalition forces operating under the 2001 or 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force; and federal agency contracting for the performance of security functions in countries where coalition forces are operating under the 2001 or 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.