Copyright 2004 The Federal News Service, Inc.
Federal News Service
March 11, 2004 Thursday
HEADLINE: HEARING OF THE HOUSE GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE SUBJECT: THE COMPLEX TASK OF COORDINATING CONTRACTS AMID CHAOS: THE CHALLENGES OF REBUILDING A BROKEN IRAQ
CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE TOM DAVIS (R-VA)
WITNESSES: MAJOR GENERAL CARL A. STROCK, DIRECTOR OF CIVIL WORKS, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GENERAL PAUL J. KERN, COMMANDING GENERAL, U.S. ARMY MATERIAL COMMAND, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; MAJOR GENERAL WADE H. MCMANUS, JR., COMMANDING GENERAL, U.S. ARMY FIELD SUPPORT COMMAND, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; TINA BALLARD, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY FOR POLICY AND PROCUREMENT, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; LEWIS LUCKE, DEPUTY ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR, UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT; DOV S. ZAKHEIM, UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (COMPTROLLER) AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; WILLIAM H. REED, DIRECTOR, DEFENSE CONTRACT AUDIT AGENCY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; REAR ADMIRAL DAVID NASH, USN (RET.), DIRECTOR, Iraq PROGRAM MANAGEMENT OFFICE, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY
LOCATION: 2154 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.
REP. TOM DAVIS (R-VA): A quorum being present the committee will come to order. We meet today to look into the complex task of coordinating contracts amid the chaos and challenges of rebuilding Iraq. Even before the conclusion of major military actions there were plans for a major effort to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure and government.
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REP. JOHN CARTER (R-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just got back here a little while ago from going over there with the chairman and I want to say that I think I saw miraculous things happening in Iraq and I was very impressed with everything I saw. And there's no better group of fighting men and women on the face of the Earth than the ones I got to talk with and have supper with. I'm very proud to be associated with them.
I've been hearing a lot of stuff here, and my background makes me listen to those magic words.
And I hear words like, well, so and so-it has been found that so and so took a bribe. It has been found that such and such, so and so-I'm asking-my first question is, are there any actual people who are supposed to be finders of fact who actually found that this happened. It sounds more like this should be said someone has alleged these things have taken place. Isn't that a better use of the description than the finding. It may be as clear as it can be, but nobody has actually made a finding that would cause-say that bad behavior has taken place, there we allegations that had taken place.
MR. ZAKHEIM: I think in the main that's absolutely correct, and we've tried to stress that. But even an investigation is simply to look into what really went on. It's an investigation of allegations. You're absolutely right. With respect to the so-called kickbacks, that was presented to us by KBR and even that's being investigated.
REP. CARTER: And it rightfully should be investigated before anybody is punished. I never sent anybody to prison because somebody alleged that somebody did something. We generally went out and found out, had a finder of fact, make a finding that they actually did that, like a jury or a judge or whatever procedures there may be in the federal government.
MR. ZAKHEIM: Due process is part of our process.
REP. CARTER: All of these things that we've heard about here today, including a question that was raised just a few minutes ago about an allegation that someone said-that someone said that you're supposed to-we don't worry about the cost, because there's the cost-plus contract. That's being looked into. Is that correct?
MR. ZAKHEIM: That's correct, sir.
REP. CARTER: And, in fact, all the other allegations that have been raised here today, all those are turned over to the proper authorities to be investigated.
MR. ZAKHEIM: Absolutely.
REP. CARTER: And is anyone at the table here in charge of those investigations?
MR. ZAKHEIM: In some cases, yes, when we're doing audit investigations. Bill Reed here does that, and the inspector general is not at this table, but he certainly ticks over those as well.
REP. CARTER: But those then add to the audit investigation, which there is someone at this table responsible for. Would you say that's the sandbag? Is that a current investigation being carried on as we speak?
MR. REED: The audit process is alive and well, and being pursued vigorously, with the support of all the contracting officers involved in these contracts.
REP. CARTER: So we're doing the job-you're the only ones that can speak for this investigation. And we're doing the job that we're supposed to do? We're currently looking into the allegations that relate to the audit investigation?
MR. REED: All the contract audit issues are being pursued aggressively.
REP. CARTER: So we're doing out job on that?
MR. REED: Yes, sir.
REP. CARTER: We've turned the others over to the proper authorities to be looked into. Does anyone have any knowledge that these proper authorities are not looking into these allegations?
MR. REED: Nope.
REP. CARTER: So would everybody agree that as far as you know, they are currently investigating these things at a reasonable timetable to investigate these kinds of allegations?
MR. ZAKHEIM: That's correct.
REP. CARTER: That's kind of what I assumed was right, but the sounds that were going around here didn't make it sound that way. Mr. Ruppersberger's contract question he was talking about, that's a concern to me too, because I was over there, I met those troops, and I was told the same thing. As soon as we get these guys geared up like we are, these guys are going to get out on the field and they're going to do a good job. And so I also agree with Mr. Ruppersberger that we need to get those people supplied.
And the kind of-and I don't know the particulars of that contract. But when we start talking about the first initial contracts that are involved over there in Iraq, basically the military says we have a theater, a dangerous theater that has a lot of contingencies that we can't predict exactly what those contingencies are. And that's why we go through this type of contracting process, which we're calling a cost-plus contract. And if I'm wrong, correct me, because I sure can be. Is that right?
GEN. McMANUS: Sir, for contingency planning purposes, we have a LOGCAP contract in reach for those unknowns as they may evolve. That's the point I make.
REP. CARTER: And this same thing-this is one of those unknowns that has evolved. So what can we do to make this an emergency situation to get these supplies to these troops that we've been training?
GEN. KERN: Well, as I said, Congressman, we are looking at alternative sources of funding so that we can get the money more quickly because the contract process takes what it takes, and it's got to be done properly, or else we'd be answering questions as to why it was not done properly. But there are alternative sources and we are looking carefully at that to get the money so that we can get that equipment to those Iraqis, because you're absolutely right, they're being shot at every bit as much as our people, if not more.
REP. CARTER: Well, I guess what I'm saying is this wouldn't be a real smart idea to just let this out for bids for the next six months and try to figure out who gets the highest bid. We've got an emergency and we've got to deal with it.
GEN. KERN: And we're going to move on it.
GEN. : Congressman, I met with General Sanchez on that specifically this week on how we're going to get through that. We are going to move out.
REP. CARTER: Thank you, General.