Continuing her fight for better oversight and accountability for defense contracting, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill stressed today how important it is for the military to consider contracting as a vital national security concern when conducting the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). The QDR is a review conducted every four years by the Pentagon to lay out defense strategy for the next twenty years.
In a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCaskill, who chairs the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, said that while contractors play an important role in the United States mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, there continues to be a lack of oversight and accountability of defense contracting. In addition, McCaskill flagged her concern that the Pentagon, which publishes the QDR, continues to mistakenly overlook the issue of long-term planning for contractors when making broader strategic decisions.
"We will never again have a contingency operation where our military is really executing logistics support. It is questionable whether or not we will ever again have a military that is executing some of the important missions that must be undertaken in a conflict like Afghanistan. The best example I can give you is police training," McCaskill said to the hearing witnesses, former Defense Secretary Bill Perry and former National Security Advisor Steve Hadley, who chaired an independent review of the QDR. She continued, "Clearly training the Army and police is one of the primary missions we have in [Afghanistan], yet I can give you example after example of failure of contracting in this regard."
McCaskill won inclusion of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2011 (NDAA), which sets policy for the Department of Defense, that would require the QDR to look at how contracting impacts defense policy. The amendment was adopted in the version of the legislation that passed out of committee in late May.