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Issue Position: National Security and the Military - Keeping the Pentagon Accountable

Issue Position

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From her seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Claire conducts aggressive oversight of spending at the Pentagon, which has been historically wasteful. Claire further pursues oversight of Pentagon spending from her seat as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight (SOCO), which is part of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC). She has used this position to doggedly pursue waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars in contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.

At the Senate Armed Services Committee, Claire frequently asks hard questions of Pentagon officials. She has followed up on her questions with targeted legislation to change how the Pentagon buys everything, from major military equipment and services, to transporting fuel and providing meals to troops.

Making good on a keynote promise to the people of Missouri, Claire and Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced legislation to create a modern-day Truman Commission, which examined the failings in World War II wartime contracts. Claire's legislation became law in 2007, creating the Commission on Wartime Contracting. The eight-member Commission is currently investigating Iraq and Afghanistan contracts as part of its broad review of wartime contracting practices.

Claire has also won passage of numerous pieces of legislation addressing contractor waste, fraud and abuse. A provision championed by Claire requiring the establishment of a new, centralized database on contractor past performance became law in 2008. The new database will work to prevent "bad actor" contractors from getting future government contracts.

In 2009, Claire became aware of the tragic story of an American servicemember, LTC Dominic "Rocky" Baragona, who was killed when his Humvee was struck by a Kuwaiti company's truck. The Kuwaiti company, a contractor of the U.S. Army, has since refused to appear in a U.S. court to answer for the wrongful death. Outraged by this injustice to an American hero and his family, Claire has introduced legislation that would require foreign contractors of the U.S. government to appear in U.S. courts when they harm Americans. The legislation, the LTC Dominic "Rocky" Baragona Justice for American Heroes Harmed by Contractors Act (S.526), is being considered by HSGAC.

Claire has also won passage of provisions in law to require improvements in the management of service contracts, to limit the problematic overuse of undefinitized contracts (contracts awarded before the terms of the contracts are even finalized), to limit the award of sole-source, no-bid contracts and to require better checks, balances and controls for security contractors in war zones. She has also become a leader in reforming how the Department of Defense (DoD) buys major weapons, such as new Navy ships, and was a strong supporter of the Weapons Systems Acquisitions Reform Act of 2009, which is now law and includes several specific provisions Claire individually championed.

Claire also believes whistleblowers can provide crucial eyes and ears where government cannot always investigate and has worked to substantially improve the rights and protections of whistleblowers at DoD contractors in order to better protect those who share her interest in ferreting out fraud, waste and abuse. In 2007 and 2008, she won passage into law of provisions to better protect whistleblowers at defense contractors.

Claire firmly believes that holding government contractors and federal agencies accountable for the way they spend money will help save the taxpayers money, and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse will help provide America's men and women in uniform with the resources they need in a fiscally responsible way. In the Senate Armed Services Committee and in SOCO, Claire will continue her fight to reign in the abuses in defense spending, and particularly in defense contracting.


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