Weeks after opening her own bipartisan investigation into the matter, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill-Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight-today released the following statement after a federal watchdog opened a criminal investigation into a contract settlement between the Army Corps of Engineers and DynCorp International Inc.:
"Taxpayer dollars are going up in smoke across Afghanistan and we need to find out who's responsible and hold them accountable. It's unacceptable, and it's just more evidence of the desperate need to overhaul wartime contracting."
In November, McCaskill and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) sent a letter demanding answers about a settlement from the Army Corps (a copy of the Senators' letter is available on McCaskill's website, HERE). An October report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) showed that the Army Corps agreed to pay DynCorp, one of the largest U.S. contractors in Afghanistan, more than $70 million (97% of the contracts' value) under contracts to construct a garrison for the Afghan National Army despite construction problems so severe that several buildings are uninhabitable. SIGAR John F. Sopko today sent a letter to the Corps informing them that Sopko's office opening an investigation into actions taken by persons involved in negotiating the settlement.
The U.S. Senate recently voted to approve McCaskill's sweeping, bipartisan overhaul of wartime contracting, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Among other provisions, McCaskill's legislation would prohibit funding for reconstruction and development in military contingencies by the Defense Department, State Department, or the U.S. Agency for International Development until those agencies conduct enhanced sustainability assessments that account for the impact on the host country's population and its need for and ability to maintain such projects.
McCaskill also introduced legislation last year that would strip funds for large-scale construction projects in Afghanistan and redirect those resources for use in the construction of roads and bridges in the United States.