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National Journal - Tierney Introduces Legislation on Wartime Contracting Accountability

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Congressman John Tierney -- Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee's Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations -- has introduced legislation aimed at reducing waste and fraud by the Defense Department and State Department as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Tierney says the Oversight and Accountability in Wartime Contracting Act would:

Increase oversight of federal contractors in warzones
Reduce wasteful practice of non-competitive bidding for wartime contracts
Curtail funding for projects in foreign nations that are unsustainable without an ongoing American assistance.
"U.S. forces have been in Afghanistan for more than a decade," Tierney said. "We have lost more than 1,900 honorable men and women and spent over $470 billion. Unfortunately, the National Security Subcommittee has repeatedly found evidence of waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars in wartime contracting, including in the Subcommittee's ongoing investigation of the food distribution contract in Afghanistan. That is why I am introducing the Oversight and Accountability in Wartime Contracting Act, to build on what we have learned during our hearings, investigations, and recommendations made by the Commission on Wartime Contracting, and to curb these wasteful contracting practices."

Key provisions of the bill seek to reduce the government's reliance on sole-source contracts in direct response to problems uncovered during the subcommittee's investigation of the multi-billion dollar substance prime vendor contract in Afghanistan.

The bill limits certain types of contracts to one year to prevent the government from being locked in to non-competitive contracts. It also requires agency heads to approve sole-source contracts over $100 million, increases reporting to Congress and enlists the Inspectors General community to annually review and report on non-competitive contracts.

The bill is also aimed implementing the findings of the Commission on Wartime Contracting, which Tierney helped establish, "by reducing unsustainable projects by requiring certifications of a host nation's capability to utilize and maintain costly capital projects, incentivizing the development and deployment of experienced contingency contracting personnel, and requiring foreign contractors to consent to jurisdiction in U.S. courts to avoid the difficulties of pursuing legal claims in foreign courts."

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