Part I | Part II | Part III (coming soon)
Much of the time U.S. governmental investigations and hearings into whatever is the current controversy are highly scripted affairs. Congressional hearings in particular usually have a certain kabuki drama or classic Greek play quality about them, insofar as everything that occurs is highly scripted and predetermined. Everyone knows the questions, and the answers to them, before they are even asked.
But, every now and then, one gets a rare moment of unscripted candor. In the recent hearing of the Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC) on the ArmorGroup scandal in Afghanistan we had several such moments. And for those who are patient enough to watch or read the transcripts such moments are truly revelatory.
But before going any further let me note that, and no disrespect to other U.S. governmental agencies, I consider the CWC to be the one U.S. group in several years to be doing truly worthy work on this issue. They start with the premise that private military and security contractors are necessary. As CWC co‐chair, Chris Shays, said in the first panel, “Contractors have provided critical support to American military operations since the Revolutionary War. More than 250,000 contract employees are working in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than 1,000 have died in the line of duty. They bring special skills to bear, free up warfighters for combat missions and represent a vital resource for contingency needs. Our focus today is, therefore, on understanding how we can improve this system and make it work.”
They also acknowledge that the current situation with regard to oversight and accountability is seriously flawed. Their interim report issued earlier this year is highly worth reading
Like my previous post, what I have done below is to copy various excerpts from the hearing. Each excerpt is italicized and indented. Each excerpt is usually followed by my comment in bold. Sometimes I make observations. Sometimes I ask questions. In some cases I feel the excerpt is so fascinating in its own right that it stands on its own and I make no comment.
PANELS I, II, and III OF A HEARING OF THE COMMISSION ON WARTIME CONTRACTING; THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND SECURITY CONTRACTOR MISCONDUCT
September 14, 2009
PANEL I OF A HEARING OF THE COMMISSION ON WARTIME CONTRACTING;
SUBJECT: THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND SECURITY CONTRACTOR MISCONDUCT;
CHAIRED BY: CHRISTOPHER SHAYS AND MICHAEL THIBAULT;
WITNESS: PATRICK F. KENNEDY, UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR MANAGEMENT, DEPARTMENT OF STATE;
LOCATION: 2247 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.
D.C. TIME: 9:31 A.M. EDT