For a Kinder, Gentler Society
War for Profit: Army Contracting vs. Supporting the Troops

  • Charles M. Smith
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War for Profit: Army Contracting vs. Supporting the Troops.
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"WASHINGTON — The Army official who managed the Pentagon’s largest contract in Iraq says he was ousted from his job when he refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR..."

--- James Risen wrote in the New York Times, June 17, 2008.  His article said:

Army Overseer Tells of Ouster Over KBR Stir

Ever since KBR emerged as the dominant contractor in Iraq, critics have questioned whether the company has benefited from its political connections to the Bush administration. Until last year, KBR was known as Kellogg, Brown and Root and was a subsidiary of Halliburton, the Texas oil services giant, where Vice President Dick Cheney previously served as chief executive.
When told of Mr. Smith’s account, Representative Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said it “is startling, and it confirms the committee’s worst fears. KBR has repeatedly gouged the taxpayer, and the Bush administration has looked the other way every time."

Mr. Smith, a civilian employee of the Army for 31 years, spent his entire career at the Rock Island Arsenal, the Army’s headquarters for much of its contracting work, near Davenport, Iowa. He said he had waited to speak out until after he retired in February.

$40 billion is a lot to waste, but with team work, it can be done. The author describes his experience as the Army manager responsible for the LOGCAP program for supply contracts from 2001 to 2004. This included travels to Iraq during the war and his removal from the post when he refused to continue awarding contracts to KBR when other outfits could clearly perform better.

The book also analyzes problems with the Army approach to contracts in today's military environment, and with congressional oversight of the program.


About the Author

Charles M. Smith worked for the Army for 31 years as a contracting officer and manager. He has also worked in private industry and now runs his own consulting company. In 2004 the Department of Defense awarded him the Defense Distinguished Civilian Service medal for his work on the LOGCAP program. This is the highest award any DoD employee can receive. A certified Professional Contracts Manager, Mr. Smith has a degree in Philosophy and Economics from Washington & Lee University and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government  at  Harvard University.

About the Book

This is a first-person account of the LOGCAP contract in Iraq and Afghanistan, written by the civilian who was in charge from 2002 to 2004. The book reveals Defense procurement issues in contracting and logistics that undermined US servicemen...

This is a first-person account of the LOGCAP contract in Iraq and Afghanistan, written by the civilian who was in charge from 2002 to 2004. The book reveals Defense procurement issues in contracting and logistics that undermined US servicemen and women while needlessly throwing away public funds. It provides facts and analysis to inform the public and to bolster the many loyal and hard-working government officials and employees who seek to do the job right.

By providing a first-person narrative of the author’s actions and experiences, the book is also aimed at a more general audience of those who wish to understand our participation in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The author also intends to provide information and analysis concerning the workings of government agencies and Congress, of interest to those who work in government policy.

No other such account has been published. The first chapter sets the scene, laying out the background of the author’s career and work on behalf of US military efforts, especially in Iraq. Subsequent chapters illustrate specific issues in contractor relations that resulted in unsafe conditions for the troops and blew millions of taxpayer dollars. The author speaks with first-hand knowledge of KBR problems with transportation, electricity, food and water. Employees who tried to keep things on track were turned away and those who sought to rein in the free-for-all were sacked.

Some of these issues have had considerable press attention over the course of the war, but press releases cannot convey the sense of conflict as responsible citizens struggled to provide the right services in an environment that was set up against them.

Other chapters are analytic and provide information about, and evaluation of, Army logistics, Congressional oversight and whether letting contracts for this kind of support is appropriate at all. These chapters discuss the kind of problems that interest military policy leaders, defense analysts, public policy analysts and scholars in these areas.


Reviews
The Guardian: How private firms have cashed in on the climate of fear since 9/11 | More »
The New York Times: Mr. Smith Goes to War With KBR | More »

Pages 284
Year: 2012
BISAC: HIS027110 HISTORY / Military / United States
BISAC: HIS027170 HISTORY / Military / Iraq War (2003-)
BISAC: HIS027190 HISTORY / Military / Afghan War (2001-)
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-927-8
Price: USD 23.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-928-5
Price: USD 33.95
eBook
ISBN: 978-0-87586-929-2
Price: USD 23.95
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