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Expanding and Improving the Army’s Contracting Oversight

April 6, 2009

The operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the U.S. Army’s largest expeditionary operations since Desert Shield/Desert Storm in the early 1990s. From the outset, the demand for Army forces exceeded the available supply, especially for combat support and combat service support functions. Unprecedented numbers of civilian contractors have been hired to supply these vital services to Soldiers. In August 2007, the Secretary of the Army created the Gansler Commission to gather lessons learned from this experience with contractors on the battlefield and recommend any needed changes. The commission found that the Army did not have the necessary structures and processes in place to oversee such a large and rapid expansion in the contracting workforce.

The Army has completed 21 of the Army-specific recommendations made by the Gansler Commission, including restructuring contracting oversight organizations and improving the training and career development of contracting personnel. (The commission’s other suggestions were policy or legislative changes requiring Department of Defense or congressional action.) Implementation of the final recommendation—adding 1,400 personnel to the Army’s contracting workforce— is underway, with completion expected in the next three to five years.