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Vern Edwards

What's wrong with us?

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Maybe it's as bad as it sounds.  Maybe the contractor was really that terrible and government oversight really that bad.  But, in my devil's advocate role: I note a FFP contract in a war zone for which a failing government is supposed to provide GFM.  How is that ever going to end well?

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How is that ever going to end well?

That's up the cognizant commander to figure out. That's why he's got the stars.

What are you, some kind of defense attorney? Mistakes were made? Mission impossible?

Maybe that's how things are seen in the State Department, but those folks are in the Army. Some people screwed up. They need to own it and fix it.

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We're reading an IG report through the prism of a newspaper article, so I'm not going to add fuel to this fire from a position of ignorance.  There are plenty of politicians who'll play that roll.  And if I had the IG report in my hand, that would still be the start of inquiry, not the end.

I admit there could be serious misfeasance or malfeasance.  And, if so, heads should roll.  But, I'm also interested in the constraints each of the major players were operating under.  Without understanding those, you can't really fix the problem.  Was the procurement strategy doomed from the start?  If so, what political or ideological limitations or blinders drove the decision makers?

Was the problem strictly post-award?  Did it start off well, then go downhill with the larger situation?  Or was it bad from the start?  How was it allowed to fester?  Can we expect that a different cast of US characters would've resulted in a much better outcome? Too often, I think the answer to that last question is, no.

My suspicion is this was meant to be the one big contract that was meant to satisfy a universe of requirements.  These fail often, but we keep going back to that well.  Why?  

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1 hour ago, David Bodner said:

We're reading an IG report through the prism of a newspaper article,

What do you mean, "through the prism of a newspaper article"? Didn't you read the IG report? Did you actually read the story? I ask because it contains a link to the report. Why are you commenting if you didn't read the report?

DOD awarded a contract, and DOD was responsible for its administration. According to the IG there were problems in acquisition planning and in contract administration. Things were bad from the start. Yes,it was a war zone. Ever served in one? I have. Life in such places is difficult, DCMA faced serious challenges in administering the contract. But the damning finding in the report is this:

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SIGAR found that ACC [Army Contracting Command] did not use all of the resources available to it to ensure that it only paid AISS for acceptable contract performance, particularly in the initial years of the contract when AISS was issued numerous corrective action requests for failing to meet contract requirements. One option available to DOD to address poor contractor performance is to withhold payments if the contractor fails to comply with delivery or reporting provisions of the contract. However, this was only undertaken once as of June 2016. DOD did repeatedly warn AISS of possible contract termination if AISS failed to correct its failures to meet contract requirements, but no contract termination actions were ever undertaken.

The IG has looked into the matter and made its findings. DOD has concurred in the IG's recommendations. See the report, Appendix II. DOD has taken ownership of the problem and has told the IG that it has begun to take corrective action to fix it. Planning for a new contract is underway.

Lesson learned: This might not have happened had there been better planning and oversight.

By the way--I have not called for any heads to roll.

Case closed (for now).

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I'd read this article in a hardcopy newspaper a couple of days ago, and I missed the link in the Post article you linked to.

One has to wonder why no T4D, though that's easier said than done, especially when the combat capability of an allied army is directly linked to the services being rendered.  If a T4D could be upheld, there were 139 other offerors ready to step in. http://government-contracts.insidegov.com/l/8528309/W52P1J11C0015 Could one of them have been able to jump in and get the job done at least as well as AISS in a timely enough manner so as not to deleteriously affect the Afghan army?

I like reading IG reports.  But, I'm always left thinking that reality is a bit more messy than their reports portray.  Sure, DoD has concurred and taken ownership.  But without asking the question, "why do smart people do stupid things?" we're left fixing the current problem without preventing the next one.

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A T4D might have been difficult for many reasons. It's really a last resort, for when all hope is lost. But why pay for unacceptable work? Yes, reality is messy, but if wartime contracting is what you do for a living, then...

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