Magazine article National Defense

Washington Pulse

Magazine article National Defense

Washington Pulse

Article excerpt

COULD COMPETITION AVERT ACCOUNTING FIASCOS?

The seemingly endless accounting scandals associated with Halliburton-the contractor in charge of feeding troops and providing overall logistics services in Iraq-could have been prevented if the Army had not restricted industry competition so rigorously, lamented a former commander of U.S. Army logistics operations.

When the Army started the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program in 1992, it never imagined the workload would get so huge and difficult to oversee, the general said. The program was restricted to a single contractor, who would be selected competitively. LOGCAP contracts typically run five years. Even though the Army can re-compete the work from year to year, once a LOGCAP contractor has set up support operations in the field it's very disruptive to bring in a new firm, especially during a shooting war.

The Army may have to revisit the LOGCAP policy and bring in more competition, the former commander said.

IRAQ WILL BE A 'LONG MARATHON WAR'

Don't expect a U.S. exodus from Iraq in the near future, the Army's vice chief of staff, Gen. Richard A. Cody, told an industry gathering in Washington, D.C.

As U.S. forces prepare for their fourth rotation in Iraq since the war began, a fifth already is being planned. "This is a long marathon war," Cody said. The war is being fought at the company and platoon levels, he said. Every night, U.S. soldiers in Iraq conduct 1,800 patrols. U.S. deaths have exceeded 1,000, and improvised explosive devices have wounded thousands more.

"While we were sitting here, we buried three fine young officers," Cody told the gathering. "This war is taking its toll."

U.S. UNPREPARED FOR 4TH GEN WARFARE

Unless the Defense Department gets serious about training for "4th generation warfare," U.S. troops will find it tough to outsmart enemies, said a counterterrorism expert.

In 4th generation warfare, where the other side refuses to stand up and fight fair, U.S. troops must learn how to think like the enemy, said Kelly McCann, who runs private security operations for corporate clients. The defense industry also needs to get the message that high-tech is not always better. "The interface between the person and the equipment has got to be dumbed down, made super-simple," said McCann. …

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