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Warfighter Support: A Cost Comparison of Using State Department Employees versus Contractors for Security Services in Iraq
William M. Solis (au)
The U.S. government's reliance on contractors, including the State Dept.'s and Dept. of Defense's (DOD) use of private security contractors in Iraq, has been well documented. Many of the challenges the government faces using contractors in Iraq have been examined, including issues related to the scope of private security contractors' activities, the challenges in providing sufficient oversight, the appropriate accountability processes, and difficulties in conducting background screenings of foreign national contractor employees. What has not been so well examined is the comparative cost of using civilian employees or military members versus the cost of using contractors, particularly private security contractors, during contingency operations such as Operation Iraqi Freedom. An Aug. 2008 report on contractor support in Iraq conducted a comparison of one contractor's costs to provide private security services in Iraq versus estimated military costs. The report concluded that for the 1-year period beginning June 11, 2004, the costs of the private contractor did not differ greatly from the costs of having a comparable military unit performing similar functions. The Comptroller General performed this review under his authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative. For this engagement, congressional interest specifically focused on determining the costs to DOD and the State Dept. of using private security contractors for security services versus using federal employees to provide the same services. This report focused on the comparison of the State Dept.'s costs to use private security contractors -- to perform both personal and static security functions -- as opposed to using State Department employees to perform those same functions. Tables.
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