Briefly from the: Washington Post:
The Defense Department may not have enough staff to adequately monitor the performance of contractors hired to build and run weapons programs, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. The Pentagon’s workforce devoted to weapons acquisition and oversight declined by 38 percent, to 60,000, from 1989 to 2002, the GAO said. The workforce remained steady even as contract obligations reached $270 billion in 2005, up from about $130 billion in 2000, the agency said. "Increased demands on the acquisition workforce have led to vulnerabilities in contract pricing and competition and in the selection of the most appropriate contracting techniques," according to the report, which was requested as part of this year’s defense budget to assess the Pentagon’s vulnerability to fraud, waste and abuse.
From the perspective of certain offices, it is not too inconvienent to allow poor oversight. This isn’t really surprising however. In 2003, the GAO faulted the Pentagon for not developing plans to replace civilians in wartime, as prescribed by the DOD itself in 1990.
The need for civilian contractors to assist the military is clearly established, albeit unfortunately. Increasing dependence from outsourcing food and laundry services to logistics to has led to outright subing out for boots on the ground in the form of the private security contractors in Iraq today (and lest we forget wings in the air with the "pilots" of the larger UAVs now carrying weapons). Failing oversight is convienent when obfuscation of projected military power is politically necessitated.
What is the cost of the Iraq War? The cost to the US military is significant and not quantifiable in dollars…