The Pentagon’s use of no-bid contracts to defense industry corporations for war goods and weapons has tripled since 9/11, despite promises to reform the controversial practice.
After pledges and orders from President Barack Obama and Defense Department leaders to mitigate the wasteful practice, no measurable change has occurred. In 2003, no-bid contracts were a $50 billion problem, but have ballooned to $140 billion in 2011.
The explosion in war spending and the continued military buildup after the 2003 invasion of Iraq led to a disregard for costs and accounting at the Pentagon. U.S. officials refused or could not say how much money the wars were costing taxpayers, but through Freedom of Information Act requests the Center for Public Integrity discovered billions of dollars were being doled out to huge defense firms, like Halliburton.
The Pentagon, in some cases, simply modified previously existing contracts for unrelated goods and services instead of opening up a new bidding process to competition, sometimes adding tens of millions of dollars in costs and higher profits for defense corporations. The Center for Public Integrity is releasing an investigative report on the no-bid practice.
The independent Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan also is about to report that one in every six contracting and grant dollars spent in Iraq and Afghanistan has been wasted, according to published accounts.
In a post 9/11 environment of paranoia and war fever, the Pentagon and other contracting agencies said the practice was justified because the need to troops was too urgent. After ten long years, that remains their excuse.