Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement today concerning the report of the Commission on Army Acquisition and Program Management in Expeditionary Operations: 

    “I want to thank the Commission ably led by Chairman Jacques Gansler and his team of commissioners for their independent assessment of the problems associated with the current Army acquisition system during expeditionary operations.  Congress will seriously consider the Commission’s recommendations, particularly those that may require legislative action.  Several of these issues are addressed in legislation pending before the conference between the House and the Senate on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.  The Commission's findings confirm the need for action on these issues.

    “We can have the finest military force in the world, but our troops won’t be able to get the job done if we can’t provide the tools they need in theater.  The contracting fraud and abuse that has been reported in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan cannot be tolerated.  All of us should be outraged by the criminal conduct that has come to light, but such fraud and abuse is also a direct threat to our military personnel and the missions we ask them to conduct.  The Commission has found that a contributing factor in these abuses is the lack of people with the training and preparation needed to perform contracting work while deployed in support of our troops.  We will work with the Department of Army to correct this problem as soon as possible.

    “The Commission’s report confirms my sense that the problems are systemic as well as individual, and the fact that acquisition reform must be a priority.  The House Armed Services Committee has held hearings and Congress has taken some steps to bring greater accountability to the contracting process.  Creating a trained and qualified acquisition workforce is key.  Otherwise, we put our forces in the field at risk.”