Washington, DC – Today Subcommittee Chairman Marty Meehan and Ranking Member Todd Akin, of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee (O&I) of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after the subcommittee held a hearing on the role of private contractors in training the Iraqi Security Forces.
“Today, we took a hard look at the problematic interagency processes that have played a part in driving the development of Iraqi Security Forces. With today’s government and outside expert witnesses, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee took a big step towards shedding light on how these agencies have used contractors as part of their mission. We also began to untangle the procedures for authority, management, and oversight of the contractors who are directly engaged in training the Iraqi Police Service.
“This is a critical issue, but the picture is not yet complete. Capable Iraqi police are a necessity if the rule of law is to be established in Iraq, but the reports we have heard from the field portray the development of the police as a significant challenge.
“Organizations such as the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction have reported major problems with the Department of State’s (DoS) management of the police training contract. Today, we heard more about the steps DoS is taking to correct those problems, and the Department of Defense (DoD) provided us with essential information about how they are carrying out the broader contracting mission to support the Iraqi Security Forces.
“While we are pleased with the support DoD provided for this hearing, concerns remain with their lack of responsiveness throughout this process. We will continue to uphold our congressional prerogative to request witnesses and information as we pursue our Constitutional responsibility to oversee the nation’s defense.
“Despite this challenge, our work goes on. Our subcommittee looks forward to resuming our aggressive oversight schedule in mid-May, once the Committee has completed its authorization of the Defense Authorization bill. We have completed an interim report and are continuing to work on a report expected to be released at the end of June.”