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Inherently governmental: the debate continues
Wednesday - 6/23/2010, 7:24pm EDT
"When it comes to security in war zones, what is considered 'inherently governmental?' What can be contracted to private businesses? And is it pointless to even ask?
"The federal Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan has been looking at the role, and oversight, of more than 40,000 private security contractors working in warzones.
"Michael Thibault, commission co-chair, told Federal News Radio that after the latest round of two days of hearings, two things are clear: First, there's 'no bright, shiny line' between what should be considered tasks closely associated and those critical to government. Secondly, while he said debate is critical, 'right now it's a world of private security contractors.'
"'In the present day,' Thibault told the Federal Drive, 'it's clear it's an impossibility to back out the private security contractors and back in federal or government employees of any stripe."
"He said Congress, for the most part, seems to understand the nuances of what the commission is finding and the understanding is growing.
"The next big focus of the commission will be looking at reconstruction contracts. Thibault said there are 'huge, several hundred million dollar projects... all over Afghanistan.' The commission will examine the contracting process and whether they are being properly managed."
I played highlights of Monday's hearing on the show today; you can watch the entire panel of government officials in the video below. You can see Co-Commissioner Thibault's opening statement and the second panel, featuring leaders of private security companies, by clicking here.