The U.S. State Department recognizes the importance of contract oversight and management, especially when engaging in conflict-torn environments like Iraq and Afghanistan, and is actively working to improve its oversight measures and contracting policies, according to a senior department official.
Patrick Kennedy, the U.S. undersecretary of state for management, outlined in his June 6 testimony before the U.S. Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan some examples of how the department is working to improve its contract oversight capacity in line with the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review:
- Elevating the status of contract oversight personnel.
- Linking oversight duties to performance evaluation.
- Expanding training of contract oversight personnel.
- Elevating accountability for planing and oversight of large contracts.
At the same time, Kennedy highlighted the impact of budget cuts on the department’s contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. He noted that because of reduced diplomatic and consular program budget for Iraq, the department had to delay some contract awards while funding others in intervals. The State Department also had to realign some funds in order to meet contract requirements in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said.
Kennedy also updated in the commission on the status of State Department contracting in support of transitions in U.S. engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the country is preparing to drawn down troops and boost its civilian assistance program.
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