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Counternarcotics contracts lack oversight

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Poor oversight of federal counternarcotics contracts calls to question how billions of tax dollars were spent, a congressional report shows.

Neither the State or Defense departments, which award most counternarcotics contracts, have adequate systems to track and evaluate contract data, the June 7 report states.

The report was prepared for Sen. Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the Senate subcommittee on contracting oversight, after a May 2010 hearing revealed neither the State nor Defense departments could provide information about the contracts awarded for fighting drug production in eight countries south of the U.S. border.

“Without adequate oversight and management we are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we’re getting in return,” McCaskill said in a news release. “As we increase our counternarcotics contracting in Afghanistan, we can’t make these same mistakes again.”
The lack of oversight has led to inadequate competition, poor recordkeeping, and deficient transparency, the report states.

Annual spending on counternarcotics contracts in Latin America rose 32 percent over the five years reviewed in the report, from $482 million in 2005 to $636 million in 2009.

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