Facts of Life

By Sebastian Sprenger / January 22, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Pentagon acquisition chief Asthon Carter this week vowed to bring improvements to the area of contingency contracting, which has seen unprecedented activity since the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003.

"It is a fact of life that for every soldier we field, approximately one contractor also joins the effort," Carter said at a conference sponsored by the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis and Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Missteps of the past eight years, which have included overcharges to the government and lax oversight over venders, were partly caused by the fact that officials kept thinking contractors' heavy involvement in U.S. military operations would be a short-lived phenomenon, Carter said.