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v15_2004c - Outsourcing Post-conflict Operations Designing...

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21 Outsourcing Post-conflict Operations: Designing a System for Contract Management and Oversight Journal of Public and International Affairs, Volume 15/Spring 2004 Copyright © 2004, the Trustees of Princeton University http://www.princeton.edu/~jpia 7 2 Blake W. Mobley is a Master of Public Policy candidate at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University ([email protected]). O UTSOURCING P OST - CONFLICT O PERATIONS : D ESIGNING A S YSTEM FOR C ONTRACT M ANAGEMENT AND O VERSIGHT Blake W. Mobley Over the past ten years the United States has relied on private contractors to support military forces and rehabilitate national infrastructures in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Though contractors are essential to such post-conflict operations, the U.S. government’s management and oversight of outsourced support remains critically deficient. As the United States builds its institutional capacity for long-term post-conflict reconstruction, it will need to outsource tasks to specialized private firms and non-profit organizations more strategically, efficiently, and transparently. This paper assesses the ramifica- tions of post-conflict outsourcing in four sections. The first section provides a brief history of outsourcing in military and reconstruction operations. The second analyzes the benefits of private contracting arrangements. The third considers pitfalls of the current U.S. outsourcing system, which include inefficiencies as well as more serious security threats. The final section con- cludes with policy recommendations to improve management systems in the context of post-conflict operations.
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22 Blake W. Mobley I NTRODUCTION In the last ten years the United States has undertaken post-conflict recon- struction operations in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Even a cursory analysis of these missions reveals glaring deficiencies in the U.S. government’s institutional capacity for post-conflict reconstruc- tion. One of the most striking deficits has been the U.S. government’s inability to adequately manage outsourced and contracted support op- erations during post-conflict reconstruction. Since the U.S. government lacks both the personnel and the competency to handle reconstruction on its own, it has relied on private contractors to undertake some of the most critical reconstruction operations in the last decade. As the United States augments its institutional capacity for post-conflict reconstruction operations, it will need to improve its capacity to strategically, efficiently, and transparently outsource tasks to specialized private firms and non- profit organizations. This paper addresses three main questions: 1) How has the United States benefited from outsourcing in past reconstruction efforts? 2) What have these experiences revealed about the dangers and disadvantages of con- tracting in quasi-war zones? 3) How might these insights help to enhance the U.S. government’s institutional capacity for post-conflict reconstruc- tion outsourcing? The paper concludes with policy recommendations to
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  • Fall '11
  • GaryMoncrief
  • United States Department of Defense, United States Army, CONTRACT MANAGEMENT, Contract Management and Oversight

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