McCaskill wraps up trip to Middle East
By Adam Allington, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is wrapping up a three-day tour of the Middle East, including stops in Iraq and Kuwait.
The Missouri Democrat wants a special Senate Delegation to investigate defense department spending practices.
McCaskill says the military has made some improvements toward curbing the kind of "cost-plus" contracts she blames for rampant overspending.
Still, she says the concept of fiscal accountability is a relatively low priority among military leadership. "I didn't realize until I got over here that the inspector generals within the different branches of the military really aren't inspector generals-they're like assistants to the command," McCaskill said, in a phone call from the Middle East.
"In the rest of government an inspector general is supposed to be independent."
McCaskill notes that the military has started drafting more flat-fee contracts. A Pentagon census estimates the United States is employing at least 120,000 civilian contractors in Iraq.
"If we are going to continue to utilize contractors in this fashion, which I believe is the most likely thing that's going to occur over the coming years, we've got to figure out how to do this better--because our country can't afford to waste this money," McCaskill added.
While in Iraq McCaskill also met with Army General David Patraeus and conducted a town hall meeting with Missouri troops.