© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

McCaskill wraps up trip to Middle East

Sen. McCaskill, with troops from the Missouri 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry (photo from McCaskill's office)

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.


Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.