It’s Time to End the Swamp's Bad Government Contracting
Also Should Be Targeted
for Swamp Drainage We’ll say it again - because it remains empirically true, and vitally important going forward. The biggest mistake Donald Trump has made and continues to make - is allowing so many Barack Obama and other assorted Swamp Creature holdovers to remain in Washington, D.C. It’s tough to Drain the Swamp - with so many remainder Creatures plugging the holes you’re drilling to do so. We wrote last week praising Trump and Congress for undoing an awful new massive private-sector-assault regulatory scheme. But it was a new massive private-sector-assault regulatory scheme - that was imposed by the Trump Administration. By an agency overseen by an Obama holdover - that bizarrely still has the job under Trump. As we all know - and as this example yet again demonstrates - personnel is policy. The Trump Administration is the most deregulatory administration in decades and decades. Yet here we had a massive new slate of regs - issued under Trump’s auspices. Because the Obama personnel still in place - is dictating policy in direct opposition to this administration’s mission statement. Another important facet of Draining the Swamp - is the government spending our money a whole lot better than the government has spent the last century-plus doing. Which is inordinately difficult to do - because of my Wallet Rule: If you go out on a Friday night with your wallet, and you go out the following Friday night with my wallet – on which Friday night are you going to have more fun? Obviously, you’re going to have a whole lot more fun with my wallet – because you don’t care what my wallet looks like at the end of the evening. Well, government is always on other peoples’ wallets – ours. And the Friday night never ends. So to break back against this instance of human nature - you need really good personnel in place. Unfortunately, this effort too is hampered by Swamp holdovers. And the accompanying affliction - government inertia. The federal government spends a titanic $4 trillion per annum. That is a LOT of room for wasteful (and dumb) spending. To wit: It’s Time To Drain The Swamp In Government Contracting: “Consider a multi-billion-dollar project the State Department undertook to protect its buildings and other facilities around the world last year. It chose seven security contractors to undertake the project. But of the $10 billion authorized for the security firms, about a quarter, or $2.8 billion, has been designated for two contractors that have drawn intense scrutiny — directly and indirectly — for misdeeds that raised ethical and legal questions. “The firms include Aegis Defense Services ($1.3 billion), one with a blemished record that includes accusations of ‘tactical incompetence’ during its operations in Kabul protecting a diplomatic installation. More striking, there is Triple Canopy ($1.7 billion), a company operating under joint ownership and control with the corporate descendant of Blackwater….” Ahhh…Blackwater. A company that became during the height of the last Iraq War a bete noire of the Left - and on the Right a paragon of the awful no-bid Swamp contracting with which we and Trump would very much like to dispatch. How are they still in the multi-billion-dollar mix? Destructive DC inertia - and some strategic name changes. More: “(A)ccording to government spending records, Triple Canopy, now operating alongside Blackwater’s corporate descendent, has received nearly $2.7 billion from the State Department to provide security services in Iraq, Haiti and other dangerous corners of the globe since 2005.” That is a whole lot of DC inertia. Here’s some more: “Aegis Defense Services, along with another security firm, Pacific Architects and Engineers Government Services Inc. (PAE), have also continued to receive government contracts despite their own track records of troubling behavior.” This is also a whole lot of DC incompetence - rewarding incompetence: "In the case of Aegis, its contractors working at one of the most vulnerable U.S. diplomatic mission in the world — the American embassy in Kabul (Afghanistan) - held a ‘vote of no confidence’ in the firm’s leadership, citing ‘tactical incompetence’ and ‘a dangerous lack of understanding of the operational environment,’ according to Foreign Policy. In addition, several contractors working at the same embassy were fired for dealing drugs. The individuals fired include those working as contractors for Aegis, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. “Meanwhile, PAE, along with a firm called RM Asia, agreed to pay the United States $1.45 million to settle allegations of bid-rigging under a U.S. Army contract for services in Afghanistan, according to a press release issued by the Justice Department.” We constantly, rightly gripe that is just about impossible to fire government employees. It certainly shouldn’t be just so with government contractors - who are constantly subjected to contractual renewal. We should simply…not renew. Fired - by no longer being hired. The ask here of the Trump Administration - is to please pay more attention to the contractors the government hires. This effort most likely requires better personnel - so as to get to said better policy. As stated above - seven contractors were in the running for the $10 billion in contracts. Certainly we can find - among the remaining four - better track records than the three getting nearly $3 billion in new work. Oh: And in addition to our money being better spent - our foreign service personnel will almost certainly get better service. Up to and including being better protected when abroad. Which ain’t nothing. All of this, Mister President, is another key component of Swamp Drainage. Please direct the appropriate amount of attention to changing this particular aspect of this awful game - and thereby bettering the Drainage effort. This first appeared in Red State.