For a moment, leave aside the question of missing property
. The September 2007 State Department inspector general report provides a blueprint for how lax department rules let contractors in Afghanistan shoehorn all manner of purchases into their conctract costs -- regardless of whether the contract required those specific purchases. As they say on the streets, DynCorp, essentially, got to charge it to the game.
Take one example. On one of DynCorp's task orders for the Civilian Police training contract, the company bought $1.1 million worth of trucks, unspecified in its contract, and charged it to the government. And that was just the start
Under one of the Civilian Police task orders, the vouchers included charges for 20 Ford F-250s, with a cost of $1.1 million, that were acquired before the modification authorizing their purchase was issued; 18 vehicles consisting of Ford Excursions, John Deere Gators, and Yamaha motorcycles, with a cost of $384,590, that were not specified in the task order; and an additional unknown quantity of John Deere Gators and Ford Excursions, with a cost of $1.4 million, that were not specified in the ask order.
That worked for DynCorp so well on the police contract, the company ran the same game on its ordnance-removal contract:
Although weapons and weapon accessories were not among the property specified for purchase under the WRAP contract, the vouchers included charges of $30,000.
The inspector general concedes that contractors might legitimately need to buy new property during the course of the contract. But the department's requirements -- apparently still in place -- don't allow outside observers enough visibility to determine what's a legitimate expense and what isn't. (Or, in the IG's words, "the Department should assess whether additional property items are needed to meet program requirements, approve new acquisitions before they are made, and modify the contract accordingly.") The absence of such protections is practically an invitation for a contractor to walk into a Ford dealership and hand over Condoleezza Rice's credit card -- which, incidentally, you pay for.