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Highlights

The federal government, including the Department of Defense (DOD), is increasingly relying on contractors to carry out its missions. Governmentwide spending on contractor services has more than doubled in the last 10 years. DOD has used contractors extensively to support troops deployed abroad. The department recently estimated the number of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan to be about 196,000. DOD also relies heavily on contractors for various aspects of weapon system logistics support. While contractors, when properly used, can play an important role in helping agencies accomplish their missions, GAO has identified long-standing problems regarding the appropriate role and management of contractors, particularly at DOD. This testimony highlights the challenges federal agencies face related to the increased reliance on contractors and the specific challenges DOD has had in managing its increased reliance on contractors who support deployed troops and who provide logistics support for weapons systems. This testimony also highlights some of the recommendations GAO has made over the past several years to improve DOD's management and oversight of contractors, as well as DOD's actions in response to those recommendations.

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