Oversight Hearing on Electrical Systems in Iraq

Posted on by Jesse Lee

The Oversight Committee is currently holding a hearing, “Deficient Electrical Systems at U.S. Facilities in Iraq.” The hearing will examine electrical problems leading to the injuries and deaths of military personnel and the Department of Defense's management and oversight of contractors. Chairman Henry Waxman has been investigating the situation for several months, see his letter to Secretary of Defense Gates. Witnesses from the Defense Department Inspector General’s office, Defense Contract Management Agency and KBR, Inc. will testify.

Read an op-ed by Sen. Bob Casey, Chairman Waxman and Rep. Jason Altmire (PA-04) on the matter published today in the Philadelphia Inquirer >>

Watch the hearing live >>

Chairman Waxman gives opening remarks:

Chairman Waxman: “In his testimony today, Jeffrey Parsons, the executive director of the Army Contracting Command, says that the Defense Department now recognizes that ‘neither LOGCAP nor DCMA have sufficient skill sets or expertise to perform adequate oversight of electrical work being performed by KBR.’ That is a remarkable admission. We will ask why it took the Defense Department four years to realize that it lacks the skill and expertise to oversee KBR. In total, 19 U.S. military and contractor personnel may have been killed as a result of electrocution or faulty wiring in Iraq. These young heroes might still be alive today if the Department had done the proper oversight.”

Chairman Henry Waxman questions Gordon S. Heddell, Acting Inspector General for the Defense Department, and presents new documentation to him:

IG Heddell: “I will tell you, you don’t have to be an Inspector General to be very concerned about these tragic deaths, and you don’t have to be an Inspector General to expect candor and forthcomingness from entities who might have knowledge or information regarding this. I’m not saying that any was withheld, but what I am saying at this point is that these documents that you brought to my attention this morning, I had not seen these and was not aware of them until this Committee brought them to our attention last night… they certainly are very dramatic…”
Chairman Waxman: “I appreciate that, and these two documents do undermine the tentative conclusion you submitted to us earlier this week.”
IG Heddell: “We have absolved no one, let the record be clear, we never have and have not at this moment.”
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