Topic: Contracting Stuff
I know contracting stuff is boring, but it is very important in Iraq. Without contractors, the American adventure in Iraq would grind to a halt in days. Thus . . . here is one more contracting issue to think about.
Contractors in Iraq like to submit lots of "Requests for Equitable Adjustments" (REAs). REAs are extra payments given to contractors when the government changes something. In general, contract modifications can be defined in one of three ways: 1) Addition of work to the contract. 2) Deletion of work from the contract. 3) Substitution of one item of work for another (i.e., an addition with a related deletion).
Whatever the reason for the contract modification, "the related equitable adjustment should be based on the difference between the reasonable cost of performing the contract without the addition, deletion, or substitution and the reasonable cost of performing with it." In other words, the contractor should not make any profit by the REA. It repays the contractor for any costs incurred because of the government's decision to change the contract. However, it seems like REAs are granted for everything over here. The contractors like to cite security-related issues as the justification for their REAs. Call me crazy but the insurgency is not a good enough reason for an REA. Most of these contractors came over here despite the insurgency because they can make a lot of money in Iraq. To me, it just seems like the contractors are trying to get even more money.
And in other news . . . the LA Times recently interviewed Lt. General James Conway about his desire to shore up support for the war. He said, "It is concerning that our public isn't as supportive as perhaps they once were," he said. "We'd like, I believe, to try to reverse those figures and start the trend back the other direction." General Conway goes on to compare Iraq to Vietnam; he said, "[The Vietcong] realized what I think our contemporary enemy realizes — that American public opinion is the center of gravity." Why is the U.S. military trying to build up support for the war? Is that their job? Should the military get involved in the politics of public opinions.