Congress Should Follow Rep. Danny Davis’ Lead and Look into Defense Department Contract with Transportation Company

The Department of Defense (DoD) has arguably the most important mission in government, discharging the duties of national security.

Global instability continues to flare in places like Ukraine, and our nation must stay focused on its priorities.

I am concerned about a recent congressional examination into potential problems within the transportation economy of the military, that at least one congressman believes involve allegations of overbilling, and mismanagement. This is not a time in our nation’s history when the Pentagon should be burdened with logistical failures when the military should be focused on readiness.

Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) wrote a letter recently to the General Services Administration (GSA), as well as two other agencies with jurisdiction over transportation issues and raised concerns about alleged overbilling. The beginning of this inquiry relates to the Defense Freight Transportation Service (DFTS) contract, which was awarded in 2018. This was one of the largest contracts the DoD has ever awarded.

Veterans who have served their country understand that training functions and support for service members cannot be solely conducted by the military itself, outside civilian expertise is required. During boot camp, and during deployment I single-handedly witnessed the great breadth of outside support structures, and understood the military must outsource. The issue is not whether or not outsourcing is needed, the issue is trusting the correct partners and outside talent leaders. I have written on the special connection between private companies and military projects before, and continue to support their existence, notwithstanding this current transportation issue.

To the focus of the issue, congressional staff were made aware of the GSA auditing invoices related to the DFTS contract on the basis it believed Crowley (the company who is currently fulfilling the contract) overcharged TRANSCOM (Transportation Command) by $37 million dollars. The letter written by Rep. Davis, addressed a lawsuit filed by the company, to end the audits from the GSA — which calls into question why a company which is working earnestly would need to block oversight.

I have worked for years at the highest-levels of veteran’s advocacy. I have testified in front of both the House and Senate, and been invited to both the Obama and Trump White House for special events, relating to advocacy work I have done on veterans and military issues. I have been proud to have the opportunity to engage on important issues and have earned bipartisan support for the bills I have worked on in the Congress.

I am concerned that military and congressional leaders are becoming too lax on “big guy” contractors. I am worried that once again the important work of an agency could be delayed because of a need to expend energies fixing logistical matters not directly, but certainly indirectly to combat support functions.

It is time for the House and Senate Transportation and Veterans Committees to write a letter to the GSA requesting a status update on matters relating to the DFTS contract so the public can feel confident that the military is completely focused on readiness and not being dragged into mismanagement messes brought on by leaders in the civilian sector who were hired to make the military’s job easier, not harder.