The Senate version of the DoD authorization bill contains provisions aimed at greater transparency regarding contracts and ownership of properties where the department has facilities.
One provision would require the department spending estimates on service contracts in annual and five-year budget reports. “In FY 2014 for example, DoD planned to spend over $85 billion for service contracts – more than twice as much as it spent on goods such as armor, vehicles, and artillery for our troops – without first producing any estimates for what its service contract needs were and whether those needs could have been met more cheaply by doing the work in-house,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who sponsored the provisions, said in a statement.
Another provision requires that the Pentagon determine the “beneficial owner”–the company or individual who ultimately controls a building–of high security leased space in buildings that it rents.
That party “may be affiliated with a foreign government or a transnational criminal organization hiding behind numerous shell companies and front companies making it difficult to identify them. Without knowledge of the ultimate beneficial owner, DoD cannot guarantee the security of its facilities or communications therein, and may be inadvertently funding enemies of the United States,” McCaskill said.
GAO recently reported that of buildings leased by GSA and occupied by federal agencies that require higher levels of security protection, at least 20–which house 26 tenant agencies, covering 3.3. million square feet at an annual cost of $97 million–have foreign ownership.