June 2, 2007 – The Bush Administration’s unrelenting effort to outsource federal jobs was a key factor in the shoddy treatment of wounded war veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. A Washington Post story revealed wounded vets living in rat-infes ted and mold-ridden quarters while recovering from wounds they received in Iraq.
Using information released by the House Committee on Government Reform, the AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department reports IAP World Services, a company with more than $1 billion in revenue and headed by former Halliburton executives, was awarded a $120 million contract to take over management of the building and grounds at Walter Reed. IAP World Services has been accused of mishandling ice deliveries to Hurricane Katrina victims and has been questioned by Congress about overcharges for fuel deliveries in Iraq.
During the six-year changeover process to IAP World Services, more than 350 skilled federal workers retired or left Walter Reed and the Army was unable to find enough temporary replacements.
The Bush Administration has targe ted more than 450,000 federal jobs for outsourcing to private companies. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a Senate committee in 2004 that he wan ted to outsource almost 320,000 nonmilitary support jobs. Adding to the chaos was the Base Realignment and Closure process (BRAC) that put Walter Reed on the shutdown list. Many federal workers bid out of Walter Reed to lock in more stable jobs elsewhere.