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Contingency Contracting in World War II

Contingency Contracting in World War II

So how did ‘contingency contracting’ work in World War II? The U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command has a full book on the topic online, Building the Navy’s Bases in World War II: History of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Civil Engineer Corps 1940-1946.  What is especially interesting is how the Navy figures out ways to write flexible and fast contracts, and it’s interesting to see much of the types of contracts and terminology we use today stem from this period beginning just prior to World War II.  Here is just one gem of information in this report:

“With respect to Midway, the original fixed-fee contract for the improvements there contemplated work of an estimated cost of only $3,720,000. The contract, negotiated in August 1939, contemplated completion in August 1942. Through supplemental agreements to the scope of the work, however, there had been accomplished by June 3, 1942 (the date of the Japanese attack) approximately $20,000,000 worth of work, including complete land-plane and seaplane facilities, the availability of which was of material assistance in the defeat of the Japanese fleet.” (Page 84)

SOG readers will find the section beginning on page 77 of greatest interest.


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Mr. Brooks is an advocate and specialist on the regulation and constructive utilization of the private sector for international stabilization, peacekeeping, disaster relief and humanitarian missions. He founded ISOA in 2001 and ran it for more than a decade supporting industry professionalism, standards, codes of conduct and greater application by the international community. Now President Emeritus, Mr. Brooks serves on the ISOA Advisory Council. He also serves on the Board of the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce, teaches as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Fiji, and shares his expertise with leading firms in the industry as an independent consultant. Mr. Brooks has testified before the U.S. Congress and the South African Parliament. He has appeared on numerous TV and radio programs including the BBC, CBS News, NBC News, Fox News, CNN International, Democracy Now!, NPR, VOA, SABC in South Africa and PBS’s Lehrer News Hour. Mr. Brooks has been an Adjunct Faculty member at American University and an Academic Fellow and Research Associate with the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in Johannesburg. He has also lectured at Georgetown University, West Point, Princeton and the Inter-American Defense College at Ft. McNair among many other academic institutions.


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