He returned to DC and reported his findings. A year later, in 1941, the Senate formed the "Senate Special Committee to Investigate Contracts Under the National Defense Program" (later known as the Truman Committee) and appointed Truman to head it up. From 1941 until he stepped down to concentrate on running for Vice President, the Truman Committee held 432 public hearings, listened to 1,798 witnesses and published 2,000 pages of reports. It is said that his efforts saved billions of dollars in wasteful military spending and saved countless lives. The bi-partisan Truman Committee had a reputation for honesty and courage, was viewed as successful and the headlines it generated became popular among the American people. Truman's dogged pursuit of unscrupulous contractors propelled him into the Vice Presidency.
Some historians believe that Truman was the precursor to the contract management we have today; the Defense Contract Management Agency, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, the various Inspector General organizations, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, the Government Accountability Office and many others. Certainly, none of these Agencies existed before the Truman Committee nor was there any other form of organized contract oversight. In fact, the Committee was extremely critical over the lack of Government oversight of Government contracts and many of its recommendations centered upon the need for increased contract oversight.
The next time someone shows up to conduct a review of one of your business systems, a proposal you've submitted, a payment request you've turned in, or to see whether you've engaged in any defective pricing, you can thank the man where the "buck stopped".
From all of us at Pacific Northwest Consultants, have a Merry Christmas. We'll be back on Thursday.