By RICHARD LARDNER and LOLITA BALDOR, Associated Press Writers
WASHINGTON – The Army, stung by a contracting fraud scandal that has generated more than 80 criminal investigations, needs 1,400 more personnel to deal with the demands of supplying troops in combat, said U.S. officials familiar with a report by federal procurement experts.
The group’s report, to be released Thursday, also calls for creating general officer positions within the Army’s contracting work force — a move to attract talented men and women to a field most would otherwise avoid because of dim prospects for career advancement.
Collectively, higher numbers, better quality and more clout within the Army’s contracting ranks are expected to reduce opportunities for fraud, waste and abuse as tens of billions of dollars continue to be spent on the wars inand , U.S. officials told The Associated Press. They described the report on condition of anonymity because it has not been released.