Lacking a streamlined way to hire private health care providers cost the Department of Defense more than $1 billion in 2011, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report.

Despite using "fixed-price contracts and competition" to try to keep health care prices low, the "largely fragmented" process cost $1.14 billion in 2011.

The Pentagon employs more than 150,000 people with just more than 11,200 as contracted health care providers. In 2014, the DOD's budget request for health care is almost $50 billion and is projected to increase in the next few years. Thus, contracts with healthcare professionals at a cost of $1.14 billion are seen as a waste of money.

The approach to hiring medical staff taken by the DOD also wastes money. Communication failures between the three branches of service -- Army, Navy and Air Force -- lead multiple contractors to overlap and eventually perform the same work.

GAO has pointed out these problems to DOD multiple times since 2004, but they remain unresolved. For more, go to The Washington Guardian, which awarded its Golden Hammer to DOD for this longstanding problem.

Kelly Cohen is a member of The Washington Examiner Watchdog reporting team. She can be reached at