Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Recent Iraq Contract Decisions Expand Opportunities and Defenses for Contractors

McKenna, Long, and Aldridge News

Government contractors performing in Iraq or elsewhere overseas may benefit from the holdings and logic of two recent federal court decisions.

In the first decision, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a qui tam relator had failed to state a valid False Claims Act (“FCA”) claim against a construction contractor that built the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.

In the second decision, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia held that a contractor providing brokerage services for the Iraqi Ministry of Defense could pursue a breach of contract claim against the Iraqi government because the Iraqi government was not immune from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”).

Read the entire post here

July 27, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Former Army Contractor Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter and Assault After Collision in Kuwait Kills One Sailor and Seriously Injures Another

by the Department of Justice at PRNewswire (?)

WASHINGTON, July 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A former U.S. Army contractor was arrested today in Newport News, Va., for allegedly killing one sailor and seriously injuring another in a vehicular collision in Kuwait, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia and Brigadier General Colleen McGuire, Provost General of the Army and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.

Morgan Hanks, 25, of Newport News, was arrested on charges contained in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on July 13, 2010, and unsealed today in the Eastern District of Virginia.  The indictment charges Hanks with one count of involuntary manslaughter for the death of Brian Patton, and one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury for injuring David Morgan.

According to the indictment, in November 2009, Hanks was employed in Kuwait as a canine handler by Combat Support Associates and Combat Support Associates Ltd. (CSA).  CSA provided site security and force protection at U.S. Army bases in Kuwait.  The indictment alleges that on approximately Nov. 19, 2009, Hanks was operating a motor vehicle in excess of the posted speed limit on Alternate Supply Route Aspen in Kuwait.  The indictment alleges that Hanks attempted to pass an eight-vehicle convoy on the two-lane road while traveling uphill and caused a collision with another vehicle in which Patton and Morgan were traveling.  The collision killed Patton and left Morgan with a serious brain injury and multiple fractures.

Hanks is charged under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA), a statute that gives U.S. courts jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed outside the United States by, among others, contractors or subcontractors of the Department of Defense.  If convicted, Hanks faces up to 10 years in prison.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Division and is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorneys Micah D. Pharris and Steven C. Parker of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Hurt for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The Criminal Division announced the formation of HRSP on March 30, 2010.  The new section represents a merger of the Criminal Division’s Domestic Security Section (DSS) and the Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

July 27, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.N. group investigates mercenaries

UPI Asia.com

UNITED NATIONS, July 26 (UPI) — More oversight and monitoring at the national and international level are needed for private military contractors, a U.N. group said.

A U.N. working group on the use of mercenaries and private military and security companies is briefing U.N. delegates on the international mechanisms needed to regulate such activity during a weeklong conference at U.N. headquarters this week.

Private security and military contractors are under fire for their role in combat zones.

Erik Prince, the founder U.S. private security company Xe, told an audience in Holland, Mich., in May that security forces working for his company in Afghanistan called in NATO support during operations in 2009.

Critics say contractors like Xe are operating outside of international law.

Prince during his Holland speech responded to accusations that his contractors were potentially violating the Geneva Conventions by acting as unlawful combatants in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He said militants there were “barbarians,” adding, “They don’t know where Geneva is, let alone that there was a convention there.”

Members of the working group, the U.N. news center reports, are expected to call for tighter regulations at the national and international level to monitor the work of mercenaries and private security contractors.

July 27, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Contractor Oversight, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, United Nations | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taliban Pays Its Troops Better Than Karzai Pays His

By Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room

Are the Taliban shelling out more money for their fighters than the U.S. and the international community are for Afghan security forces? The American military says no, and e-mails the chart below to make its case. But it’s not the most persuasive document. And it’s undermined by one of the reports in WikiLeaks’ trove of war logs.

In February 2008, a U.S. military report from southern Afghanistan documented how a Taliban leader offered a brigade commander in the Afghan National Army $100,000 to quit his job. (He also had his family’s safety threatened as an or-else.) That would be a lucrative bribe for most people. But as the American chart shows, a colonel in the Afghan national security forces would have to put in 24 years of service before pulling down $805 per month.

That should give a sense of what the incentive structure is for Afghans caught in their country’s war — including those willing to answer the call of the Karzai government to join the army and police forces. In December, now-retired General Stanley McChrystal testified to Congress that the pay scale of the Afghan security forces was “almost at parity” with the estimated $300 that the Taliban pays its foot soldiers per month. But look at the chart, issued before McChrystal testified. An Afghan policeman or soldier with under three years in uniform pulls in $165 per month.  See the Chart and read the entire story here

July 27, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan | , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Army failed to conduct post-deployment health assessments throughout Afghan conflict, records suggest

By Bryant Furlow at Epinewswire

Post-deployment health assessments (recorded using form DD-2796) were frequently not completed by U.S. Army doctors early in the occupation of Afghanistan, according to Army Medical Command “lessons learned” reports obtained by epiNewswire.

“Clinicians had no idea of what the DD-2796 was, nor what to do with it,” one of the unclassified reports states.

The undated report, written between 2003 and 2005, urged that commanders educate soldiers and clinicians about the importance of completing post-deployment health assessments. The assessments are used for statistical analyses of health trends among deployed soldiers and to assess soldiers’ fitness for redeployment.

But a 2009 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that five and six years into the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, the failure to conduct post-deployment health assessments remained widespread. Nearly a quarter of the assessments were missing for soldiers deployed to combat zones in 2007 and 2008, the GAO reported.

July 27, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Pentagon, Veterans | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sanitation, disease control largely ignored by U.S. Army from the outset in Afghanistan, records show

By Bryant Furlow on Jul 26, 2010 at Epinewswire

The U.S. Army’s public health efforts were hindered from the beginning of military deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq by chronic medical equipment shortages — including shortages of antibiotics, disinfectants and hand washing stations, according to U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) ”lessons learned” documents obtained by epiNewswire.

Sanitation efforts were limited at best, with commanders discounting the importance of hygiene and disease control, sanitation officers complained in unclassified after-action reports.

“Maintaining hand washing stations was an issue that was never resolved,” according to one undated sanitation assessment of early Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) deployments, written by Capt. Jason Squitier of the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (CHPPM; now the Army’s Public Health Command).

July 27, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Iraq, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | 1 Comment