Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

U.S. Diplomats to Take On New Iraq Security Roles in Afghanistan Preview

By Viola Gienger and Flavia Krause-Jackson – Nov 10, 2010 at Bloomberg

The challenge for American diplomats who take over security support in Iraq from the U.S. military next year starts with this: They are to provide protection without carrying guns.

They also will be responsible for running their own fleet of aircraft and operating a rocket-warning system, with fewer than 1,100 civil servants replacing a force as large as 50,000 U.S. troops.

As many as 7,000 security contractors along with military companies will pick up where soldiers left off in shoring up a nascent Iraqi police force and shielding Americans from attack.

Saddling the State Department with traditionally military tasks at a fraction of the manpower poses a risky test in a country that still averages 15 insurgent attacks a day and has failed to form a ruling coalition eight months after elections.

“I worry a great deal about that transition,” said Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq between 2007 and 2009. “The capacity does not exist on the civilian side to take on the vast array of roles and missions that the military has so ably performed in Iraq.”

The experiment presages what’s to come in Afghanistan, where the U.S. plans a gradual drawdown beginning in July. It also underscores the U.S. reliance on private military contractors such as DynCorp International Inc. and Triple Canopy Inc. to perform jobs, from helicopter pilot to security guard, that diplomats can’t do and will have to oversee.

Worried Yet Ready

“Am I worried? Yes,” Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy, who’s handling the transition, said in an Oct. 16 interview. “Do I feel we will be ready? Also, yes.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman said he wants to make sure. The California Democrat has called top State Department and Pentagon officials to a hearing on Nov. 17 to discuss preparations for the transition.

“This transition is an unprecedented undertaking” for the State Department, Berman said in an e-mail. “I want to be reassured that State’s transition plan can work effectively. If it can’t, we need to know now.”

Please read the entire article here

November 10, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, State Department | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Afghanistan shuts down 150 Afghan, foreign aid groups

By Jonathon Burch      KABUL (Reuters) –

Afghanistan has ordered around 150 aid groups, including four foreign organizations, to shut down for failing to submit reports on their projects and finances, a government official said on Tuesday.

The ruling by a government-backed commission which monitors aid groups includes 145 domestic organizations and has immediate effect, said a spokesman for the Economy Ministry, which heads the commission.

The commission was established as part of an anti-corruption drive by President Hamid Karzai, who has long been critical of foreign organizations in Afghanistan and says they have been involved in widespread graft.

“The commission has decided the organizations should be dissolved because they have not submitted reports to the Ministry of Economy for the past two years,” ministry spokesman Sediq Amarkhil said.

Amarkhil said he did not know why the NGOs had failed to submit reports, but suggested it may be because they were not registered with the government.

According to Afghan law, non-government organizations (NGOs) must submit reports every six months to the ministry, disclosing details about their funding and activities, Amarkhil said.

WARNING LETTERS

None of the NGOs ordered to close had submitted those reports despite warning letters from the ministry, Amarkhil said, adding government institutions and other donors had been informed not to provide any funding to the groups.

Laurent Saillard, director of the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR), an umbrella group for NGOs in Afghanistan, said they were presented with the list of groups and had no objections to their closure.

“The government is simply implementing the law. We don’t even know if some of these NGOs on the list even exist at all,” said Saillard, adding none of the groups came under ACBAR.

He said there were around 1,300 NGOs in Afghanistan, including 360 foreign organizations, employing 45,000 people.

In May, the commission shut down 172 NGOs, including 20 foreign groups, for the same reason. The government later that month suspended the activities of two Western aid groups on suspicion of proselytizing.

The latest ruling also comes after a decree by Karzai in August calling for all private security firms to be disbanded, a move which spurred concern in Washington that aid work could suffer.

Last month, Karzai offered a small concession to those firms guarding aid projects by extending the deadline from December until next February.

But ACBAR has said the ban would only affect profit-oriented development companies which rely on security guards for protection and would not hit the work of not-for-profit NGOs.

Please see the original article here

November 10, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, NGO's | , , , | 1 Comment

Inspector general’s report questions U.S. salary supplements for Afghan government workers

By Walter Pincus at The Washington Post

Remember the recent story that Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s chief of staff was carrying a bag from Iran containing packets of $1 million or more in Euro bills severaltimes a year to buy influence in the presidential palace?

What would you think if it turns out that the United States has not only supplied its own millions in salary supplements to employees in Karzai’s office since 2005, but also that those payments will continue through March? Oh, and that some of the money will be going directly to support the office of that same Karzai chief of staff, Omar Dawoodzai?

Just days after Karzai publicly admitted that he was receiving “bags of money” from Iran as well as funds from the United States to cover expenses of his presidential office, a report by the U.S. Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan (SIGAR) reported that since 2005, Washington had supplied $6.6 million in salary supplements to employees in Karzai’s office.

Overall, based on data SIGAR gathered in February, its report said U.S. agencies working in Afghanistan “were providing more than $1 million in monthly salary payments to 900 Afghan government employees and technical advisers in 16 ministries and government offices.”

The two largest recipients of those U.S. funds at that time were the Afghan Ministry of Education – where 413 people got salary support – and Karzai’s office of the president, where 103 got additional pay. Since 2008, 50 members of the 71 employees at the AfghanGovernment Media Information Center, who handle press affairs for the Karzai government, got salary support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) – and more recently, the U.S. Embassy public affairs section. The remaining 21 are paid by other country donors.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which provides most of these funds, paid about $19 million from January 2007 to January 2010.  Please read the entire story here

November 10, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, State Department, USAID | , , , , , | Leave a comment

L-3 Selected to Provide Intelligence Support Services to U.S. Forces-Afghanistan

NEW YORK, Nov 10, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — L-3 Communications /quotes/comstock/13*!lll/quotes/nls/lll (LLL 72.40, -0.73, -0.10%) announced today that its STRATIS division has been selected as one of three prime contractors for the Intelligence Support Services-Afghanistan (ISS-A) contract. Under this contract, L-3 has already been awarded two firm fixed-price task orders valued at $36 million to provide intelligence support to the United States Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A). These agreements, underway as of September 2010, have a one-year base period, plus two one-year option periods.

Under the task orders, L-3 will provide multi-functional analysis, counterintelligence support, signals intelligence analysis and program management services, as well as other supporting intelligence activities to USFOR-A, which falls under the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility (USCENTCOM AOR).

“We have supported military operations in this region, including Afghanistan, for many years, and now look forward to providing first-rate intelligence services for USFOR-A,” said Les Rose, president of L-3 STRATIS.

L-3 STRATIS is among the largest divisions of L-3 Communications. Headquartered in Reston, Va., STRATIS has 5,000 employees serving customers across the globe. They deliver specialized services, advanced technology and world-class project management solutions in support of intelligence and enterprise information technology solutions for government and commercial entities. For more information, please visit the division’s website at www.L-3com.com/STRATIS.

Headquartered in New York City, L-3 Communications employs approximately 65,000 people worldwide and is a prime contractor in C(3)ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) systems, aircraft modernization and maintenance, and government services. L-3 is also a leading provider of a broad range of electronic systems used on military and commercial platforms. The company reported 2009 sales of $15.6 billion.

To learn more about L-3, please visit the company’s website at www.L-3com.com. L-3 uses its website as a channel of distribution of material company information. Financial and other material information regarding L-3 is routinely posted on the company’s website and is readily accessible.

Safe Harbor Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995

Except for historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this news release are forward-looking statements. Statements that are predictive in nature, that depend upon or refer to events or conditions or that include words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “will,” “could” and similar expressions are forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements set forth above involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any such statement, including the risks and uncertainties discussed in the company’s Safe Harbor Compliance Statement for Forward-Looking Statements included in the company’s recent filings, including Forms 10-K and 10-Q, with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made, and the company undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

SOURCE: L-3 Communications


				
                

November 10, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contracts Awarded | , , , , | Leave a comment

Women team to stop alleged contractor abuse in Iraq

Christine Dobbyn at KTRK TV Houston ABC Local

See also MsSparky

HOUSTON (KTRK) — For the first time on Monday night, we heard the story of a local woman who claims she was brutally attacked and raped while working for an American government contract company in Iraq. Now, we’re continuing the story with reaction from the company — KBR — and how other women say it happened to them too.

The story of 27-year-old Anna Mayo is graphic. “He was grabbing my hair and grabbing my hair, and my face and at one point he had my face and he was ripping it, he had gloves on and I was biting him so hard, I could taste, I could taste the gloves, I could taste the blood, I could taste the smell,” she said. Mayo was working at KBR’s Ballad Facility in Iraq last November when a man claiming to be a maintenance worker attacked as she lay sleeping in her bed. “I remember poking him in the eyeballs because he was on top of me, and I took my nail and digged it into his eye, and it’s like he was mocking me,” she said.

He put a rope around her neck and she passed out. When she came to, she was being raped. “It was almost like a relief because it didn’t hurt as bad as when he was ripping my face off,” Mayo said.

Her injuries left her in intensive care.”A girl that I worked with at the warehouse came in, looked at me, sat down and fainted — that’s how much of a monster I was,” Mayo said

Mayo has filed a lawsuit against the government contractor and subsidiaries, saying, “It is not the first time that KBR has had problems with sexual violence in its workspaces, nor the first time that it has been put on notice of these rampant violent behaviors.” But KBR says it in no way condones or tolerates illegal or unethical behavior saying “Sexual misconduct is not tolerated. Ms. Mayo’s allegations to the contrary are not correct.”

Anna Mayo is just one of a group of women to come forward with claims of being sexual assaulted while working in Iraq or Afghanistan for KBR. Another Houston woman filed suit against the company just a few weeks ago. And this woman — Jamie Leigh Jones — made headlines when she decided to show her face and share her story after alleging she was gang raped and left in a shipping container with no food and water for hours in 2005. “I really believe that there is strength in numbers, and we’re going against a giant and with our voice, we will be able to conquer what’s headed towards us,” Jones said. Jones has also challenged the company’s arbitration policy.

Houston Attorney Todd Kelly represents Jones, Mayo and four others. “Companies only have one sense of conscience, and it’s their bottom line,” Kelly said. “A jury is going to have to tell KBR and Halliburton that they don’t appreciate how they are treating American citizens in Iraq; it is the only way to stop this.” Kelly says he has received many calls from women making claims from sexual harassment to sexual assault. “They care about business as usual, move the perpetrator to somewhere where he can keep doing his work, and get the injured women out of the way,” he said.

KBR says while Mayo’s lawsuit identifies her attacker as a KBR employee, the Army’s criminal investigation division found he was not a KBR employee but employed by a subcontractor. The Army has assumed full control of the investigation. “He’s walking around somewhere, and there’s some woman who doesn’t know,” Mayo said.

Mayo claims her attacker was located, but he resigned and was allowed to leave. “If somebody said it’s like the wild, wild west and somebody will enter your room and beat you and rape you and let them go home eight days later, I would have not gone,” Mayo said. And now she battles nightmares and lasting images of the night that changed her life.

A court of appeals just dismissed some of Mayo’s contractual claims, which a win for KBR. The rest of her allegations will be dependent on a ruling in another pending case against her former employer. Jones’ case is scheduled to go to trial next May. KBR disputes much of her story. We also want to note KBR is a former subsidiary of Halliburton. Halliburton is mentioned in some of the cases, but broke ties with KBR in 2007.

November 10, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, KBR, Rape, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , | Leave a comment