Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

OFWs to lose 7,000 jobs in Afghanistan

The Manila Times

FILIPINO workers stand to lose some 6,000 to 7,000 potential “good-paying jobs” in Afghanistan as a memorandum from the United States Military Command directed US contractors there to stop the hiring of third-country nationals whose domestic laws have deployment bans to the war-torn country

Filipino recruitment consultant and migration expert Emmanuel Geslani said that the jobs have been instead given to other nationalities vying for civilian contractor jobs in Afghanistan.

The job orders have since been awarded to Afghans, Pakistanese, Indians, Nepalese, Serbs, Macedonians, Fijis and other nationals.

Until the freeze memo from the US Military Command is lifted, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there can no longer work with US international contractors.

This, he said, is despite “the surge in the construction of 20 more additional Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) for the additional 30,000 US Army troops ordered by President Barack Obama.”

According to Geslani, reports reach him that US companies Dyn International LLC was awarded the work for southern Afghanistan and Fluor Intercontinental was selected for work in northern Afghanistan. Both jobs will total to about $15-billion worth of contracts for the next five years.

The task orders encompass base life-support services and logistics support, which include base setup, food service, facilities maintenance, and morale, welfare and recreation.

“Filipino workers who have plans to proceed to Dubai, Kuwait or Bahrain and apply for civilian jobs in Afghanistan in the recruiting stations at the international airports are advised not to go on with their plans as all international contractors at US Military Bases are not allowed anymore to hire Filipinos despite the recommendations of logistics managers and supervisors who prefer to hire Filipinos for the civilian jobs inside the bases,” Geslani said.

Filipino manpower
Carlo Echano, a senior logistics manager for Dyn Corp., said that about 800 Filipinos comprise the more than 13,000 manpower of his company but because of the order from the US military command, Dyn Corp. had to stop the recruitment of Filipino workers.

The firm supplies necessary materials for US bases in the southern region of Afghanistan.

In a statement, Geslani said that “there are about anywhere from 500 to 1,000 jobless Filipino workers in Kabul scrounging for jobs.”

“Most of them came from the neighboring countries of Dubai, Kuwait and Bahrain after finishing their contracts and did not return to the Philippines, to try their luck in landing the very high-paying jobs in Afghanistan,” he added.

Salaries in the bases amount from $2,000 to $15,000 in US bases. More than 6,000 OFWs remit about $1,000 each to their families in the Philippines every month.

“That’s around $6 million or P250,000 million each month and over P3 billion to the economy and yet the DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] refuses to lift the ban for our countrymen but accepts the money sent by the OFWs,” Geslani said.

Several spokesmen for the Filipino workers in Afghanistan have called on President Benigno Aquino 3rd “to lift the ban immediately as the US government is waiting for the [Foreign Affairs department’s] response to the imminent termination of all Filipino workers in Afghanistan working in US bases.”

Several groups clamor for the recall of the ban, saying that US bases are generally safe.

Since 2007, a total travel and work ban has been imposed to Afghanistan because of continuing security concerns in the country, citing numerous attacks by the Taliban and several bomb attacks directed towards United Nations forces.

The department last week said that it would not be proposing the lift of the ban despite numerous calls from OFW groups because it cannot ensure the safety of all Filipinos working there.

An order from the United States Central Command official in September last year “virtually tied” the hands of US contractors to hire additional OFWs for their new contracts as they have been advised to remove all third-country nationals, including Filipinos, whose domestic laws prevent them from working in Afghanistan.  Please see the original article here

January 10, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, DynCorp, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. watchdog for Afghanistan contracting resigns

McClatchy Newspapers by Marisa Taylor

WASHINGTON — The embattled top watchdog of U.S. contracting in Afghanistan announced Monday that he’s resigning days after vowing to resist congressional demands to step down.

Arnold Fields, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, offered no explanation for his decision to leave. His resignation becomes official at the beginning of next month.

“I depart confident in the knowledge that SIGAR is positioned to provide essential support to the president’s strategy,” he said.

Fields’ resignation leaves vacant a key post in the Obama administration’s push for bringing greater accountability to U.S. contracting in Afghanistan.

McClatchy reported in November that over the past three years, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction projects in Afghanistan have failed, face serious delays or resulted in subpar work, costing American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and hobbling U.S. efforts to stabilize the country.

Four senators accused Fields’ office of doing a poor job of scrutinizing how $56 billion in reconstruction money is being spent in the war-torn nation. The senators demanded Fields’ resignation in a letter to President Barack Obama late last year.

Last week, Fields fired two of his deputies partly in response to the congressional criticism. However, Fields, a retired Marine Corps major general, told McClatchy, he had no plans to resign saying: “The Marine Corps taught me not to quit.”

But a report by the federal Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency had fueled the calls for his resignation. The council recommended that the Justice Department consider revoking the special inspector general’s law enforcement authority and concluded his office had problems with hiring, strategic planning and investigative policies.

Please read the entire story here

January 10, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracing, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Pentagon, SIGAR, USACE | , , , | Leave a comment

Turkmenistan: Ashgabat Playing Key US/NATO Support Role in Afghan War

Russia’s introduction of an excise tax on fuel exports to Kyrgyzstan last April cost the US government an additional $15.4 million over just a 16-day span.

Eurasianet.org

Despite its long-avowed status as a neutral nation, Turkmenistan is playing an important supporting role for US and NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan. Washington and Ashgabat are both keen to keep Turkmenistan’s strategic role low-key, especially the financial aspects of cooperation.

What is known is that the US government and its contractors do not pay taxes on fuel intended for military use that is purchased in Turkmenistan, as well as in Azerbaijan. Fuel is exempt from local duties and taxes due to Turkmenistan’s and Azerbaijan’s participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace program, a spokeswoman for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the Pentagon’s main procurement arm, told EurasiaNet.org. Please see the original here

January 10, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Follow the Money, NATO | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Firm with checkered record,Black & Veatch Corp.,hired for Afghan work

Richard Lardner and Brett Blackledge at Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government is counting on an American contractor with a record of cost overruns and missed deadlines to handle a critical component of Gen. David Petraeus’ plan to stabilize volatile southern Afghanistan: quickly deliver more electricity to the power-starved region.

The U.S. Agency for International Development last month awarded Black & Veatch Corp. of Overland Park, Kan., a no-bid contract worth $266 million to push more power into Kandahar and Helmand provinces. Officials say expanding electrical access will improve the quality of life for Afghans, undercutting the influence of the Taliban-led insurgency.

USAID called Black & Veatch a “proven partner” in a statement Monday. The agency also said it has changed its contracting operations and won’t hesitate to penalize or terminate arrangements with vendors that fail to deliver.  Please see the original here

January 10, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contract Awards, Contracts Awarded, State Department, USAID | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iraqi Logistics Contract Case Continues Mired In Controversy

Agility Deny Change of Legal Status as Shares Fall

US – KUWAIT – IRAQ – DUBAI – The lawsuit outstanding against Agility, the Kuwait based logistics contractor, seems destined to continue its controversial way toward the Courts after what appears to be yet another piece of disinformation. The shipping of supplies to the US military machine in Iraq, the previous misinformed press coverage and Agility’s replacement by Dubai listed Anham FZCo has already been liberally covered in these pages.

Although Agility have a published a specialist website to cover their legal wrangle with the US Defense Department which dates back to an FBI announcement in November 2009 there is no mention of this latest development. On Friday Reuters apparently published an article stating US prosecutors had filed a civil suit against Agility containing an accusation that fraud had been involved in the execution of the food logistics contract which was worth close to $10 billion.

Agility shares then apparently fell by around 5% despite Agility having argued all along that they wanted to fight the case as a civil, not a criminal matter. The outcome of the case is of critical importance to Agility which is banned from further US Government tenders until the matter is resolved, penalties could reach double the amount proved to be embezzled.

Reuters now report that a statement from Agility last night saying the allegations of a new lawsuit were untrue saying:

“The new civil case it spoke about is not a new lawsuit against Agility, but a procedural amendment to the case that was announced in November 2009.”

It is not known at this stage the fate of other US freight contracts obtained by the Agility Defense & Government Services (DGS) which predate the scandal, in some cases by only a week or so, for shipping supplies to numerous countries including Afghanistan. Also questions remain over the employment of senior US military officials, including some from the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and responsible for procurement, who latterly became Agility staff members.  Please see the original here

January 10, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Department of Defense, Iraq | , , , | Leave a comment