Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Civilian contractor contributions vital to war effort

They are not behind the lines; there are no lines, only a 360-degree battlefield. They are America’s unsung heroes.

By Gerald T. Peil Special to Stars and Stripes

Recently, our nation’s colors were lowered to half-staff at a tiny contractor outpost tucked away among the foothills of Afghanistan. It is a sober reminder of the grievous cost that comes with doing business here. Sadly, however, most Americans will not know of the sacrifice behind this solemn act; neither will they know of the hundreds before who have perished.

Never has American military intervention relied so heavily on the involvement of Department of Defense- and State Department-backed U.S. civilians as it does today. Lured to service out of sheer necessity, our nation has raised what is, in effect, a civilian army — one that is decisive in waging today’s wars.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of these civilian military personnel have deployed in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hundreds have paid with their lives; many hundreds more have been wounded.

Independent contractors, subcontractors and a multitude of government employees are performing countless functions critical to the success of ongoing combat operations and reconstruction projects. They are immersed in the training and equipping of Iraqi as well as Afghan security forces. They have implemented never-before-possible infrastructure and quality-of-life programs critical to the health, morale and welfare of our troops. They provide individual and collective security measures at nearly every installation in theater. Today’s civilian military personnel are as essential to the accomplishment of coalition objectives as any soldier, sailor, Marine or airman in uniform.

Populations of civilian military in war zones approach and often times surpass that of uniformed fighting forces. Nevertheless, there is little mention of their successes, bravery or casualty reporting by news agencies or political organizations. They come and go from combat theaters by the thousands virtually unnoticed. As such, expressions of gratitude are conspicuously absent. You will not see them represented during parades or at formal functions. More often than not these men and women are looked upon with suspicion, labeled as mercenaries, even demonized. …

Civilian military personnel in combat zones not only match deployment ratios of their servicemember brethren, they routinely exceed them. Not unlike their military counterparts, they are volunteers and patriots who have evolved into a form of combatant directly backing uniformed fighting forces. They are safeguarding America’s survival and economic interests — in fact, defending the Constitution of the United States “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Replicating these contributions would require the addition of a great many fully manned military organizations — a luxury our all-volunteer forces can ill-afford.

Members of the armed forces engaged in the fight to defeat terrorism will receive formal recognition upon completion of their overseas tours. In contrast, the vast majority of civilians get nothing. There are no less than 14 decorations and other awards specifically intended to honor the service of contractors, subcontractors and government employees. Yet it is rare to find anyone who has benefited from such accolades. DOD awards policies governing civilian military in war zones, if any do exist, sadly lack implementation.

The American people rallied to the heroic efforts of firefighters, police and paramedics when the towers fell and rightly so. We must now pay tribute to the legions of civilian military personnel who have reinforced the ranks of coalition forces in the global war on terror. These new-age warriors are defending American freedoms wherever and whenever there is fighting. They are not behind the lines; there are no lines, only a 360-degree battlefield. They are America’s unsung heroes.

Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald T. Peil (retired) is an independent contractor in Afghanistan.

Thank you and please read the original here

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Department of Defense, Government Contractor, Iraq, Pentagon, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , | 1 Comment

Defense Base Act PTSD Suicide Claim Awarded

It is difficult to consider this Justice after what KBR and here,

AIG and their attorneys and the Department of Labor

have put her and her daughter through these many years

but

Just it is

On January 21st a decision by ALJ  Steven B Berlin awarded

Barbara Dill

Defense Base Act Benefits for the PTSD Suicide Death of her husband

Wade Dill

upon his return from Iraq more than four years ago.

We have the decision and will update with more details, surely there is more to come

as well as thanks to the many people who helped shed light on the truth, but for now

Barbara and Sara may you rest a bit easier knowing that

a belated Justice has been bestowed upon

yours and your husband and fathers’  good names

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Iraq, KBR, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Military Contractors | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CWC on PMC in Afghanistan

David Isenberg at Huffington Post

On the Commission on Wartime Contracting Hearing held last Monday

This past Monday the always useful Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan held a hearing. The topic was “Recurring problems in Afghan construction.”

As should be well known by now, the bulk of private military contracting issues does not involve people carrying and using weapons. It does involve a myriad of logistical functions, which may be dull to the average person but are critically important to the ultimate success of any military mission.

Please read his post here

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Government Contractor, Private Military Contractors, Wartime Contracting | , , | Leave a comment

The Invisible Hostage Crises

Council on Foreign Relations

It is now a year and a half since Iran jailed three American hikers on trumped-up spying charges. The three, Shane Bauer, his fiancée Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal were detained on July 31, 2009; Shourd was released on September 14 of last year. Recalling the hostage crisis that helped bring down Jimmy Carter in 1980 and that ended on the twentieth of January thirty years ago, it is striking that the Administration appears only mildly disturbed that they continue to sit in jail—as does Congress.

Nor are Bauer and Fattal the only American hostages. The USAID contractor Alan Gross has been imprisoned in Cuba for 13 months now.  He was there to help the tiny Cuba Jewish community connect with Jewish communities around the world, and for this “crime” he is accused of espionage.  If that verdict of Administration indifference seems too harsh, it is striking that the Administration just two weeks ago announced a loosening of travel restrictions to Cuba whose goals include to “enhance contact with the Cuban people and support civil society through purposeful travel, including religious, cultural, and educational travel” and especially to “Allow religious organizations to sponsor religious travel to Cuba.”  To encourage contact with religious communities in Cuba while the last guy who tried remains in jail does not suggest that Mr. Gross’s release is at the top of the Administration’s agenda.

Please read the entire post here

January 31, 2011 Posted by | USAID | , , , , | Leave a comment

Maj Eddie Pressley, Eurica Pressley go on Trial Today

Updated:  Jury selection begins

Brian Lawson The Huntsville Times

HUNTSVILLE, AL — A couple from Harvest are scheduled to go on trial this morning in Decatur on nearly $3 million in federal bribery and money laundering charges stemming from Army contract work in Kuwait and Iraq.

U.S. Army Maj. Eddie Pressley, an Army contracting officer, is charged with taking $2.8 million in bribes from a defense contractor in exchange for approving an open-ended contract to provide bottled water and fences in Kuwait and Iraq.

Prosecutors allege the deal occurred while Pressley was serving in Kuwait from October 2004 to October 2005.

The contractor, Terry Hall of Georgia, pleaded guilty to bribery and money laundering last year. Hall allegedly received $9.3 million from the arrangement with Pressley and a total of $21 million in contract work in dealings with other Army officials who have also been charged in the case.

Along with the bribery charges, the government charged the couple with money laundering of the bribery funds. They allege Mrs. Pressley set up bank accounts in Madison, Dubai and the Cayman Islands, between 2004 and 2007, moved money around and later bought property and cars.

The case is to be heard in the U.S. District Court in Decatur, before U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins.

The prosecution is being led by the U.S. Department of Justice’s of Public Integrity Section, which operates out of Washington, D.C.

Eddie Pressley is being represented by attorney Clyde E. Riley of Birmingham. Eurica Pressley’s attorneys are Robert Joe McLean and Thomas J. Spina, also of Birmingham, according to court records.

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Iraq, Kuwait, Legal Jurisdictions, Pentagon | , , , , | Leave a comment

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Quarterly Report to the US Congress Jan 30, 2011

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

SIGARS Audits this quarter found that critical reconstruction programs are at risk because of poor planning, insufficient oversight, and the inability of the Afghan authorities to sustain them.   These Audits examinded Department of Defense (DoD) plans to build and sustain facilities for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and 69 projects funded through the Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP) inLaghman Province

The Report here

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, SIGAR | , , | Leave a comment

Contractors complain audit agency has gotten too strict

By Marjorie Censer at The Washington Post

The defense industry is facing a changed — and some say more tense — relationship with the Defense Contract Audit Agency since the organization, under criticism from the Government Accountability Office, took steps to be more independent.

“While DCAA got criticized for being too lax, now they’ve gone to the other extreme,” said James J. Gallagher, a partner at McKenna Long & Aldridge.

The DCAA conducts audits meant to ensure the government gets a reasonable price for contracted services and supplies and that contractors are using the right methods, including accepted accounting and billing systems, to charge the government.

In fall 2009, the GAO released a report blasting the DCAA’s independence as compromised and concluding that the agency was failing to protect the public interest.

“They were trying to accommodate their customer, which is the DOD contracting community,” said Asif Khan, the GAO’s director for financial management and assurance, who noted that the agency of about 3,600 people was producing about 40,000 annual audits. “When they got pushback from the contractor . . . they let those findings drop.”  Please read the entire article here

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Department of Defense, Government Contractor | , | Leave a comment