Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Diplomatic tit for tat over held WA skipper in Eritrea

Head shot of Adrian Troy, skipper with WA Broome based Arrow Pearls, arrested in Eritrea

ABC Australia  July 21, 2011

The Federal Government has imposed travel restrictions on the Consul General of Eritrea after being refused access to a Broome skipper detained in the African nation.

Five months after Western Australian pearling skipper Adrian Troy and three British men were detained in Eritrea, the British and Australian Governments have made their first move, imposing limited sanctions.

The United Kingdom has barred Eritrean diplomats from travelling outside London and the Australian Government has responded with similar restrictions.

The Eritrean Consul General now cannot travel outside a 100 km radius of Melbourne, without permission from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The four men were arrested in December over what is believed to have been a dispute with the Eritrean Navy.

The Federal Government says it will continue to push for consular access until it is granted.

July 20, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Eritrea, Pirates, Propaganda | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

At Kabul airport, exodus of U.S. aid goes on

U.S. agencies have “limited visibility over U.S. cash that enters the Afghan economy — leaving it vulnerable to fraud and diversion to the insurgency,” SIGAR said in a statement.

by Jason Ukman at The Washington Post  July 20, 2011

Kabul’s international airport has long been seen as a virtual black hole for foreign currency, the perfect venue through which travelers can smuggle out hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid that was intended for development projects.

More than a year after The Washington Post first disclosed American concerns about the airport, a report released Wednesday by the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction concludes that attempts to choke off the exodus of cash have been plagued by a hard-to-fathom set of obstacles.

The installation of currency-counting machines to better trace illicit funds at the airport — one of the centerpieces of a plan by the Department of Homeland Security — was delayed by seven months because U.S. and Afghan officials could not agree on where to put them.

Once the machines were installed, in April, Afghan customs officials began using them to count the cash but not to record serial numbers or to report financial data, necessary steps to determine whether the money being carried out of the country had been siphoned from aid flowing in.

It took eight months for U.S. and Afghan officials to agree on where to place signs at the airport informing passengers of the requirement to declare cash totalling more than $22,000. Americans officials were unable to get approval to place the signs at the entrance to the airport, so they are now located beyond the point where passengers pass through customs.

“As a result,” the report noted, “passengers are not informed of the requirement to declare the currency until it is too late.”

Meantime, VIPs are still allowed to leave the airport without having their cash scanned through the currency counters — one of the main points of concern for U.S. officials, who believe some businessmen are carrying bagfuls of illicit cash to the Persian Gulf and elsewhere

Please read the entire post at Checkpoint Washington

July 20, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Department of Defense, Follow the Money, State Department, USAID | , , , | Leave a comment

GHA Report AID POLICY: Record donor aid, record costs

DAKAR, 20 July 2011 (IRIN) Institutional donor aid in 2010 was at its highest-ever level – US$16.7 billion – but so were aid costs, says aid watchdog Development Initiatives in its annual Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) report, released today.

The report, which looks at aid year-on-year over the past decade, also shows that disaster preparedness is consistently sidelined; and that emergency aid is spent in the same countries year-on-year, begging the question: is it the right solution to the problem?

Largely responsible for the boost in aid were the USA, Canada and Japan, according to the GHA. Their increases offset the declining aid budgets of a number of donors, including the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Korea, Portugal and Ireland – all of which watched their aid budgets shrink for the second year in a row.

Donors outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) [www.oecd.org/dac/] also gave more: between 2005 and 2009 their foreign assistance more than doubled from $4.6 billion to $10.4 billion, according to a second Development Initiatives report by Kerry Smith: Non-DAC Donors and Humanitarian Aid: Shifting Structures, Changing Trends.

But the additional funding does not go as far as it used to: price rises in food and fuel have “put pressure on the system and reduced buying power”, said GHA programme leader Jan Kellett. Fats and cereal costs more than doubled between 2007 and 2008, and continued to rise throughout 2010, while the cost of delivering them also continued to rise, according to Development Initiatives and the UN.

The UN estimates international food prices reached an all-time high in February 2011.

This and other factors meant the unmet needs in UN emergency appeals “worryingly” grew from 30 to 37 percent, according to Kellett. UN appeals for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Chad, Central African Republic and Uganda all experienced a widening in their funding gaps in 2010, according to the report.

Another area of unmet need was disaster preparedness and risk reduction, which received just 75 US cents out of every $100 spent on aid, according to Development Initiatives, reaching just $835 million in 2009.

Please read the entire article here        Read the report here

July 20, 2011 Posted by | Humanitarian Assistance, United Nations | , , , | Leave a comment

SIGAR Audit-11-12 Anti-Corruption / Afghan Major Crimes Task Force

 SIGAR  OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR AFGHANISTAN RECONSTRUCTION

U.S. Agencies Have Provided Training and Support to Afghanistan’s Major Crimes Task Force, but Reporting and Reimbursement Issues Need to be Addressed

SIGAR Audit -11-12  July 19, 2011

What SIGAR Reviewed
Corruption continues to be a significant problem in Afghanistan. To help fight corruption, the Afghan government
established the Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF) in 2009 as the principal Afghan government agency responsible
for investigating and processing major anti-corruption, kidnapping, and organized crime cases.                In particular, the
MCTF conducts corruption investigations of high-level Afghan government officials. U.S. government agents,
primarily from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), mentor and train Afghan investigators who are assigned
to the MCTF. SIGAR conducted this audit to (1) determine the nature and extent of U.S. assistance for the MCTF
and (2) evaluate whether U.S. assistance was provided in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. This
report is part of a series of audits by SIGAR addressing U.S. government efforts to strengthen anti-corruption
capabilities of the Afghan government. We conducted our work in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Washington, D.C., from
September 2010 to July 2011, in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

Please see the original and what SIGAR found and recommended here

July 20, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Contractor Oversight, Follow the Money | , , , , | Leave a comment

SIGAR Audit -11-13 July 20, 2011

SIGAR Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

Limited Interagency Coordination and Insufficient Controls over U.S. Funds in Afghanistan Hamper U.S. Efforts to Develop the Afghan Financial Sector and Safeguard US Cash

SIGAR Audit -11-13

What SIGAR Reviewed
Since 2002, Congress has appropriated more than $70 billion to implement security and development assistance
projects in Afghanistan, with some of those funds converted into cash and flowing through the Afghan economy.  The
United States is implementing programs to increase the capacity of Afghanistan’s central bank (Da Afghanistan Bank, or
DAB) to regulate the nation’s 17 commercial banks and to strengthen U.S. and Afghan law enforcement agencies’
oversight over the flow of funds through the Afghan economy.  This report (1) evaluates U.S. efforts to improve the
capacity of the Afghan government to regulate the financial sector (which includes commercial banks and informal
financial organizations, or hawalas) and (2) assesses the controls that U.S. agencies use to track U.S. funds as they flow
through the Afghan economy.  To accomplish these objectives, we reviewed Afghan laws and U.S. policies, plans, and
progress reports relevant to U.S. financial sector development initiatives. We met with officials from the Departments
of State, Homeland Security (DHS), Treasury, Defense (DOD), and the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID).   We conducted our work in Washington, D.C., and Kabul, Afghanistan, from October 2010 to July 2011 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

Please read the entire original report here

July 20, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Follow the Money, Government Contractor, Private Military Contractors, SIGAR, State Department, USAID | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dangerously Blurring the Line: How the DoD Allows Contractors to Grade Themselves and Write Their Own Contract Terms

One of the most egregious actions in this report was to allow the contractors to write up the requirements of the follow-on contract and then allow them to bid and win the contract.

by: Dina Rasor, Truthout | Solutions   July 20, 2011

The Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General’s (IG) office recently found that the Marine Corp allowed their contactors for a vital troop protection system to act as government employees, including directing and evaluating government employees’ work, grading their own work and writing up requirements for the follow-on contract. The contractors then bid on those requirements and won multimillion-dollar contracts.

The IG issued a report this month with the mundane title, “Contract Management of Joint Logistics Integrator Services in Support of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles Needs Improvement.” The report points out, in glaring examples, how the Marine Corp allowed two companies to infiltrate and control two very important logistics and maintenance contracts.

The program where this abuse occurred could not be more crucial to the troops. The program does maintenance support and logistics for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles program (MRAP). MRAP is a $17.6 billion program to build or modify military vehicles with a V-shaped hull to prevent or reduce troop injuries and death from IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). MRAP was a rushed program because it had the potential to save lives and prevent severe injury at a time when IEDs were wreaking havoc on American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

From the report:

On May 2, 2007, the Secretary of Defense designated the MRAP program as the highest priority DoD acquisition program and stated that all options to accelerate the production and fielding of the MRAP capability to the theater should be identified, assessed and applied where feasible. To reduce the burden on units receiving MRAP vehicles, JPO [Joint Program Office] MRAP established a forward presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar and Kuwait. According to the Joint Supportability Plan, the JPO MRAP Forward includes personnel from the JPO, JLI [Joint Logistics Integrator] and MRAP vehicle original equipment manufacturers to form an integrated team to stand-up, coordinate and execute JPO MRAP operations in theater.

The two companies, Jacobs Technology and SAIC (Science Applications International Corp) received contracts worth $193 million and $285 million, respectively, to do this work. SAIC started out as a subcontractor in the Jacobs Technology contract and then won the bid for the follow-on contract. This contract work was provided in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait from 2007 to 2011 and the DoD provided only one government employee overseas to oversee the whole program.

Please go to TruthOut to read the entire report

July 20, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Government Contractor, Private Military Contractors | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment