Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Commission on Wartime Contracting CWC-NR-49


Commission on Wartime Contracting Release Final Report to Congress

  • Pegs waste, fraud in Iraq, Afghanistan at >$30 billion
  • Sees threat of more waste in unsustainable projects
  • Faults both government officials and contractors
  • Offers 15 recommendations for contracting reform

Download Here

August 31, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Follow the Money, Government Contractor, Iraq | , , , , | Leave a comment

Up to $60B in war funds said wasted


As much as $60 billion intended for financing U.S. wars Iraq and Afghanistan has been lost to waste and fraud over the past decade through lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and payoffs to warlords and insurgents, an independent panel investigating U.S. wartime spending estimates.

In its final report to Congress, the Commission on Wartime Contracting said the figure could grow as U.S. support for reconstruction projects and programs wanes, leaving both countries to bear the long-term costs of sustaining the schools, medical clinics, barracks, roads and power plants already built with American tax dollars.

Much of the waste and fraud could have been avoided with better planning and more aggressive oversight, the commission said. To avoid repeating the mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan, government agencies should overhaul the way they award and manage contracts in war zones, the commission recommended.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the commission’s 240-page report in advance of its scheduled public release on Wednesday.

Created by Congress in 2008, the eight-member commission held more than two dozen hearings, interviewed hundreds of military and civilian officials and traveled multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan. The panel’s final report is the most comprehensive examination so far of the U.S. dependence on contractors and the government’s ability to manage them in combat areas.

The commission said calculating the amount lost through waste and fraud is difficult because there is no commonly accepted methodology for doing so. Using information it has gathered over the past three years, however, the commission said at least $31 billion has been lost and the total could be as high as $60 billion. The commission called the estimate “conservative.”

Please read the entire story here

August 30, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Commission on Wartime Contracting, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Follow the Money, Government Contractor, Iraq, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tripoli evacuee ship arrives in Malta

There were also three Italian private security contractors who had been held captive in a Tripoli jail for a month before being freed by rebels. Their background and the circumstances of their imprisonment remained unclear

AgenceFrance Presse  August 29, 2011

VALLETTA – A boat carrying dozens of evacuees from Tripoli arrived in Malta on Monday with passengers including a girlfriend of one of Muamar Gaddafi’s sons and four Italian journalists kidnapped last week.

The Malta-chartered boat had been unable to land in Tripoli last Sunday because of gunfights raging in the city but succeeded on its second attempt later in the week and loaded up around 50 foreign nationals escaping the city.

The trip from Tripoli to Malta took around 36 hours and exhausted passengers said it had been “a disaster” due to the strong winds and rough seas.

“We’re very happy to be here,” said one man, who gave a thumbs-up sign.

Among those on board was Dutch model Talitha van Zon — a former girlfriend of one of Gaddafi’s sons, Muttasim, according to a British newspaper report.

Van Zon told the Sunday Telegraph in an interview that the rebels who captured her had threatened to burn her alive and she escaped by jumping from a hotel balcony, breaking an arm. She declined to speak to journalists in Malta.

Four Italian journalists — two from Corriere della Sera, one from La Stampa and one from Catholic newspaper Avvenire — were also on board. The four were kidnapped for 24 hours last week and their driver was shot, apparently by Gaddafi loyalists.

There were also three Italian private security contractors who had been held captive in a Tripoli jail for a month before being freed by rebels. Their background and the circumstances of their imprisonment remained unclear

Please see the original here

August 29, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Journalists, Libya, Private Security Contractor | , , | Leave a comment

Defense Contractors Face Withheld Payments Over Systems Flaws

Tony Capaccio Bloomberg August 29, 2011

The Pentagon is imposing a new contract provision which calls for withholding as much as 10 percent of payments to defense companies when it finds“significant” shortcomings in any of six business systems used to track performance and cost of weapons programs or services.

The Defense Contract Management Agency in October decertified the Earned Value system used by Lockheed's Fort Worth, Texas aircraft unit to track costs and schedules, a Pentagon spokeswoman said. Photo: Lockheed Martin

The measure is intended to protect taxpayers from overbilling. It focuses on the systems that companies such asLockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the No. 1 defense contractor, use to estimate costs for bids, purchase goods from subcontractors or manage government property and materials.

A rule, which took effect Aug. 16, requires that all new contracts include language that spells out the potential for withholding payments due to deficiencies, such as those involving the standard “Earned Value Management” system used to determine whether companies are meeting cost and schedule goals

As initially drafted, the Pentagon would have been empowered to withhold as much as 20 percent of billings. After industry complaints, that was cut to a 10 percent maximum in the fiscal 2011 defense policy bill.

The rule resulted from an August 2009 hearing of the congressionally mandated Commission on Wartime Contracting at which major business-system deficiencies were described within companies working in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“These changes are long overdue and reflect potential risk associated with longstanding and continuing contractor business system deficiencies,” said commission Co-Chairman Michael Thibault in an e-mail

Please read the entire story here

August 29, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Department of Defense, Government Contractor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You, Me, and Irene: Civilian Contractors and Deployed service members and families prepare for Irene

US Forces Iraq DVDIS News  August 27th, 2011

BAGHDAD – As Hurricane Irene begins its path up the east coast, service members and contractors deployed to Iraq are doing whatever they can to ensure the safety and well-being of their families living in the storm’s path.

According to early Saturday morning reports Irene has already hit the coast of North Carolina, causing power outages and significant property damages.

“Of course we have a lot of service members whose families are in the area. Our concerns are for them as well as all Americans impacted. We’ll do all we can to support them,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Buchanan, senior official spokesman for United States Forces – Iraq.

Despite being thousands of miles away from home, those deployed to the New Embassy Compound in Baghdad have been doing all they can to prepare their families by making sure they purchase enough groceries, batteries, water, and other items essential to prepare for an emergency.

“I talked with my wife last night to find out what they have done to prepare for the storm and made sure she has communication with people who can help,” said Lt. Col. Willie Harris, chief of media
outreach, USF-I, and a Petersburg, Va., native

One of the most difficult things about being overseas during a potential natural disaster is the fact that those deployed here cannot physically reach out and touch their belongings as the storm, which is reported to have up to 100-mph winds, passes over their homes.

“I am worried about my son and I am worried about my home,” said Erin Dunn, a civilian contractor and a Chesapeake, Va., native, “It’s hard because, even though someone is living in my home, he is planning on being out of town this week.”

Please read the entire story here

August 27, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Iraq | , , , | Leave a comment

DOJ Appeals Ruling In Torture Suit Against Rumsfeld

Blog of the Legal Times  August 26, 2011

The U.S. Justice Department wants a federal appeals court in Washington to overturn a judge’s ruling that said an American contractor detained in Iraq can sue former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for alleged abuses.

U.S. District Judge James Gwin this month ruled for the contractor, an American civilian and former Army veteran who provided translation services to the military in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. Gwin said Rumsfeld is not entitled to qualified immunity. The judge’s decision is here.

The contractor, whose name is confidential in the suit in Washington federal district court, “has a right to be free from conduct and conditions of confinement that shook the conscience,” Gwin said.

Gwin of Cleveland federal district court took over the case in January 2010 from Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Gwin is sitting by designation in Washington to hear the suit, filed in 2008.

A Justice Department lawyer, James Whitman of the Civil Division’s torts branch, said in a court filing (PDF) this week that Rumsfeld is entitled to the interlocutory appeal because Gwin rejected Rumsfeld’s qualified immunity argument

Please read the entire post at the Blog of the Legal Times

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Legal Jurisdictions, Pentagon | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bomb at U.N. building in NIgeria kills 18


ABUJA, Nigeria, Aug. 26 (UPI)A suicide car bomb collapsed an interior wall at the U.N. building in Abuja, Nigeria, Friday, killing at least 18 people and injuring others, officials said.

U.N. officials said the number of dead was likely to rise considerably, The New York Times reported.

Witnesses reported seeing Red Cross officials taking bodies from the building to the National Hospital after the 11 a.m. blast, CNN reported.

Rescue officials were at the building helping to extract people from the rubble, witnesses said.

The National Hospital in Abuja treated “many casualties, lots of them seriously injured,” a hospital official told CNN.

Please read the entire report at UPI

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost in Translation: How The Army Wastes Linguists Like Me

Wired’s Danger Room  August 24, 2011

It’s no secret that the U.S. Army has a language barrier to overcome in Iraq and Afghanistan. A decade of war has led an English-constrained military to seek all kinds of quick fixes, from translator gadgets to private contractors — something Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lamented this week. But more galling is the fact that the few soldiers who do speak Arabic, Pashto and Dari are still being wasted, even in the warzones where they’re needed the most. I know — because I was one of them.

The Army spends years and hundreds of thousands of dollars training each of its foreign-language speakers. At the same time, it uses costly contractors to work the same jobs for which its own linguists have trained. In Iraq and Afghanistan, private-sector linguists are largely replacing their military counterparts rather than augmenting their numbers, an expensive redundancy

Please read the story here

August 25, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Interpreters, Iraq | , , , , , | 1 Comment

2 Israeli pilots released by Eritrea worked for Ofers

Globes  August 24, 2011

Eritrea has released two Israeli pilots, Vered Aharonson and Yehuda Maoz, whom it held for ten days. Hebrew daily “Yediot Ahronot” reports that they had transported weapons and munitions to Eritrea for a German ship owned by Ofer Holdings Group’sOfer Shipping Group to defend it against Somali pirates.

The pilots flew to Eritrea on July 29, after notifying Israeli air traffic control at Ben Gurion Airport that they were going to pick up an injured person in Eritrea. In fact, the plane’s cargo bay carried arms, including Kalashnikov rifles.

The manifest did not list the arms, but other items. The pilots were arrested after an unannounced inspection by Eritrean security forces. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was worried that the pilots had no authorization, and could have been jailed for years. Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman ordered a strong diplomatic effort to obtain their release. Following the pilots release, they returned to Israel yesterday.

The Israeli authorities are investigating whether the pilots acted legally and if legal action should be taken against them.

An Ofer Shipping Group spokesman told “Yediot Ahronot” in response, “We do not comment on the security of our ships against pirates

Please read the entire story here

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractors Kidnapped, Eritrea, Legal Jurisdictions, Pirates, Somalia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

.KBR Requests That Losing Rape Claimant Pay Company’s Legal Fees

WSJ Law Blog  August 23, 2011

The skirmishing has not yet subsided in the high-profile suit brought by Jamie Leigh Jones, the Houston woman who claimed that she was raped while working in Iraq for defense contractor KBR

Jones had sought $145 million in damages against KBR, claiming it condoned a hostile sexual climate in Iraq, but a jury last month rejected her claims.

Now, KBR wants Jones to pay for its legal fees and court costs. Here’s a report on the filing by the Disputing blog.

In its motion seeking to recover more than $2 million in fees, KBR alleged that Jones’ rape and hostile work environment claims were fabricated and frivolous. The company has also requested that she cover its court costs of $145,000.

In a reply brief, Jones countered that there is “nothing frivolous” about her claims, as evidenced by the fact that the judge agreed to let her proceed to trial and the jury deliberated for more than 10 hours before reaching its verdict.

Her lawyer, Todd Kelly, told the Law Blog that in 16 years of practicing law he has never had a case where a defendant requested that a plaintiff cover its legal fees.

Jones does not have the means to cover KBR’s fee request, “nor could I,” Kelly said. “They have beaten us and now they are attempting to crush us,” he added. “This is an attempt by KBR to chill other people from bringing claims against them

Please read the entire post here

August 23, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, KBR, Rape | , , | Leave a comment

Germany wants armed guards on Europe ships: official

LONDON (Reuters) Germany plans to lobby other European Union countries to allow the deployment of private armed guards on their merchant ships in high-risk areas as a piracy crisis escalates, ministry officials said.

But analysts said the initiative was likely to face legal and practical difficulties.

Somali piracy is costing the world economy billions of dollars a year, and international navies are stretched to combat the menace in the Indian Ocean due to the vast distances involved. In desperation, more shipping companies are considering deploying private armed guards on their vessels.

The German government is looking into changing the country’s weapons laws to allow security personnel to bear firearms on ships in high-risk areas. It could also certify those private security companies that could be used on merchant vessels, a government official said.

“Our goal is to develop a coordinated approach to be presented at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting in September, and EU governments are the main partners to bring on board,” said Jan Gerd Becker-Schwering with the German economy ministry. “To go this alone would not be beneficial.”

Please read more at Reuters

August 23, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Pirates, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment

Military superbug, quiet civilian epidemic

What this article fails to point out is that Acinetobacter baumannii infections were extremely rare in the US prior to the invasion of Iraq.  The Iraq Infections website mapped the spread of this Superbug from the military medical system to community hospitals across our country beginning in 2004. Acinetobacter baumannii spread from Landstuhl and the three main military hospital centers, to the VA hospitals, to the community hospitals.

Severely injured Civilian Contractors were repatriated via the military medical evacuation system then delivered to unsuspecting community hospitals in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and the many third world countries the TCN’s come from.

The quiet civilian epidemic was allowed to propagate due to the DoD and CDC‘s concerted effort to cover up this disaster that the Military had created themselves.  The DoD promoted such notions as the insurgents were putting Acinetobacter on bombs and the Main Stream Media (here and here) parroted the propaganda.   The CDC claimed they were not “authorized” to talk about it.

The military knew all along that Acinetobacter baumannii was a hospital acquired organism yet promoted the lie that it came from the soil in Iraq.  The original strains of Ab infecting soldiers and contractors were matched to the European (Landstuhl) strains which were already fast becoming a problem there.

See some of the Casualties of Acinetobacter baumanii

Military superbug, quiet civilian epidemic

(Notice even this reporter cannot escape the notion that the dust in Iraq was responsible)

A thick layer of dust covers the blazing hot combat fields of Afghanistan and Iraq, getting under soldiers’ helmets, chalking up their fatigues and covering exposed skin. When enemy fire hits, troops often sustain severe burns and open wounds with shredded surrounding skin. Medical aid is generally faster than in any other U.S. wars, thanks to technology and a transport chain designed for high speed. When medics come, there’s an efficient process of lifting wounded troops onto open transport vehicles, prodding them with devices to assess vitals, wrapping their wounds and giving them fluids and blood. But during all that activity, the dust, the many hands and bandages, open wounds and needle punctures give other enemies — microscopic superbugs — an opportunity to attack from the inside.

For troops wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the most prolific superbugs has been an almost exclusively hospital-bred strain of bacteria known as “Iraqibacter,” a mutated version of the common acinetobacter baumannii. While military hospitals have waged a somewhat successful internal battle against the bacteria, for civilian hospitals in the U.S. and around the world, these bugs are a formidable foe.

“The data we were seeing shocked us into action,” (is five years the normal reaction time?) said Colonel Dr. Duane Hospenthal, Infectious Diseases Consultant for the U.S. Army Surgeon General.

What Duane Hospenthal previously told the press:

Hospenthal added that he believes there is little cause for concern. “It’s a low-grade, low-virulence pathogen that can be recovered from soil and water. Without having it blasted into you or your being immunocompromised, it’s not going to hurt you. We still see Acinetobacter, but
now that it’s been recognized, people are less excited about it here.
It’s hard for me to even understand if this is a big issue.”

In fall 2008, the military expanded its infection monitoring and control system, also known as GEIS (Global Emerging Infectious Surveillance), to include acinetobacter and other multidrug-resistant organisms. This overhaul followed a spate of high-profile stories in Wired magazine and on the PBS program “Nova” about the prevalence of acinetobacter at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Please read the entire story here

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Acinetobacter, Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Department of Defense, Iraq, Pentagon, Propaganda | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Attack on British Council kills 10 – but panic room saves teachers

Yesterday G4S Secure Solutions, the security contractor that guards the council’s staff confirmed that three of its Afghan employees were killed while six others, three Nepalese former Gurkhas and three Afghans, were injured

By Terri Judd and Aleem Agha in Kabul   The Independent  August 20, 2011

The Taliban brought terror to the streets of Kabul again yesterday with a double suicide strike at the British Council compound in the Afghan capital, which left at least 10 people dead.

Militants stormed the building, starting an eight-hour gun battle with Afghan security forces and New Zealand special forces as teachers from the charity sheltered in a panic room.

The attack, apparently timed to coincide with the 92nd anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence from Britain, was aimed at the UK. Once again, though, it was the locals who bore the brunt of the violence

Read more here

August 20, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, G4S | , , , , | Leave a comment

Forged licence to kill: NADRA begins revalidation of arms licences

ISLAMABAD: Express Tribune
The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has initiated the revalidation process of arms licences after evidence surfaced that thousands issued by the interior ministry are forged against the backdrop of rising incidents of violence.

“It’ll be difficult for us to verify the licences without complete documentation,” a senior official of the Arms Licence Management System (ALMS) told The Express Tribune. “Around 32, 000 fake arms licences issued by the interior ministry in the last three years will be forwarded to NADRA Registration Centres (NRCs) for confirmation.” Despite the ban around 8,590 arm licences were issued by NADRA on the PM’s directions, he said. “We are not entertaining incomplete applications at all.” Notices sent by the government to NADRA for 178 arm licences were fake, he added. NADRA is likely to raise the issue of 138 forged licences issued to foreigners with the interior ministry’s approval.

A Senate panel was informed in April that these licences were issued to American defence contractor, DynCorp, which paid out $0.2 million as illegal gratification with assistance from the American envoy to Pakistan in 2009.

An interior ministry spokesperson denied the allegation that they were sending incomplete data to NADRA. He said 23,000 fake licenses have already been cancelled. An employee of the Ministry of Information Technology who issued these licenses with the complicity of senior officials of the interior ministry was dismissed from service. “We have been directed to send all relevant details to NADRA to make the process transparent.” According to details issued by NADRA original CNICs and original licences are a prerequisite for revalidation. NADRA is verifying the CNICs from its database to check their authenticity while the applicant’s credentials will be vetted by law enforcement agencies. All original booklets will be forwarded by NADRA to the interior ministry for crosschecking

Please read the entire story here

August 20, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, DynCorp, Follow the Money | , , , | Leave a comment

Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement; Contractors Performing Private Security Functions (DFARS Case 2011-D023)

Federal Register  August 19, 2011

A Rule by the Defense Acquisition Regulations System on 08/19/2011

DoD is issuing an interim rule amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to implement sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, which establish minimum processes and requirements for the selection, accountability, training, equipping, and conduct of personnel performing private security functions

Please see the original and read more here

August 19, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Government Contractor, Private Security Contractor | , , , , | Leave a comment