Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

US not reporting all Afghan attacks

Last week the military was reluctant to announce the name of the SpecOps soldier who was killed by an Afghan SpecOps soldier.  The family reported this and the military then had to.

Another American killed by man in Afghan Army Uniform, Andrew Brittonmihalo Green Beret

Andrew Brittonmihalo

Associated Press at Yahoo News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The military is under-reporting the number of times that Afghan soldiers and police open fire on American and other foreign troops.

The U.S.-led coalition routinely reports each time an American or other foreign soldier is killed by an Afghan in uniform. But The Associated Press has learned it does not report insider attacks in which the Afghan wounds — or misses — his U.S. or allied target. It also doesn’t report the wounding of troops who were attacked alongside those who were killed.

Such attacks reveal a level of mistrust and ill will between the U.S.-led coalition and its Afghan counterparts in an increasingly unpopular war. The U.S. and its military partners are working more closely with Afghan troops in preparation for handing off security responsibility to them by the end of 2014.

In recent weeks an Afghan soldier opened fire on a group of American soldiers but missed the group entirely. The Americans quickly shot him to death. Not a word about this was reported by the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, as the coalition is formally known. It was disclosed to the AP by a U.S. official who was granted anonymity in order to give a fuller picture of the “insider” problem.

ISAF also said nothing about last week’s attack in which two Afghan policemen in Kandahar province fired on U.S. soldiers, wounding two. Reporters learned of it from Afghan officials and from U.S. officials in Washington. The two Afghan policemen were shot to death by the Americans present.

Please see the original and read the entire article here

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Department of Defense, ISAF, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SIGIR Audit Finds Some U.S. CERP Funds Went to Insurgents in Iraq

Funds from a $4 billion program intended to improve relations between the two countries were siphoned off by the enemy, a new audit finds. Eli Lake reports on why CERP was still called a success.

 

A translator for the 3-89 Cavalry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division (R) takes money from a U.S. soldier to give to the Sons of Iraq, a security group that was funded by the United States, on May 11, 2008 in Baghdad, Chris Hondros / Getty Images

Eli Lake at The Daily Beast   April 29, 2012

During the war in Iraq, battalion commanders were allocated packets of $100 bills and authorized to use them for anything from repairing a schoolhouse to paying off ex-rebels and paying blood money to the families of innocents killed by U.S. forces. But a new audit finds that in some cases that cash made its way to the pockets of the very insurgents the United States was trying to fight.

The money was part of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP), and from 2004 to 2011 the U.S. government poured $4 billion into it in Iraq. And because the Pentagon gauged CERP a success, a similar initiative is under way in Afghanistan. “We think CERP is an absolutely critical and flexible counterinsurgency tool,” Michele Flournoy, who was then undersecretary of defense for policy, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2010.

But was CERP really a success in Iraq? A 2012 audit conducted by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) and released to the public on Monday found that 76 percent of the battalion commanders surveyed believed at least some of the CERP funds had been lost to fraud and corruption. “Commanders sometimes perceived the corruption as simply a price of doing business in Iraqi culture and others perceived it as presenting a significant impediment to U.S. goals,” the report says. “Several asserted that reconstruction money may have ended up in the hands of insurgents.”

Please see the original and read the entire article here

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

SIGIR Speaks

David Isenberg Huffington Post  April 30, 2012

Today the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) has released its latest quarterly report. Here is what happening with private contractors in Iraq.

As of April 3, 2012, the Department of State (DoS) reported that 12,755 personnel supported the U.S. Mission in Iraq, down about 8 percent from the previous quarter. Current staffing comprises 1,369 civilian government employees and 11,386 (U.S., local national, and third country national) contractors. (89 percent of the total).

Of these contractors, DoS estimated that about 2,950 provided security-related services for DoS sites, down more than 22 percent from last quarter (3,800).

In February, Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides said that DoS will continue to reduce the number of contractors over the coming months in an attempt to “right size” Embassy operations.

The Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I) manages U.S. security assistance to the Government of Iraq. OSC-I is staffed by 145 U.S. military personnel, nine Department of Defense (DoD) civilians, and 4,912 contractors.

But according to SIGIR, DoS tends to undercount the number of contractors working in Iraq. It found that:

In early April, DoS asserted that only 6 U.S. government employees and 48 contractors work on what it considers reconstruction programs. This total does not include any of the several hundred personnel working under the auspices of the PDP, [Police Development Program] which remains the single-most expensive ongoing initiative financed by DoS for the benefit of Iraq. Nor does it include any of the hundreds of employees and contractors supporting the missions of OSC-I and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), though both agencies oversee projects paid for with U.S. reconstruction funds.

According to the Defense Department, if you include the OSC-I contractors, the total for private security contractors rises to 3,577.

The takeaway is that after all these years the U.S. government still has problems tracking the number of contractors working in Iraq. The SIGIR report found that:

While SPOT [Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker database, administered by DoD] data provides SIGIR with a comprehensive view of contractor and grantee personnel in Iraq, significant apparent differences exist between agency-reported contractor numbers and SPOT data. For example, DoS reported to SIGIR that there were almost 11,400 contractors supporting Mission Iraq as of April 3, 2012, while SPOT data shows 5,172 working for DoS.276 In addition, USAID reported that 1,854 contractors are currently working on USAID projects in Iraq.277 However, SPOT data shows only 110 USAID contractor and grantee personnel in Iraq as of April 1, 2012. SIGIR intends to investigate these discrepancies and provide an update in the July 2012 Quarterly Report.

With regard to security contractors the Government of Iraq (GOI) announced in February that 124 private security firms were registered to work for foreign government entities and private firms engaged in activities in Iraq, but the GOI has taken steps to minimize the presence and scope of these firms. According to the GOI, the Security and Defense Committee of the Council of Representatives has drafted legislation to reduce the number of PSC firms working in Iraq from 124 to 63. Of the remaining firms, 15 to 20 would be foreign firms and the rest would be Iraqi.

On the fraud front, some of SIGIR’s noteworthy investigations were:

Three former officers of a U.S. defense contractor, the wife of one of the officers, and four foreign nationals were indicted for their alleged roles in a fraud and moneylaundering scheme involving contracts for reconstruction projects in Iraq. The defendants were also are charged with an aggregate of 74 wire-fraud offenses.A British citizen and his company were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay kickbacks in exchange for receiving more than $23 million in DoD subcontracts from April 2006 to August 2008. The British contractor allegedly paid more than $947,500 in unlawful kickbacks to two employees of a prime contractor to the U.S. government in order to obtain these subcontracts for work performed in support of the Coalition Munitions Clearance Program (CMCP).

David Welch, a former U.S. civilian contract employee, pled guilty to conspiring to steal 38 U.S. military generators and sell them on the Iraqi black market.

As of April 10, SIGIR is continuing to work on 110 open investigations.

There are a number of PSC firms working on the Police Development Program; especially in providing security at the Baghdad Police College Annex (BPAX). At BPAX, Triple Canopy, Inc., contractors provide protective details and escort PDP convoys. Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, LLC, provides perimeter security, with Iraqi Security Forces guarding the outer perimeter. EOD Technology, Inc., operates the counter-mortar and counterrocket system, and three U.S. military personnel are attached to the RSO explosive ordnance disposal unit. Another U.S. contractor provides a computer technician who manages the classified email system used by PDP personnel.

 Follow David Isenberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/vanidan

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Government Contractor, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, Security Clearances, SIGIR, State Department, USAID | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SIGIR Quarterly Report April 2012

Special Investigator General for Iraq Reconstruction

Quarterly Report to US Congress

April 2012

Click here to view report at SIGIR site

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, SIGIR | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nicholas Dickhut, featured Friday by Rueters, killed Sunday in Afghanistan

U.S. soldier Nicholas Dickhut from 5-20 infantry Regiment attached to 82nd Airborne points his rifle at a doorway after coming under fire by the Taliban while on patrol in Zharay district in Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan

Rochester Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) — A Rochester family got the worst kind of news this morning — their son has been killed fighting in Afghanistan.

Jacqueline Carson said Monday morning that her son, Nicholas Dickhut, was killed Sunday in action in Afghanistan.

Nicholas had just been featured Friday by Reuters News Service, and was pictured in a battle with Taliban fighters.

When Jacqueline called to tell us what had happened this morning, she was still waiting for a visit from an officer with the official word of what had happened.

Nicholas was with the 520th Infantry Regiment, attached to the 82nd Airborne

The 82nd in Afghanistan

Battleland CNN

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan | , , | Leave a comment

SIGAR Report Finds Afghanistan Reconstruction Compromised By Security, Corruption

Dan Froomkin Huffington Post  April 30, 2012

An Afghan private security man, part of a private security company called Arya stands guard outside of a guest house in Herat west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 8, 2012. The push by Afghanistan's president to nationalize legions of private security guards before the end of March is putting multibillion-dollar aid projects in jeopardy and creating a shaky structure ripe for corruption and abuse, according to companies trying to make the switch.(AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi)

WASHINGTON — Afghan reconstruction efforts remain severely hampered even after nearly $100 billion in spending over the last 10 years, according to a new watchdog report. The most immediate challenge seems to stem from the insistence by Afghanistan’s government that the private army of hired guns providing security for ongoing projects be replaced with Afghan locals, who do not appear to be up to the job, the report noted.

The latest quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (or SIGAR) released on Monday also chronicles how corruption in the country shows no signs of having let up.

The report’s most urgent warning concerns the “imminent transition” from private security contractors (PSC) to the state-owned Afghan Public Protection Force.

Steven J. Trent, the acting special inspector general, expressed concerns that as many as 29 major USAID projects costing nearly $1.5 billion are at risk of full or partial termination “if the APPF cannot provide the needed security.” About half that amount has already been spent.

And whether it can is very much an open question, Trent wrote. The U.S. embassy, the Afghan government and the U.S.-led military forces agreed a year ago to check the progress of the Afghan Public Protection Force at the 6-, 9-, and 12-month marks.

“The 6-month assessment, completed in September 2011, found that the APPF was not ready to assume any of the essential PSC responsibilities to meet contract requirements — such as training, equipping, and deploying guard forces,” the report pointed out. “[T]he December assessment, which would have been at the 9-month mark, has not yet been made public” and “the deadline for the 12-month assessment has passed.”

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Contract Awards, Contract Solicitations, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Contracts Awarded, Department of Defense, ISAF, SIGAR | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SIGAR April 30, 2012 Quarterly Report to the US Congress

SIGAR  Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction

Quarterly Report to the US Congress

April 30, 2012

Click here for PDF at SIGAR Site

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, ISAF, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, SIGAR | , , , | Leave a comment

Two Private Security Firms Disbanded in Western Afghanistan

Afghan Islamic Press  April 30, 2012

Herat:  Two private security firms were disbanded in western Afghanistan, an official said Monday (April 30).

Two private security firms, Khurasan and Salahuddin, responsible of providing services to Kabul Bank, Alfalah Bank and Roshan Telecommunication Company, had been disbanded and their security handed over to police, the western police zone spokesman, Abdul Rauf Ahmadi told the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP).

They handed over their 80 weapons to the security forces, he added. Observers believe closing down activities of private security firms would help improve security situation. They believe some of the private security firms are involved in incidents of insecurity in various parts of the country.

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment