Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room November 2, 2012
Just days after an inspector general report revealed that a giant Pentagon contractor performed “unsatisfactory” work in Afghanistan, the U.S. Air Force awarded the firm another multimillion-dollar pot of cash.
Virginia’s DynCorp, which performs everything from private security to construction for the U.S. military, has re-upped with Air Force to help pilots learn basic flying skills on the T-6A/B Texan II aircraft, a training plane. The deal is only the latest between DynCorp and the Air Force on the Texan II: In June, the Air Force Materiel Command gave the company a deal worth nearly $55 million for training services. The latest one, announced late Thursday, is worth another $72.8 million, and lasts through October 2013.
But the Air Force’s lucrative vote of confidence in DynCorp comes not even a week after the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction blasted the company for performing “unsatisfactory” construction work at an Afghan Army base in Kunduz. The base was “at risk of structural failure” when the watchdogs initially inspected, but the Army Corps of Engineers chose to settle DynCorp’s contract, a move that awarded the company “$70.8 million on the construction contracts and releas[ed] it from any further liabilities and warranty obligation.” (.pdf)
A DynCorp spokeswoman, Ashley Burke, told Bloomberg News that the company disputed the special inspector general’s findings. For its part, the special inspector general took to tweeting photographs of what it called “DynCorp’s failed work at #Afghan #Army Base in #Kunduz.
Arabian Business June 26, 2012
Dubai-based military contractor Anham has won a contract worth an estimated US $8.1bn to provide food to US troops serving in Afghanistan.
Anham will succeed present contractor Supreme Foodservice after it became embroiled in a billing dispute with the Pentagon.
“We have a long track record of conducting large-scale, successful operations in the most demanding conditions,” said Anham in a statement. “Whether it is our support of the US troops and state department in Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan or the US army in Afghanistan, we deliver the best services on time and within budget.”
The present contract with Supreme Foodservice was inked in 2005, costing the US government nearly US$6.8bn.
This year, however, payments to Supreme Foodservice have been reduced, following claims by the Pentagon that they have overpaid the supplier by US$750m.
GovConWire June 5, 2012
DynCorp International has won a potential $198,095,668 contract to provide administration and management services to U.S. special operations forces stationed in the Philippines, the Defense Department announced Monday.
The Navy awarded the potential five-year cost-plus-incentive-fee contract, which could include a $180,086,970 target cost and a $18,008,698 maximum target fee.
Support for the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines will include work for command and staff; public safety; air operations and port operations; supply; welfare and recreation; facilities; utilities; base support vehicles and equipment; and environmental services.
Dan Froomkin Huffington Post April 30, 2012
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 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.”
Dina Rasor TruthOut January 26, 2012
The Department of Defense (DoD) came in the lowest in the government on competing their procurement contracts. According to the Center for Public Integrity:
While the Pentagon says its level of competition has remained steady over the past 10 years, data available through the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation, which provides competition data on federal agencies, show that the dollars flowing into single-bid contracts have almost tripled since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Nor has that trend been reversed since the 2009 Obama administration memo on competition;Defense Department dollars flowing into noncompetitive procurements continue to grow.
Over the past 10 years, the Pentagon has competed only about 60 percent of its total contract dollars, which stands in stark contrast to other large federal agencies. The State Department, for example, competed 75 percent of its contract dollars in fiscal year 2010, while the Energy Department competed almost 94 percent of its contract dollars. The U.S. Agency for International Development, which faced heavy criticism in the early days of the Afghanistan conflict for handing out sole-source contracts, competed almost 80 percent of its total contract dollars in fiscal year 2010. Even the Department of Homeland Security, which was blasted for a series of disastrous contracts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, outstripped the Pentagon on competed contracts: it competed almost 77 percent of its contract dollars in 2010.
There are several reasons that these numbers may be low. If the DoD competes an original contract, the winning contractor usually gets all the follow-on contracts, often with no new competition, and those service contracts or weapons procurement are then seen as being a competitive contract for years after the initial competition.
Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded an $88,860,348 firm-fixed-price modification under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5031) for a 12-month renewal of 240 field service representatives to install liner blanket kits, install modernization safety kits, and conduct general maintenance work on the Cougar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle fleet supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Work will be performed in the theater of operations throughout Afghanistan, and is expected to be completed December 31, 2012. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity
The Economic Populist October 20, 2011
One would think once a company had been convicted of defrauding the government, they wouldn’t see another dime. Not so, shows a new DoD report. Believe this or not, the DoD has awarded over $1.1 trillion dollars in defense contracts to companies have been convicted, found liable, or settled fraud charges earlier with the DoD since 2001.
Senator Bernie Sanders summed up some of the numbers buried in the report:
Over the past ten years, DOD awarded $254,564,581 to companies that were convicted of a crime in connection with a DOD contract during that same period of time. To make matters worse, DOD awarded $33,079,743 of that to convicted companies after they had been convicted.
Over the past ten years, DOD awarded $573,693,095,938 to companies that were found liable or settle charges of a civil wrong in connection with a DOD contract during that same period of time. To make matters worse, DOD awarded $398,081,775,397 of that to those companies after they settled the charges or were found liable.
The numbers become increasingly shocking if you look at company affiliations. Over the past ten years, DOD awarded $1,104,423,438,564.10 to entities affiliated with companies that have a history of fraud
From GovConExec News September 6, 2011
The Veterans Affairs Department awarded spots on a $12 billion contract to modernize IT operations to 14 firms, including Booz Allen, CACI, HP and Harris.
DynCorp International, PAE Group, SAIC and Tetra Tech, among others, were added to a five-year, $10 billion IDIQ contract from State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs to provide worldwide civilian police and criminal justice assistance.
The U.S. Army selected Northrop Grumman Technical Services, Inc., L-3 Communication Services, Inc., Mission Essential Personnel, CACI Premier Technology Inc., and DynCorp International and AECOM’s joint venture Global Linguist Solutions to compete for task orders on its $9.7 billion defense language interpretation translation enterprise contract.
The U.S. Army awarded 16 contractors a place on a $997 million contract for force protection measures. Awardees include DRS, ITT, SAIC, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, BAE, Ideal Innovations, among others.
Office: Office of Logistics Management
Location: Acquisition Management
Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky All Gov June 15, 2011
FALLS CHURCH, Va.–(EON: Enhanced Online News)—DynCorp International (DI) announced today that it has been selected as a subcontractor by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) [NYSE: SAI] to support the 1st Theater Sustainment Command (1st TSC), providing munitions logistics services support for Department of Defense and coalition forces throughout the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility.
The subcontract has a one-year base period of performance and four one-year options. The total contract value is more than $33 million, if all options are exercised. Work will be performed primarily in Kuwait.
Under the subcontract, DynCorp International will help provide labor and other resources necessary for the storage and handling of ammunition. Read the entire press release here
ASIS Awarded Department of Defense Contract to Develop Standard to Improve Performance and Accountability of Private Security Service Providers
– ASIS International has been awarded a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop an ANSI standard that provides principles and requirements for a quality assurance management system for private sector security organizations to abide by and demonstrate accountability to internationally recognized norms of civil and human rights while providing quality assurance in the provision of their products and services.
The standard will enable private sector security service providers to demonstrate their operations and services are consistent with the principles of the “Montreux Document on Pertinent International Legal Obligations and Good Practices for States related to Operations of Private Military and Security Companies during Armed Conflict” and the “International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers” (ICoC).
“Private security service providers are critical elements for supporting peace and stability efforts in regions where the capacity of societal institutions have been overwhelmed by disruptive events,” says Dr. Marc Siegel, chair of the PSC.1 technical committee and commissioner, ASIS Global Standards Initiative. “This global initiative will codify benchmarks for best practices consistent with the goals of assuring quality of services and respect for human and civil rights.”
The proposed standard, Management System for Quality of Private Security Company Operations – Requirements with Guidance (ASIS PSC.1), builds off the Montreux Document and ICoC to assure conformity to pertinent legal obligations and best practices related to operations of private military and security companies in conditions where the rule of law has been undermined by conflict or disaster. It provides auditable requirements based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act model for third-party certification. Read the entire Press Release here
ArmorGroup caused an international scandal and lost its State Department contract. Why’s the company still protecting one of America’s most dangerous diplomatic outposts?
“If there’s a better argument for making this mission an inherently governmental function, this situation is it,” she says. “We’ve got one discredited company to be replaced by another discredited company.”
More than a year has passed since the State Department decided to drop its contract with the security firm protecting the US embassy in Kabul, following an international scandal featuring drunken debauchery fit for a Van Wilder flick. But the company that introduced the world to vodka butt-shots is still on the job—and it doesn’t seem to have plans to stand down anytime soon. Long after the expiration of its initial contract, in fact, ArmorGroup North America is currently hiring more guards to protect the Kabul embassy.
The firm sparked controversy in September 2009, when a Washington-based watchdog group sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighting a list of violations by the company, from a chronic guard shortage to the hiring of personnel who couldn’t speak English and would be unable to communicate with their colleagues in an emergency. But the most shocking charges concerned what the Project on Government Oversight called a “Lord of the Flies environment”—hazing and wild partying depicted in a series of graphic photographs showing members of the Kabul embassy security force drunk, half-naked, and engaged in an array of NSFW behavior.
Embassygate tainted not just ArmorGroup North America (AGNA) and its parent company, the security conglomerate G4S, but the State Department, too, leading to investigations by Congress and State’s inspector general. In the years leading up to the scandal, it turned out, the State Department had repeatedly found fault with the company’s performance—at one point stating in an internal memo that “the security of the US Embassy in Kabul is in jeopardy” as a result—but failed to fire AGNA. A former high-level AGNA employee also came forward to say that he’d warned the State Department about “lewd, aberrant, and sexually deviant behavior” by the company’s recruits more than two years before this conduct made global headlines. Again, no action was taken.
In December 2009, deeply embarrassed by the controversy, the State Department said it planned to axe AGNA once its contract came up for renewal that summer. But when that time came, the agency ended up extending the firm’s contract for another six months while it brought in another security provider. “Because the current KESF [Kabul Embassy Security Force] contract can only be extended through December 30th, we must have the company on the ground and operating by then,” a spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security told Mother Jones last summer.
In late September, the agency selected the Tennessee-based firm EOD Technology to take over the contract. But December 30 came and went with no changing of the guards. And AGNA apparently believed it was staying put, at least for a while. In mid-January, the company posted a job ad on Careerbuilder noting that it was “recruiting Protective Security Specialists to provide security to the U.S. Embassy in, Kabul, Afghanistan.”
A spokeswoman for AGNA, Susan Pitcher, confirmed that the firm is still protecting the embassy, but declined to comment further, citing a State Department policy about contractors speaking to reporters. EODT also declined to comment. But a Diplomatic Security spokesman told Mother Jones that the transition has been delayed. Now, he said, the handover won’t happen until May. “In order to provide EODT with adequate time to make an orderly transition, it has been given 120 days from the end of AGNA’s contract,” the spokesman said.
Sources familiar with the security force contract questioned whether the delay has anything to do with the transition process; one suggested that the State Department may merely be stalling after unwittingly selecting a replacement for AGNA that also has a controversial background.
In October, a week after the agency chose EODT for the job, the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has conducted a years-long investigation into private security firms in Afghanistan, released a report leveling serious allegations at both EODT and AGNA. It accused the companies of relying on local warlords to staff their guard forces—strongmen with unclear allegiances and possible Taliban ties. In one case, according to the report, EODT hired a group of Afghans who had recently been fired by ArmorGroup for “providing sensitive security information to…a Taliban-affiliated warlord.” (In response, EODT claimed that “all leaders which EODT utilized were made known to the US military at every stage of mobilization.” AGNA countered that it only relied on Afghans who had been recommended by special operations troops.)
Making matters worse for EODT, federal agents raided its offices in early December in connection with an investigation into potential export violations involving the transit of weapons or other military-grade materials. The company has said it is cooperating with the investigation and has denied any wrongdoing. “We obviously would not have been selected for some of the sensitive and important projects we handle for our country around the world had we not been thoroughly investigated before and found to be trustworthy,” the firm said in a statement. A State Department official said the agency was unaware the company was the subject of a federal investigation until stories about the raid appeared in the press, and insisted the probe “has not held up the transition.”
For Danielle Brian, the executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, the fact that the State Department handed the embassy job to a company saddled with its own serious baggage illustrates the flawed logic of placing contractors in roles that she believes should be performed by US government personnel. “If there’s a better argument for making this mission an inherently governmental function, this situation is it,” she says. “We’ve got one discredited company to be replaced by another discredited company.”
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Defense Systems Division of Herndon, Va. was awarded a $49,694,900 contract which will research, develop, and deliver an integrated software solution that improves upon the targeting functionality currently performed by Air Force and joint targeting automation software. At this time, $2,173 has been obligated. Air Force Research Laboratory/RIKF, Rome, N.Y., is the contracting activity (FA8750-11-D-0001; basic orders 0001 and 0002).
The Boeing Co., of Wichita, Kan., was awarded a $13,168,213 contract modification which will provide for Option Year II support for one of two special air mission aircraft assigned to the 89th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Md., which provides air transportation for the President. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. OC-ALC/GKSKB, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8106-09-C-0005; PO0022).
Hamilton Sundstrand Corp., Windsor Locks, Conn., is being awarded a $24,636,056 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for procurement and installation of Electronic Propeller Control System kits into the C-130T aircraft for the Navy Reserves (up to 20) and the LC-130H aircraft for the Air Force National Guard (up to 5), including non-recurring engineering, technical and logistics services. Work will be performed in Windsor Locks, Conn. (65 percent), and Crestview, Fla. (35 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contracts combines purchases for the Navy Reserves ($20,490,770; 83 percent) and the Air Force National Guard ($4,145,286; 17 percent). This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-11-D-0008).
Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Inc., Newport News, Va., is being awarded $10,960,474 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2110) in support of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) engineering detailed design. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to complete in September 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Supervisor of Shipbuilding Conversion and Repair, Newport News, Va., is the contracting activity.
DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY
Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training & Support, Orlando, Fla., is being awarded a $7,360,467 modification to a cost plus fixed-fee contract (HR0011-10-C-0042). This award is for the National Cyber Range (NCR) program. The contractor will build on the preliminary design created in Phase I and tasks that have been accomplished in Phase II to date. At the completion of the revised Phase II program, the contractor will demonstrate the capabilities of the flexible automated Cyber Test Range NCR. The Phase I and Revised Phase II deliverables including the Concept of Operations and the Detailed Engineering Plan (DEP) are the basis of the revised Phase II effort. Work will be performed in Orlando, Fla. (69.810 percent); Cherry Hill, N.J. (16.262 percent); Princeton, N.J. (4.073 percent); Columbia, Md. (0.120 percent); Albuquerque, N.M. (1.033 percent); San Antonio, Texas (0.002 percent); Washington, D.C., (8.700 percent). The work is expected to be completed July 7, 2011. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is the contracting activity.