(AP) RALEIGH, N.C. — Shooting ranges and a training center built by former Delta Force members to train police and troops as next-generation warriors doesn’t qualify as a school, a designation local officials accepted in allowing construction, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
The decision throws into doubt the training center in rural Cumberland County that security contractor TigerSwan Inc. opened in 2010. Plans included building seven shooting ranges on a 1,000-acre site 18 miles from the Army’s Fort Bragg.
Local zoning rules protecting the land for farming allowed an exception for schools.
Neighboring property owners sued out of concern about stray bullets and gunfire depressing their property values.
Apex-based TigerSwan argued that besides training law officers and troops in urban warfare, heavy weapons, sniping and other military skills, its training center would also instruct adults and children in commonly taught school offerings including leadership, first aid and foreign languages, the court said.
But that stretches the local zoning law’s definition of a school, Judge Robert C. Hunter wrote for the three-judge court panel.
“We conclude that the training facility is not a permitted use as it is not a public or private, elementary or secondary school,” Hunter wrote.
TigerSwan’s attorney, former Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker, said the company and Cumberland County are weighing whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court. What will happen to the training center is a question to be decided after legal proceedings have run their course, Meeker said.
TigerSwan was founded in 2005 by former members of Delta Force, the Fort Bragg-based counter-terrorist unit. The company’s website says it has operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and seven affiliate offices in Latin America, Japan and the United Kingdom
Aljazeera August 16, 2011
A US-based military contractor has failed to provide nearly 60 per cent of the instructors needed to train Afghan police under a contract with the US government, according to an audit issued on Monday.
The audit focused on the transfer of the Afghan police training programme from the US State Department to the US Defence department.
The investigation, carried out jointly by both departments, criticised both institutions for a lack of co-ordination in regards to police training in Afghanistan, which is a priority for the US-led NATO coalition as it prepares to transfer security to Afghan forces.
Under a $1 billion, two-year contract signed between the Defence Department and DynCorps International in December 2010, the firm was required to have instructors in place within a 120-day deadline.
Defence officials “reported that the incoming contractor did not have 428 of the 728 required personnel in place within the 120-day transition period,” said the audit.
The most notable discrepancy was in the number of police mentors that DynCorps was supposed to provide to the Afghan forces.
The audit said that 213 of the 377 required “Fielded Police Mentors” were not in their positions during the transition period.
It said the shortage “placed the overall mission at risk by not providing the mentoring essential for developing the Afghan government and police force.”
SF Chronicle with Bloomberg July 7, 2011
July 7 (Bloomberg) — DynCorp International Inc., the largest U.S. contractor in Afghanistan, should refund at least $2 million it was paid by the State Department for costs that “were either not authorized or for services not provided” for Afghan police training work, according to an audit.
The payments were made because contracting officials from State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs “did not always perform a detailed review of invoices prior to payment,” said the audit released today by the Pentagon and State Department inspectors general.
Contracting officials approved invoices for unauthorized travel and purchases and excess labor costs, said the audit that examined State’s management of what’s now a $4.6 billion contract for Afghan police training and criminal justice initiatives.
Two American NATO-led troops were killed by an Afghan Border Police officer on April 4 a local official said.
The victims were teaching a group of border policemen in a meeting room in Faryab in northern Afghanistan, according to the deputy governor of Faryab province, Abdul Sattar Bariz.
The gunman escaped on foot, running toward the desert, Bariz said.
“Initial reports say that there were about six Americans inside the meeting room and only two of them have been killed,” he said, adding that he did not have many other details.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said earlier two NATO troops had been killed after an individual wearing an Afghan police uniform opened fire.
The NATO-led force did not identify the nationality of the dead.
The United States did not immediately confirm that the victims were American. The Pentagon usually does not name casualties until 24 hours after next of kin have been told of their deaths.
Afghan troops and the International Security Assistance Force were investigating the shooting, the force said.
In November, a gunman in an Afghan Border Police uniform shot and killed six US troops during a training mission in eastern Afghanistan, the force said. VOVNews/CNN
When the death of US Army Sgt. Michael Lammerts was first reported, his family thought he was a war casualty.
However, officials in Afghanistan are confirming to Eyewitness News that Sgt. Michael Lammerts and another soldier, Staff Sgt. Scott Burgess, were killed on April 4th after being shot by an Afghan Border Policeman in the Faryab province, Afghanistan
The Associated Press COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.
ITT Corp. said Monday it received two contracts from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide training services for Afghanistan’s security forces.
A contract for northern Afghanistan could be worth up to $450 million, and one for southern Afghanistan could be up to $350 million if all options are exercised, the company said.
Each contract has a 1-year base period and options for four more years.
ITT said it will provide operations and maintenance support at the security force’s facilities and train Afghan personnel to take over at the end of the contract.
Shares of ITT rose 32 cents to $47.44 in afternoon trading.
DynCorp International Inc. delays in completing a northern Afghanistan garrison complex forced Afghan troops to be housed in temporary facilities that exposed them to mud, freezing conditions, unsafe food storage and sewage, according to U.S. auditors.
Falls Church, Virginia-based DynCorp International, one of the U.S. Army’s largest contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, is at least 19 months late completing the Kunduz facility, according to U.S. auditors. The $72-million project is slated to be finished by August and house 1,800 troops.
“Pervasive delays” in construction projects for Afghan personnel are hampering U.S. efforts to build a credible Afghan security force, North Atlantic Treaty Organization trainers told investigators for Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Arnold Fields.
Delays at the Kunduz garrison project are “dramatically restricting training and operations,” said an audit Fields released June 29.
DynCorp spokeswoman Ashley Burke said in an e-mail “it is impossible to anticipate the myriad of unexpected challenges that face construction teams operating in hostile areas.”
“In addition to the challenges operating a project in a war zone, soil abnormalities have been a major issue impeding progress,” she said.
The DynCorp project is meant to support a U.S. effort to train and house the Afghan Army, which is scheduled to grow to 172,000 by October 2011 from 103,000 a year ago. Delays at the Kunduz complex have hampered training, the audit found.
“We saw the effects of construction delays on the development of units at that site,” said Emily Rachman, the senior auditor who compiled the report.
“We observed Afghan army personnel living in temporary facilities and dealing with terrible conditions that were impeding the training efforts of NATO mentors,” Rachman said in an interview.
During a February visit, auditors saw “Afghan army personnel coping with deep mud, freezing conditions, unsanitary shower and bathroom facilities, inadequate dining facilities, medically unsafe food storage and sewage being openly discharged on the surface of the compound,” the audit said.
German military mentors training the Afghan unit said “they were enormously frustrated,” Rachman said. “We went out and trudged through the mud at the site and observed it first- hand. The effect on training and mentoring is obviously enormous.”
Fields disclosed the basic construction delays and problems in an April 30 audit. It concluded the garrison in Kunduz province was unusable because of “poor quality welds, rust on steel supports” and “severe settling” of soil.
DynCorp’s Burke said the company hired geological experts to investigate the soil problems. The experts are working to “determine a definitive cause” so a corrective plan can be developed, she said. The company is making a series of interim repairs to contain the damage, she said.
Those include reinforcing foundations and adding additional soil grading to aid drainage from structures, she said.
The company has been docked $1.4 million so far for the cost of administering the contract beyond the scheduled completion date, said Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Eugene Pawlik. Under its contract, Burke said, the company is working to provide the proper justification for delays it believes fall “outside the contractor’s control” and hopes to receive the payments in full once the work is complete.
DynCorp is addressing all the problems and the complex is scheduled to open in August, Pawlik said.
June 8, 2010 – An American police mentor and a Nepalese security guard working under DynCorp International’s Afghan police training contract were tragically killed yesterday, when insurgents attacked a police training facility in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Gary W. Willard, 44, of Resaca, Georgia, deployed to Afghanistan as a police mentor on June 22, 2009. Prior to his work in Afghanistan, he was a sergeant with the Calhoun Police Department in Georgia. Earlier, he spent almost ten years with the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office in Dalton, Georgia. Before his law enforcement career he was a member of the United States Marine Corps.
Hit Bahadur Gurung, 39, of Nepal worked as a security guard at the Kandahar police training facility.
“These men supported the mission in Afghanistan with courage, honor and excellence, and gave their lives in pursuit of a more secure Afghanistan,” says CEO Bill Ballhaus. “We extend our deepest sympathies to their families, loved ones and colleagues.”
Private security contractors also are facing an increase in Taliban attacks across Afghanistan. A U.S. contractor who was training Afghan police was killed on June 7 along with a Nepalese security guard by a brazen suicide attack on a police station in Kandahar.
Two civilian contractors training police, an American and a Nepalese, also died in a brazen suicide attack Monday in the southern city of Kandahar.
Two foreign nationals were killed in a suicide bomb and commando attack on an Afghan police training centre in Kandahar today, officials said.
An American and another unidentified foreigner, both with the US security firm DynCorp, which is contracted to help with police training, were killed in the attack.
The Kandahar governor’s spokesman said one suspected Taliban insurgent blew himself up, blasting open the gates of the training centre and allowing two other insurgents to enter and start a gunfight before they were killed.
At least two people were killed, including a US contractor, when suicide bombers attacked a police training centre in Kandahar on Monday in the latest Taliban assault aimed at countering a big Nato operation to secure the city.
The US embassy said an American working for Dyncorp, the US security company, and another foreign national were among the dead
Police gunned down two of the would-be bombers after the first attacker blew himself up in an attempt to breach the base wall, said Zemarai Bashary, interior ministry spokesman.
Mr Bashary denied that anybody had been killed apart from the three assailants. It was not immediately possible to account for the discrepancy between his account and the report of at least two civilian deaths announced by the US embassy
The attack happened at approximately 11.40 a.m. local time in the Daman district of Kandahar province, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry
Over the past five years, the U.S. government has spent a combined $80 billion on contractors to support its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that has U.S. military leaders concerned: On Friday, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan suggested that the coalition had become too dependent on private contractors to carry out its mission there effectively.
On a visit to France’s Institut des hautes études de défense nationale, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said that the military had “gone too far” in hiring private contractors. “I actually think we would be better to reduce the number of contractors involved,” he said.
McChrystal’s remarks are likely to come up when the Commission on Wartime Contracting convenes today for a hearing on oversight of the private-sector workers who provide everything from Pashto interpreters to guns-for-hire. The hearing will include testimony from Shay Assad, the Pentagon’s director of defense procurement; Lt. Gen. William Phillips, the principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army, Acquisition Logistics and Technology; Edward Harrington, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for procurement.
The commission is a bipartisan panel created by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 to bolster legislative oversight of the booming wartime services industry. In an advance statement, commission Co-Chairman Michael Thibault said the Army — which manages around two-thirds of Iraq and Afghanistan contracts — had failed to get a grip on management of the contracted workforce. “Congress specifically required improved management and coordination of service contracts in the National Defense Authorization Acts for fiscal years 2002 and 2006,” he said, “but it appears that the Army has not responded effectively to this direction.”
Despite the calls for reining in contractors, it seems unlikely that their numbers will go down anytime soon. In addition to logistics support, security and other functions, the U.S. military depends on contractors to oversee infrastructure projects and support the Afghan government. And, often to the chagrin of traditional aid groups, it sees development agencies as as a key “force multiplier” in counterinsurgency and stability operations.
It also seems that the Taliban have identified U.S. and coalition contractors as a soft target. On Thursday, a pair of car bombs in downtown Kandahar targeted the offices of a number of foreign aid contractors. As the New York Times reported today, the attacks hit the offices of the Louis Berger Group, a construction firm; the Afghan Stabilization Initiative, which supports local governance; and Chemonics, a large, for-profit USAID contractor. Employees of at least two other aid contractors were wounded or killed in the attacks
Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/04/contractors-in-the-crosshairs-in-washington-and-afghanistan/#ixzz0lkESrK15
By Christine Spolar
Huffington Post Investigative Fund
A troubled multi-billion contract that has failed to create a reliable national police force in Afghanistan—key to the drawdown of U.S. troops—will be extended again.
During a Senate homeland security subcommittee hearing Thursday, a Pentagon official laid out plans for a new “full and open competition” for police training that likely could take until the end of the year. The new bidding could hamper an already delayed training process.
The decision also almost certainly means the government will pay millions of dollars more to the current police trainer, DynCorp International. Federal auditors have criticized poor government oversight of the DynCorp contract for years – although DynCorp’s training was not called into question.
The decision left Democrats and Republicans, gathered at a subcommittee on contracting oversight hearing, demanding better coordination and accountability.
“I don’t think DynCorp has always had the leadership or the plan in place to convey to the people who work for them what they should be doing and how,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) told the Huffington Post Investigative Fund after the hearing. “And there was a disconnect between the military, the State Department and the actual work product of DynCorp.”
DynCorp has consistently defended its work in Afghanistan. Read Original here
Former officials familiar with the deal say that Blackwater is likely to get a Defense Department-issued contract worth several hundred million dollars to train and mentor the Afghan police.
The police training contract, known as TORP 150, is supposed to be decided next month, and the company has not been officially notified that it will get it. But the only competing bid for the police training contract, submitted by Northrup with MPRI, has been disqualified, a former official knowledgeable about the contract said.
We have no knowledge that the contract will be awarded to us, Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Blackwater, now known as Xe, told POLITICO Thursday.
Lockheed, meantime, is likely to be awarded an associated logistics contract to support the Afghanistan police training effort (a contract known as TORP 166), for which Blackwater also bid, the former officials said.
While a Blackwater subsidiary’s activities in Afghanistan were the subject of a scathing hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, U.S. Central Command and top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal are said to be very happy with Blackwater’s work in Afghanistan, the former official familiar with the contracting deal told POLITICO. Blackwater has contracts to do intelligence support, counter-narcotics support with the Drug Enforcement Agency, and Afghan border security work, with which Centcom has been pleased, the former official said.
So Gen. McChrystal has pushed for the Defense Department to issue the Afghan police training contract, rather than the State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement bureau (INL), the former official said. The DoD has five “primes” — companies eligible to bid on contracts in Afghanistan: Raytheon, Lockheed, Northrup, Arinc (owned by Carlyle), and Blackwater.
Of those five, only Blackwater bid for both Afghan police training contract components — the training/mentoring and the logistics. Its only competitor for the police training and mentoring contract, Northrup with MPRI, was disqualified, the former official said. Its only competitor for the logistics contract is Lockheed. The source said the Army had Lockheed re-write and re-submit its proposal to make it more suited to receive the logistics contract.
DynCorp International, a Falls Church, Va.-based defense contractor, has filed a protest that only the five DoD “primes” were made eligible to bid for the Afghanistan police training contract, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund’s Christine Spolar reported this week. (DynCorp itself is in the process of being made a “prime,” the sources said.)
Meantime, DynCorp got some good news on the Afghan contract front. Last week, it beat out MPRI to win a $232.4 million contract to train and mentor Afghan Ministry of Defense forces.
The contract was issued by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. Of note: that on DynCorp’s board is retired Gen. Peter Schoomaker, former U.S. Army chief of staff. Also on the DynCorp board, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who recently wrote an Afghanistan assessment commissioned by Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus. Among McCaffrey’s findings, lavish praise for the military brilliance of Petraeus and McChrystal, and that there would be no meaningful civilian “surge” to Afghanistan.
The former official who spoke to POLITICO about the police training contracts, who is not associated with MPRI, said that MPRI is widely considered to have more experience doing military training and said that MPRI’s bid came in at 25 percent less the cost of DynCorp’s.
Congressional sources said they were not yet aware of the Afghan police training contract award. But yesterday, Sen. Carl Levin (D.-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, slammed the activities of a Blackwater “shell” company in Afghanistan — Paravant — for its “reckless use of weapons, its disregard for the rules governing the acquisition of weapons” and lack of vetting resulting “in those weapons being placed in the hands of people who never should have possessed them,” POLITICO’s Marin Cogan reported.