Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Undercounting Contractor Casualties in Iraq

by David Isenberg at Huffington Post  July 30, 2012

See Also Davids blog at the Isenberg Institute of Strategic Satire

A new report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) provides some detail on the sacrifices made by private contractors who engaged in reconstruction or stabilization activities in Iraq between May 1, 2003, and August 31, 2010.

The total number includes 318 Americans (U.S. military, federal civilian employees, and U.S. civilian contractors), 111 third-country nationals, 271 Iraqis and 19 of unknown nationality who were working in support of the U.S. reconstruction or stabilization mission during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Of course, the actual total number, as opposed to the merely official one, is almost certainly higher, according to the report

For several reasons, an exact calculation is not possible. First, no agency managed a central database for reconstruction or stabilization casualties. Each U.S. government entity involved in Iraq’s reconstruction–the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of State (DoS), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)–maintained its own employee casualty database. The Department of Labor (DoL) maintains a database of civilian contractors of all nationalities that were killed in Iraq who worked for or were contracted by U.S.-based companies or were insured through U.S. insurance carriers and notified DoL through the Defense Base Act.
Second, the databases we could access often did not contain enough detail to confirm whether a casualty was stabilization- or reconstruction-related. For example, there were 1,047 military casualties where the type of mission could not be determined.

Finally, there was no central source of information on third-country nationals or Iraqi civilians killed while working on or in support of U.S. projects.

What the report, “The Human Toll Of Reconstruction Or Stabilization Operations During Operation Iraqi Freedom” does say is that “Americans suffered 44 percent of the total reconstruction or stabilization-related deaths, including 264 from the Department of Defense (37 percent) and 54 U.S. federal civilian employees and U.S. civilian contractors (8 percent).” So, looking just at the very limited subset of contractors working stabilization and reconstruction-related activities, you get 57 deaths.

Please read the entire post here at Huffington Post

July 30, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Federal Workers, Government Contractor, SIGIR | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iraq Reconstruction Effort Cost 719 Lives, Audit Finds

Bloomberg   Tony Capaccio  July 27,

At least 719 military personnel, civilian contractors, Iraqis and third-country nationals died inIraq over seven years performing U.S. reconstruction and stability operations, according to the first audit of its kind.

The dead include 264 of the 4,409 U.S. troops who died in Iraq from May 1, 2003, through August 30, 2010, according to the audit released today by Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

The audit represents the first time a U.S. agency has attempted to tally the deaths associated with spending about $60 billion in congressionally appropriated reconstruction and stabilization funds.

Nothing was safe or “soft” about reconstruction missions, according to the report. “The human losses suffered in Iraq and outlined in this report underscore the point that when such operations are conducted in combat zones, they are dangerous for everyone involved,” the report said.

The deaths occurred during U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure, train police and security forces and restructure Iraq’s government institutions.

“The actual number of deaths related to reconstruction or stabilization activities is certainly higher than 719,”according to the report. “For several reasons, an exact calculation is not possible,” the report said, noting that no agency managed a central database for these categories of casualties.

Please read the entire story here

July 27, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Iraq, SIGIR, USACE | , , , , , , | 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 Reports: Hey, Anybody Know What Happened to the $2 Billion?

David Isenberg at The Huffington Post  February 6, 2012

See also at Davids Blog The PMC Observer

The latest Quarterly and Semiannual Report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) was released January 30, 2012. What follows are relevant excerpts of some of the more noteworthy contractor related activities.

On December 21, a U.S. contractor was sentenced to 3 months confinement followed by 2 years of supervised release for lying to federal agents during the course of an investigation. The agents were investigating a fraud scheme involving the theft and resale of generators in Iraq to various entities, including the U.S. government. When he was initially interviewed in Iraq, he denied any involvement in the fraud scheme. The investigation demonstrated that he had in fact signed fraudulent U.S. documents and received money on several occasions for his part in the scheme.

As of December 31, 2011, the Defense and State departments and the US Agency for International Development had reported 88,380 contracting actions, projects, and grants, totaling $40.31 billion in cumulative obligation.

As of January 23, 2012, 15,154 employees of U.S.-funded contractors and grantees supported DoD, DoS, USAID, and other U.S. agencies in Iraq. The number of contractor employees declined by 72% since the end of last quarter, dropping from the 53,447 registered as of September 30, 2011.

As you would expect, now that the U.S. mission has been handed off to the State Department, the largest number of contractors, 9,228, are working for State, with 3,823 of those being American.

The second largest share is working for the U.S. Army, which has a total of 5,118 under contract, with 2,737 of the American.

One very interesting point comes towards the end, in the section on oversight. To appreciate this a little trip down memory lane is in order.

The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) — anyone remember Paul Bremer? — was established in May 2003 to provide for the temporary governance of Iraq. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483 created the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) and assigned the CPA full responsibility for managing it. The DFI comprised revenues from Iraqi oil and gas sales, certain remaining Oil for Food deposits, and repatriated national assets. It was used, in part, for Iraq relief and reconstruction efforts.

During its almost 14-month governance, the CPA had access to $20.7 billion in DFI funds and directed expenditures of about $14.1 billion. The CPA had $6.6 billion under its control when its mission ended on June 28, 2004. The Government of Iraq OI gave DoD access to about $3 billion of these funds to pay bills for contracts the CPA awarded prior to its dissolution.

Most of these funds were deposited into a DFI sub-account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) established for this purpose.

SIGIR initiated an audit to determine whether DoD properly accounted for its use of the $2.8 billion deposited into the DFI sub-account at the FRBNY after the CPA dissolved, and $217.7 million in cash that remained in the presidential palace vault when the CPA dissolved. Here is what it found:

DoD cannot account for about two-thirds of the approximately $3 billion in DFI funds made available to it by the GOI for making payments on contracts the CPA awarded prior to its dissolution.Most of these funds ($2.8 billion) were held in the DFI sub-account at the FRBNY; the remainder ($217.7 million) was held in the presidential palace vault in Baghdad. FRBNY records show that DoD made about $2.7 billion in payments from the DFI sub-account. However, the FRBNY does not have specifics about the payments or financial documents, such as vendor invoices, to support them. It required only written approval from the GOI to issue payment.

Although DoD had responsibility for maintaining documentation to support the full $2.7 billion in expenditures made from the FRBNY subaccount, it could provide SIGIR documentation to support only about $1 billion. Although DoD established internal processes and controls to report sub-account payments to the GOI, the bulk of the records are missing. As a result, SIGIR’s review was limited to the $1 billion in available records. SIGIR examined 15 payments from this group and found most of the key supporting financial documents.

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

February 6, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Contractors Arrested, Department of Defense, Follow the Money, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, SIGIR | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction January 2012 Quarterly Report

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction

January 2012 Quarterly Report

Public Laws 108-106 and 95-452, as ammended

Quarterly Report and Semi-Annual Report to the United States Congress

Click here to see report

February 6, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Follow the Money, Government Contractor, SIGIR | , , , | Leave a comment

Dubai Firm Overbilled Pentagon $900 for $7 Part, Bowen Says

Bloomberg at SF Gate      July 31, 2011

A U.S. contractor in Iraq overbilled the Pentagon by at least $4.4 million for spare parts and equipment, including $900 for an electronic control switch valued at $7.05, according to a new audit.

Based on the questionable costs identified in a $300 million contract with Dubai-based Anham LLC, the U.S. should review all its contracts with the company in Iraq and Afghanistan, which total about $3.9 billion, said Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen.

“The audit found weak oversight in multiple areas that left the government vulnerable to improper overcharges,” Bowen wrote in the forward to his 30th quarterly report, released today. The contract in question was funded with a combination of money earmarked for Iraqi Security Forces and Army operations and maintenance funds.

Among the “egregious examples of overbilling” by Anham were $4,500 for a circuit breaker valued at $183.30, $3,000 for a $94.47 circuit breaker and $80 for a small segment of drain pipe valued at $1.41

Please read the entire article at SF Gate

July 31, 2011 Posted by | Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Iraq, SIGIR | , , , , | Leave a comment

Monitoring Responsibilities for Serious Incidents Involving Private Security Contractors Once U.S. Military Forces Leave Iraq Have Not Been Determined (SIGIR 11-019)

                  U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ
                  SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

Monitoring Responsibilities for Serious Incidents Involving Private Security  Contractors Once U.S. Military Forces Leave Iraq Have Not Been Determined     (SIGIR 11-019)

In September 2007, Blackwater, Inc., a private security contractor (PSC) under contract with the
Department of State (DoS), was involved in an incident that resulted in the death of 17 Iraqi
civilians.  As a result of the incident and its repercussions, the Department of Defense (DoD) and
DoS took actions to improve their coordination and oversight of PSCs involved in serious
incidents.1   In April 2009, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR)

reported on the DoD system for reporting, investigating, and remediating serious incidents
involving PSCs in Iraq.2      Because of the planned withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq in

December 2011, SIGIR reviewed the U.S. government’s current and planned oversight of PSCs
in that country.  In April 2011, SIGIR reported on the relationship between the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers’ Gulf Region District’s reconstruction activities and its security contract
requirements with Aegis Defense Services, Limited.3

SIGIR’s objectives for this report were to determine (1) changes in the serious incident reporting
and investigating system since SIGIR’s 2009 report, (2) plans for the system after U.S. military
forces leave Iraq, and (3) coordination of serious incidents with the Government of Iraq (GOI).
SIGIR also followed up on the status of recommendations in its April 2009 report.  SIGIR will
be issuing separate reports on the current status of those recommendations.

SIGIR performed this audit under the authority of Public Law 108-106, as amended, which also
incorporates the duties and responsibilities of inspectors general under the Inspector General Act
of 1978 and in furtherance of a mandate in Section 842 of the National Defense Authorization
Act for 2008, Public Law 110-181, pertaining to contracts for the performance of security and
reconstruction functions in Iraq.      SIGIR encountered significant constraints imposed by DoS’
Bureau of Diplomatic Security.  The Bureau was unresponsive to SIGIR’s requests for

1 According to DoD guidance a serious incident includes, but is not limited to, “any damage of equipment or injury

to persons, attacks, any weapons discharge, criminal acts, traffic accidents, incidents involving ISF [Iraqi Security
Forces] and any incident believed to have possible strategic or operational impact. Incidents where aggressive
personal behavior and share the road policies are violated shall be reported.”
2  Opportunities To Improve Processes for Reporting, Investigating, and Remediating Serious Incidents Involving

Private Security Contractors in Iraq, SIGIR 09-019, 4/30/2009.
3  Gulf Region District Is Adjusting Its Aegis Security Contract Requirements for Changes in Reconstruction

Activities in Iraq, SIGIR 11-015, 4/27/2011.

July 31, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, SIGIR | , , , , | Leave a comment

Trust But, Incompetently, Verify

By David Isenberg at Huffington Post  July 28, 2011

In August 2009, the Pentagon awarded five Theater-wide Internal Security Services (TWISS) contracts for site security in Iraq. These contracts, awarded to EOD Technology, Inc.; Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, LLC; Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group; Triple Canopy, Inc.; and Protection Strategies Inc., have a combined value of $485 million.

U.S base commanders nominate contracting officer’s representatives (CORs), who are responsible for verifying the U.S. government receives what it pays for. The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) appoints and trains CORs and manages their activities. DCMA uses Quality Assurance Representatives (QARs) to monitor the CORs’ and contractors’ performance.

Yet although COR duties are critical to the U.S. government’s oversight of the TWISS contracts, almost 40% of the CORs it surveyed said the training they received did not prepare them for their duties and 25% said they lack sufficient time to conduct effective oversight, according to an audit report “Control Weaknesses Remain in Oversight of Theater-wide Internal Security Services Contracts,”
released today by the Office of the Special Inspector General For Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).

Why is this important?  Please read the entire story at HuffPost

July 29, 2011 Posted by | Government Contractor, Private Security Contractor, SIGIR | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. office urges halt in funds for Iraq security institute

by Walter Pincus at The Washington Post

A top U.S. oversight office has recommended that the United States halt further funding for a $26 million education academy for senior Iraqi security officials after discovering that the Iraqi government had never agreed to operate or maintain the facility.

The United States has spent more than $13 million on the project.

“At this point, it is unclear if the GOI [Government of Iraq] will budget for the operations and maintenance of the IIA [Iraqi International Academy] upon completion,” said Stuart W. Bowen, Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, in a report sent to the Central Command’s Gen. James N. Mattis and released Tuesday. “Without such an agreement, U.S. funds spent on construction are at risk of being wasted, as are the funds planned to equip and furnish the facility,” Bowen added.

Please read the entire article here

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor, Iraq, SIGIR | , , , | Leave a comment


Agrees to Forfeit $360,000 to U.S. Government

WASHINGTON – A former senior employee of a U.S. military contractor pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to pay $360,000 in bribes to U.S. Army contracting officials stationed at a U.S. military base in Kuwait, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

According to court documents filed today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Dorothy Ellis, 53, of Texas City, Texas, was employed by former U.S. military contractor Terry Hall. As Hall’s most senior employee, Ellis’s responsibilities included serving as the liaison between Hall and U.S. Army contracting officials stationed at Camp Arifjan, a U.S. military base in Kuwait.

From the spring of 2004 through November 2007, Hall operated and had an interest in several companies, including Freedom Consulting and Catering Co. (FCC) and Total Government Allegiance (TGA). At various times during this period, these companies provided goods and services to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and its components based on a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) to deliver bottled water and a contract to construct a security fence in Kuwait and elsewhere.

A BPA is a type of contract by which the DoD agrees to pay a contractor a specified price for a particular good or service. Based on the BPA, the DoD orders the supplies on an as-needed basis. The contractor is then obligated to deliver the supplies ordered at the price agreed upon in the BPA. The term for such an order by the DoD is a “call.”

According to court documents, Hall obtained the calls made under the bottled water BPA and fence contract by bribing certain U.S. Army contracting officers, including former Majors James Momon and Christopher Murray. Hall, assisted by Ellis and Hall’s business partner, paid Momon approximately $330,000 and paid Murray approximately $30,000. In exchange for these bribe payments, from January 2006 through May 2006, Momon arranged for the DoD to pay Hall’s companies more than $6.4 million through the bottled water BPA, and Murray assisted in the award of the security fence contract.

Ellis admitted that she participated in the bribery scheme by providing Momon and Murray access to secret bank accounts established on their behalf in the Philippines, which enabled Hall and others to transfer bribe payments to them. Ellis also admitted that she obtained confidential Army contract pricing information from Momon that was designed to give Hall an unlawful advantage in the bidding process for an ice contract from the DoD. In exchange for her assistance in the bribery scheme, Ellis received a $100,000 “bonus” from Hall in August 2006.

The charge of bribery conspiracy carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine. Under the plea agreement, Ellis agreed to forfeit $360,000 to the government. Sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 1, 2010, before U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner.

The case against Ellis arose out of an investigation into corruption at the Kuwait contracting office at Camp Arifjan, which has led to charges against 15 individuals, to date. Of those 15 defendants, 13 have pleaded guilty, with some already serving prison sentences. For example, on Dec. 2, 2009, former U.S. Army Major John Cockerham was sentenced to 210 months in prison and ordered to pay $9.6 million in restitution. On Aug. 13, 2009, Momon pleaded guilty to receiving approximately $1.6 million in bribes and agreed to pay $5.7 million in restitution. On Dec. 17, 2009, Murray was sentenced to 57 months in prison and ordered to pay $245,000 in restitution.

On Aug. 11, 2010, Wajdi Birjas, a former DoD contract employee, pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy in connection with his payment of tens of thousands of dollars worth of bribes to Army contracting officers, including Murray, Momon and a senior procurement non-commissioned officer. Birjas also pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy arising out of his participation in a scheme to transport $250,000 of Momon’s bribe proceeds from Kuwait to the United States. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2011.

On Feb. 18, 2010, Hall pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy and agreed to forfeit $15.7 million to the U.S. government in connection with his payment of more than $3 million in bribes to Cockerham, Momon, Murray and former U.S. Army Major Eddie Pressley. The case against Hall’s co-defendants, Eddie Pressley and his wife Eurica Pressley, is scheduled for trial Jan. 24, 2011, in Decatur, Ala.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Edward J. Loya, Jr. and Peter C. Sprung of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The case is being investigated by special agents of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Army Criminal Investigation Command Division, the FBI and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

Today’s plea represents the Department of Justice’s commitment to protect U.S. taxpayers from procurement fraud through its creation of the National Procurement Fraud Task Force. The National Procurement Fraud Initiative announced in October 2006, is designed to promote early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in contracting activity for national security and other government programs. The investigation is ongoingOriginal Story here

September 2, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Kuwait, Private Military Contractors | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Following The Reconstruction Money In Iraq

NPR’s Robert Siegel talks to Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, about the billions of American dollars wasted on reconstruction projects in Iraq.

President Obama will officially declare an end to combat operations in Iraq tomorrow. Also winding down is the massive reconstruction effort there. The U.S. has spent more than $53 billion on projects ranging from new schools and hospitals to Iraq’s energy grid.

There have been some successes, but Stuart Bowen, the special inspector for Iraq reconstruction, says there’s also been tremendous waste: between four and five billion dollars have been spent on hundreds of unfinished or ineffective projects. That’s about 10 percent of the total spent on Iraqi reconstruction. I asked Stuart Bowen what was the most notorious example of waste in the Iraqi reconstruction.

Read or listen to the interview here

August 31, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Iraq | , , , | Leave a comment

The Latest on Contractors From SIGIR

By David Isenberg at Huff Post

The latest Quarterly Report to Congress from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has been released.

The following are excerpts relevant to private military contractors.

Number of contractors: Current, 119,700. Peak, 171,000 (Q4 2007)

p. 2

On July 22, 2010, several rockets impacted inside the International Zone, killing three foreign-national contractors working for Triple Canopy, a U.S.-based security company.Figure1.10 [ see p. 16] lists the 15 contracting companies that have reported the largest number of deaths in Iraq since March 2003.
This quarter, the Department of Labor (DoL) received reports of 12 additional deaths of contractors working on U.S.-funded programs in Iraq. DoL also received reports of 882 injuries this quarter that caused the injured contractors to miss four or more days of work. Since 2003, at least 1,487 death claims have been filed with the DoL.
p. 15

DoS has also requested that it be allowed to use the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) III to support its operations in Iraq beyond December 2011. As of June 30, 2010, however, Kellogg, Brown and Root, Inc. (KBR)–the sole LOGCAP III contractor–is scheduled to remain in Iraq only until the end of 2011. According to U.S. Embassy-Baghdad, it does not have a plan to meet its support requirements if KBR pulls out.  more here

July 31, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Iraq, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , | Leave a comment

War zone corruption allegations up sharply

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government, which is pressing Iraqi and Afghan leaders to get tough on internal corruption, is doing the same in its ranks.

Cases of suspected fraud and other wrongdoing by U.S. troops and contractors overseeing reconstruction and relief projects in Iraq and Afghanistan are up dramatically.

James Burch, the Defense Department‘s deputy inspector general for investigations, says his agency is investigating 223 cases — 18% more than a year ago.

Investigators have charged an Army officer with pocketing cash meant to pay Iraqi civilian militiamen, contractors offering an Army officer $1 million for the inside track on a road project in Afghanistan, and three contractors for an alleged conspiracy to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fuel from a U.S. base in Baghdad.

Army Maj. John Cockerham was sentenced in December to 17½ years in prison for accepting $9 million in bribes for contracts to sell water and other supplies to the U.S. military.

In Afghanistan, where U.S. spending on reconstruction will soon surpass the $50 billion spent in Iraq, the U.S. government is bolstering its investigative presence. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has a staff of 15 and plans to expand to 32 by October. By September 2011, the agency plans to have 49 full-time employees, says Raymond DiNunzio, an assistant inspector general

In Iraq, investigators have opened 67 fraud cases this year, compared with 69 for all of 2009, according to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR). In Afghanistan, it’s 42 cases this year vs. four last year.

Stuart Bowen, who heads SIGIR, says more tipsters are coming forward. “Some of these people have come back to the States, so they’re out of the threat zone,” he says. “Perhaps what they saw is gnawing at their conscience.”

Read the full story here

June 20, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Iraq, Pentagon, Private Military Contractors, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wartime contract fraud expected to increase

Federal Times May 24, 2010

More instances of contract fraud and theft are expected as American troops draw down in Iraq and increase their presence in Afghanistan, witnesses at a hearing on wartime contracting said Monday.

“We expect an increase in the volume of criminal investigations as a result of the drawdown in Iraq and force increases in Afghanistan,” said James Burch, deputy inspector general for investigations at the Pentagon.

The potential theft of military equipment that has accumulated in Iraq over the last seven years and cost overruns are two areas of concern, he added. Also, paying bribes to government officials is commonplace in some regions, further complicating matters, Burch said.

The speed required in wartime contracting itself is a risk factor for more contract abuse, and contract administrators may see oversight as a burden that hurts their ability to effectively do their work, Burch said.

This was the 12th hearing of the Commission on Wartime Contracting, created by Congress to look at wartime contracting for reconstruction, logistics and security.

The Defense Department arm that investigates criminal cases is working on 223 investigations, 18 percent more than a year ago, in overseas contingency operations, Burch said. Other investigative offices also have seen numbers rise.

The Office of Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIRIR) has opened 64 cases so far in 2010, compared with 69 in all of 2009, and has 113 cases open currently versus 93 a year ago.

SIGIR’s counterpart for Afghanistan, created in 2008, has also seen its caseload increase with increases in staffing. The Office of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has 42 investigations pending into government property theft, contract fraud and corruption compared with just four cases a year ago.

About half the cases SIGAR is investigating involve Afghan nationals who are working on U.S.-funded reconstruction projects and are suspected of corruption, said Raymond DiNunzio, an assistant inspector general with SIGAR. That presents a challenge because it means working through the underdeveloped Afghan judicial system and weak law enforcement system, he added.  Read the full report here

May 25, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment