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New SIGIR Detail on Private Contractors in Iraq

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Today the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGI) has released its latest (24th) Quarterly Report to Congress.

For those interested in private military and security contractor issues it provides a few new details.

In regard to its recently released audit on DynCorp SIGIR notes that it determined that DynCorp revenues from Iraq related contracts for the five-ear period ending in March 2009 totaled more than $11.2 billion. Thus, the $2.5 billion in funds identified in the earlier SIGIR audit as vulnerable to fraud, waste, and abuse constitute a material portion (22.3%) of DynCorp's corporate revenue over the contract period. Moreover, excluding DynCorp's indefinite participation in LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Program) IV, its Government Services Unit manages the firm's largest contracts. The firm's contracts with DoS for civilian-police training and INL amount to 56.4% of all of its government services contracts.

For that kind of money it does not seem unreasonable to expect DynCorp to do a better job than it has done to date in correcting the oversight deficiencies previously identified by SIGIR.

For all the, frequently unfair, criticism that private military and security contractors receive in the media it also bears note that quite a few have made the ultimate sacrifice. For the quarter ending December 31, 2009, the Department of Labor (DoL) received reports of 13 new deaths of civilian contractors working in Iraq. DoL also received reports that 669 civilian contractors sufered injuries requiring them to miss at least four days of work. Since September 2001, the DoL has received reports of 1,459 deaths of civilian contractors.

A graph on page 42 notes that contractor fatalities exceeded U.S. military fatalities for the first time in January 2009.

And while U.S. forces are in proceeding with the drawdown of their forces contractors continue to play a central role.

The level of contracting services needed to support the drawdown of troops and equipment from Iraq has yet to be fully identified.

Contractors will continue to provide a wide range of tasks essential for operations and for reconstruction programs, but DoD announced plans for a 30% reduction in overall contractor support (to a force of 75,000) by the end of FY 2010. As of January 22, 2010, USF-I reported 100,035 DoD contractors working in Iraq:

_ 51,990 third-country nationals
_ 27,843 U.S. citizens
_ 20,202 Iraqi nationals

The SIGIR report also lists numerous cases of fraud and corruption in the private contracting world in Iraq.

Among the investigative activities listed this past quarter:

A Criminal Information was filed charging a U.S. Army staff sergeant with money laundering as part of a larger bribery investigation.

Major John Cockerham, Melissa Cockerham (his wife), Carolyn Blake (his sister), and Nyree Pettaway (his niece) were all sentenced in U.S. District Court for their participation in a bribery and money-laundering scheme related to bribes paid for contracts awarded in support of the Iraq war. he jail sentences ranged from 12 to 210 months, and the court-ordered restitution totaled more than $19 million.

A former U.S. Army colonel was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a bribery conspiracy in Hilla, Iraq.

A former DoD contracting officer was sentenced to 110 months in prison for filing false income tax returns in which he failed to report more than $2.4 million in income.

A retired U.S. Army major was sentenced to 57 months in prison for his role in a bribery scheme involving DoD contracts.

A Coalition partner citizen was arrested for money laundering involving a Coalition Provisional Authority contract.

A former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel was sentenced to 42 months in prison for his role in a bribery conspiracy in Hilla, Iraq.

Among those who have been convicted, according to information provided by the Justice Department (see pp. 116-119), are those who worked for KBR and Titan Corp.

Also convicted were at east eight military Contracting Officer Representatives (CORs), the people who are supposed to provide oversight of contractors.


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