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The GAO Transcripts, Part 6: Coordinating PSC Activities in Iraq

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This is the sixth installment of the Government Accountability Office interview transcripts that were prepared pursuant to the July 2005 GAO report "Rebuilding Iraq: Actions Needed To Improve Use of Private Security Providers."

This transcript describes the coordination of private security details. Although this interview is not about any one private security contractor the PSC that had overall responsibility for doing so is Aegis Defence.

Standard disclaimer: I have put in ( _____ ) to reflect those words of phrases which have been blacked out in the transcript. I have also put in the underlining as it appeared in the original transcript. As in the transcript, I have left out letters from various words, even when it seems obvious what the word is.

Prepared by: Kate Walker Index:
Date Prepared: December 2, 2004 DOC Number: 1220820
Reviewed by: Carole Coffey 01/0705 DOC Library: Type library name here
Job Code: 350544

Record of Interview

Title Interview with _________
Purpose To learn about PCO PSC coordination and th _________ Contract
Contact Method Conference Call
Contact Place GAO HQ and Baghdad, Iraq
Contact Date December 2, 2004
Participants _________
Bill Solis, Director, DCM, GAO
Steve Sternlieb, Assistant Director, DCM, GAO
Carole Coffey, Analyst-in-Charge, DCM, GAO
Kate Walker, Analyst, DCM, GAO
Tim DiNapoli, Assistant Director, ASM, GAO
Gary Delaney, Analyst-in-Charge, ASM, GAO

Comments/Remarks:

_________ is the _________ or the Iraq Project and Contracting Office (PCO), formerly know as the Coalition Provisional Authority. The PCO is responsible for all activities associated with the program, project, asset, construction and financial management of the reconstruction effort in Iraq.

_________ _________ security contractor for the PCO. _________ provides private security detail (PSD) for the PCO director and key members of the PCO staff. ________currently has 23 vehicle escort teams and static guards in one location. Within the PCO are seven operational centers (a National Center known as the Reconstruction Operations Center (ROC) and 6 regional ROCs) that provide situational awareness, information and intelligence, and serve as an interface between the military and the contractors including PSCs in Iraq. The national operational center is located in Baghdad at the PCO headquarters and the regional centers are located in Mosul, Tikrit, Ramadi, Baghdad-Camp Victory, Hillah, and Basra. director and key members of the PCO staff. operates these centers under the same contract used to provide security to the PCO. Currently ________ s is about 90% staffed. ________ sent us a brief giving the overview and readiness status of the cell.

Genesis of the PCO and Contractor Participation

The PCO was created in anticipation that the State Department/Department of Defense (DOS/DOD) Interagency Memorandum would be signed. The DOS/DOD Interagency Memorandum called for the creation of an entity to oversee movement and intelligence sharing in Iraq - the PCO.
Currently, contractors participate with the PCO on a voluntary basis. ________ reports that the PCO is seeing increased participation every day. If the Interagency Memorandum is signed, it will require contractors to register with the PCO. ________ said that in some cases, contracts would have to be revised. ________ does not know if all new contracts include provisions for registration with the PCO. Contractors were informed about the PCO through a series of meeting with each of the prime contractors' security managers. When asked about the concerns conveyed by several contractors we interviewed ________ conjectured that the contractors we spoke with might have viewed ________ a competitor. ________ reported that the CPA-IG had conducted an analysis of the contract award.

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Intelligence Sharing
The G-2 at the PCO gets information from the MNFI G-2. This information is then sent to the ROC where, once it is cleared, is sent to.PSCs for their use. Contractors can get information about movement security, etc. from the PCO via the ROC.

Communication
There are currently three methods for real time communication among PSCs and PCO.
1. Land-lines
2. HF Radios--direct link communications with regional operation centers
1 3. Internet, Centrix, SIPRnet

To request aid or communication with the ROC or the regional operations centers, PSCs must radio their own headquarters' dispatch center and that dispatch center would then contact the ROC. The ROC will then contact the regional operations centers if necessary. PSCs can contact the regional operation centers directly, but ________believes this to be a complicated process. He also doesn't believe that the current method of contact causes too much delay. The PCO also has transponder units that plug into security vehicles. These units provide the location of the vehicle every four minutes and also have a panic button in the boxes that can alert regional operation centers if there is an emergency. ________said, however, that there were only a certain number of boxes that contractors could check out. Future PCO contracts will require that all prime PCO contractors purchase these transponder units. Transponders can be acquired on the commercial marketplace. This is not a problem; however, because typically only transmittal equipment is available in the market and translating equipment is proprietary to specific companies.

In an emergency, vehicles or convoys without these transponder units can contact the PCO via cellular phone, but ________indicated that cellular phones were often unreliable in Iraq. In addition to contacts at the PCO, contractors are also given contact numbers for the embassy and local military operation centers.

________informed us that there is also a password protected website that ________ maintains that is also used to disseminate information. ________ is unaware of any communication between the PCO and OSAC.

________ encourages informal relationships between contractors, PSCs, and the military, but thinks that the PCO should be monitoring these relationships ideally.

Movement Coordination
A recent policy has been developed for handoffs between division boundaries, but________ is unable to verify that the policy has been implemented. ________ scribes the policy concept as one of a series of checkpoints through which convoys must pass. The checkpoints occur before the boundary changes. Contractors are supposed to get their march credits approved by the military before they begin their movement. March credits are then to be passed on to relevant division commanders.

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QRF
Should a PSC need help, the ROC is responsible for arranging quick reaction force (QRF) aid. After a PSC contacts the ROC and indicates that they need help, the PCO would in turn contact the regional operation centers. The regional reconstruction operation centers (RROCs) are co-located with the major subordinate commands' operations centers, so the moment the ROC contacts the RROC, the G-3 can be contacted. QRFs are provided by the military on a not to interfere basis ________ reported that the QRF usually works, but there have been some instances were QRF has been delayed. After action reports are written about these incidents only when something goes wrong and there is a lesson-learned type scenario.

Database of Contractor Personnel
If the Interagency Memorandum is signed, the PCO will be responsible for collecting information on contractors. The PCO is not sure how to collect this data The PCO thinks that the Army's Logistics Support Element (part of the Army Material Command) would best be able to collect information on DOD contractors.

Weapons
The types of weapons contractors may use are listed in CPA Order 3. Version seven of the Interagency Memorandum would make the PCO responsible for maintaining a list of those Contractors who have been approved to issue weapons and ammunition under Section III of the interagency guidance. ________ knows of several PSCs that have attempted to register with the Iraqi Ministry of Interior (MOI) and Ministry of Trade (MOT), but have found that the MOI and MOT do not have to capability to register them.

Interagency Memorandum
________ would like to see the Interagency Memorandum signed. While the Memorandum isn't perfect, he thinks the memorandum can be modified as necessary. The ________ is concerned that the "Interagency Memorandum" has been reduced to "Interagency Guidance" because he believes that guidance does not carry the same weight as a memorandum. The ________ believes that if State and DOD can not come to an agreement on the guidance, DOD should issue the guidance on its own. The ________ said that once the guidance is issued, MNFI will issue an order to the major subordinate commands in Iraq to provide the military assistance laid out in the agreement.

Current Status in Iraq
According to ________ , regional operation centers are not fully integrated and are not fully functional. He believes they will be in the near future.

Commanders are not fully informed about PSCs. ________ is trying to educate commanders to get them to see PSCs as "blue forces." In doing so, ________ hopes to convince commanders that PSC need to be given the same military support as other military units in Iraq. ________ says that he has personally briefed each division commander of PSCs and their issues.

Chain of Command
While the PCO is under the COM command, it is operating under CENTCOM Order #1. The SJA at CENTCOM, however, told ________ hat CENTCOM Order #1 is not applicable because the PCO falls under COM command. ________ would like the PCO to fall under MNFI for security matters.

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Recommendations
________ only recommendation would be to get the Interagency Memorandum signed. He believes that even if the memorandum were less that perfect, it still would give authorities something to modify and improve. He thinks that there needs to be some overarching guidance on private security contractors.
________provided us with the following documents:
o A ROC Overview
o A Brief describing the PSC Association
o The latest draft of the Interagency Policy Guidance
o Contact Information for Lawrence Peters
o ROC Daily Briefing
o A Security Operations Briefing

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