07/31/2010 09:50 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Latest on Contractors From SIGIR

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.
p. 43

JCC-I/A: Transitioning to CENTCOM Contracting Command
On June 11, 2010, CENTCOM transitioned the Joint Contracting Command-Iraq/Afghanistan (JCC-I/A) to the CENTCOM Contracting Command (C³). The change was made to facilitate expansion of the organization's oversight to all contingency operations in CENTCOM's area of operations--including Kuwait and Pakistan--in accordance with joint doctrine, "which has evolved to consider complex long-term contingencies." To that end, C³will relocate to Qatar and reassess its staffing requirements.
In addition to contract oversight, C³'s responsibilities in Iraq will include liaising with the armed services' contracting organizations, providing monthly contractor census and SPOT data, and establishing and chairing a joint contracting support board to coordinate the enforcement of contracting and payment procedures.
p. 44

Contractor and Grantee Support

As of June 30, 2010, there were 113,649 contractor and grantee personnel supporting U.S. efforts in Iraq. For a breakdown of contractors and grantees--by agency, purpose, and national origin--see Table2.11.
Contractors provide a variety of services. According to the most recent DoD census of its contractors in Iraq, roughly 65% performed base support functions, such as maintaining the grounds, running dining facilities, and providing laundry services.
Comparable data was not available from DoS or USAID.
The profile of DoD contractors in Iraq has changed over time. The number of contractors
providing base support has generally paralleled the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. Meanwhile, as the focus of the U.S. assistance programs shifted away from large-scale infrastructure projects, the number of construction contractors has declined and the percentage of contractors providing security has increased. Third-country nationals currently make up a larger percentage of total DoD contractors than they have at any previous time, and the percentage of Iraqi nationals has declined to its lowest point yet.
For details on the types of service provided by DoD contractors, and their national origin, see Figure2.13.
pp. 46-47

Tracking Contractors and Grantees in Iraq

On March 23, 2010, the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held hearings on grants and contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among the topics discussed was the ongoing development of the Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) database, which is intended to serve as a coordination tool for U.S. government agencies, contractors, and grantees. Representatives of DoD, DoS, USAID, and GAO stated the following:

•According to DoD, approximately 75% of its contractor personnel were entered into SPOT. Registering Iraqi contractors who are not operating at U.S. military bases or DoD installations is the largest remaining challenge. DoD is using SPOT to track its contractor draw down.

•According to DoS, it has expanded its use of SPOT to include grantees as well as contractor personnel. Additionally, DoS uses SPOT-generated Letters of Authorization (LOAs) to grant privileges to contractors--such as meals and common access cards (CACs)--and can track contractor movements in-country using LOA reader machines.

•According to USAID, the administrative and financial burden of entering individual data for all its partners (which it defines as contractors and grantees) outweighs the benefits, because many do not require LOAs. Additionally, there are concerns that registration of USAID partners working in certain communities could endanger their safety. USAID has arranged with DoD to enter personal data for partners that require LOAs and aggregate data for partners that do not.

•According to GAO, its audits have revealed that inadequate information about contractors and grantees may inhibit planning, increase costs, and introduce unnecessary risk. Agencies have made some progress in implementing SPOT, but their efforts still fall short in terms of having complete and reliable data to fulfill statutory requirements and improve management and oversight. Alternatives to SPOT, including periodic surveys, are generally incomplete and unreliable, particularly for identifying trends and drawing conclusions.

According to further testimony by DoD and USAID, those agencies have reached an agreement whereby USAID will provide aggregate data for grantees--broken down by the broad categories of U.S., local-national, and third-country nationals--which should be sufficient to allow them to use SPOT as a management tool.
The GAO representative acknowledged that different types of data may be required for different classes of contractors and grantees, and that it was up to the agencies to determine what worked best and to coordinate among themselves.
pp. 47-48

FAPIIS Launched To Help Evaluate Contractors

On April 22, 2010, the General Services Administration (GSA) launched the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS), which is "designed to significantly enhance the government's ability to evaluate the business ethics and quality of prospective contractors competing for federal contracts and to protect taxpayers from doing business with contractors that are not responsible sources."
The system was designed to meet the requirements of Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of 2009 (P.L.110-417), which directed GSA to establish a database to track contractor integrity and performance.
Before mid-2009, the only government-wide information available to contracting officers were lists of debarment and suspension actions, which are maintained in the Excluded Parties List System (ELPS). The FAPIIS expands the scope of information available to contracting officers, including:
•records of contractor performance
•contracting officers' non-responsibility determinations
•contract terminations for default or cause
•agency defective pricing determinations
•administrative agreements used to resolve a suspension or debarment
•contractor self-reporting of criminal convictions, civil liability, and adverse administrative actions
p. 48

Private Security Contractor Support

A June 2010 RAND study offers new details on the unprecedented use of PSC support in Iraq over the past seven years. According to the report, between 2003and 2007, the main employers of PSCs--DoD, DoS, and USAID--paid more than $5 billion directly to security contractors. During that same period, prime contractors in Iraq paid an additional $3 billion-$6 billion for PSC services. The U.S. military has called on PSCs for a wide range of services, including static security for bases, convoy security, force protection for USACE, personal security details, and coordination of military activities through the Reconstruction Operations Center. DoS employs several types of armed contractors to staff security programs in Iraq, including diplomatic security special agents, marine security guards, third-country nationals, and personal security specialists.

According to DoD regulations, "PSC personnel are not authorized to participate in offensive operations and must comply with specific USCENTCOM Rules for the Use of Force," which allow the use of deadly force only in self-defense and defense of facilities or property (as specified in their contracts) or for "prevention of life-threatening acts directed against civilians." USF-I provides guidance on the rules of use of force and issues weapons cards to approved PSC personnel, allowing them to carry weapons. The contractor's signature on the weapons card acknowledges an understanding of these rules.

For the totals of armed PSCs serving DoD, DoS, and USAID, see Table 2.16. For more details on contractors in Iraq, see the Reconstruction Funding Management and Uses subsection of this Report.
As SIGIR reported last quarter, some GOI agencies and personnel have harassed PSCs this year. The U.S. Embassy's Regional Security Office provided additional examples of undue bureaucratic restrictions and operational challenges reported this quarter:

• In mid-June, a non-Chief of Mission PSC, on an administrative move without a client, reached an entry control point and prepared to present documents. IA personnel reportedly removed PSC personnel from their vehicles and assaulted them under the threat of deadly force. PSC personnel were arrested, equipment and vehicles confiscated, and the PSC members taken to another location where, reportedly, they were once again assaulted. The reasons for the IA's actions are unknown.
• The MOI Private Security Companies Licensing
and Registration Office has reportedly been issuing arbitrary orders and imposing deadlines that are difficult to meet, which strains the MOI's capacity to manage its own workload.
•Some PSCs report waiting months for the MOI to approve annual license renewal applications, requiring companies to file a renewal even before the original application has been adjudicated. The Regional Security Office (RSO) is uncertain whether this is intentional or simply the result of inaction.
pp. 58-59