By BRYAN RAHIJA
A top government contractor's failure to meet contractual agreements with the U.S. government put the entire mission of the Afghan National Police (ANP) training program at risk, according to a new joint audit by the Inspectors General (IGs) for the Department of State and Department of Defense (DoD).
The purpose of the audit was to review the transition of contract administration for the ANP training program from the Department of State to DoD.
The IGs found that DynCorp, the U.S.-based firm that won the billion-dollar contract to provide training personnel and life support (e.g.: food, lodging, and security services) for the ANP, fielded only about 40 percent of the training personnel it was supposed to bring in. From Al Jazeera:
Under a $1 billion, two-year contract signed between the Defence Department and DynCorp 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 DynCorp 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.
But it wasn't just DynCorp that the IGs faulted. According to the audit, State and DoD failed to put together a comprehensive plan for the transition. Instead, both Departments developed their own plans independently.
The Departments ended up relying heavily on the contractor's plans, components of which the IG found to be "not feasible." Furthermore, the contractor plans did not address inherently governmental tasks, i.e. tasks that only federal employees can perform because they are so intimately tied to the public interest.
The audit suggests that the lack of coordination on the part of DoD and the State Dept. led to delays in some of the contractor's transition tasks:
During a January 12, 2011, meeting hosted by DOS, incoming and outgoing DynCorp officials stated that DynCorp could develop one transition-in and demobilization plan to facilitate a more efficient transition if DoD and DOS officials could agree on the requirements and priorities. Yet, DoD and DOS officials could not agree upon the transition requirements and priorities during the meeting. Therefore, a DOS official stated that DOS would wait for DoD to approve the contractor’s transition-in plan so that DOS’s contractor’s demobilization plan would match or mirror DoD’s transition-in plan. However, DoD officials did not approve DynCorp’s transition-in plan until January 26, 2011, 27 days into the transition. Subsequently, DOS officials did not approve DynCorp’s final demobilization plan until February 9, 2011, which further delayed the transition because DynCorp was scheduled to begin demobilizing the DOS sites on February 1, 2011. Had DoD and DOS officials agreed on the requirements and priorities before the transition, DynCorp could have initiated some of the transition tasks earlier.
And that's not the only cause for concern. At the time of the audit's completion, DoD had but a skeleton crew in place to oversee the DynCorp contract:
Specifically, of the positions directly or indirectly supporting the new DoD contract:
- [Training Program Support Office] TPSO officials had not filled 7 of the 12 positions designated to provide program and contract management;
- [Defense Contract Management Agency] DCMA officials had not filled three of the six positions designated to provide contract administration;
- NTM-A/CSTC-A [North Atlantic Treaty Organization Training Mission-Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan] officials had not nominated 22 of the 56 [Contracting Officer’s Representatives] CORs that they were responsible for providing; and
- [International Security Assistance Force Joint Command] IJC officials had nominated none of the 114 CORs that they were responsible for providing.
Ah, contingency contracting.
A former Afghan official interviewed by Al Jazeera took a grim view of the ANP training program. “This system right now is not sustainable,” said General Hadi Khaled. “They pay lots of money for brief contracts, without actually listening to the needs of the Afghan police.”
GovExec reported last April that taxpayers had spent $6 billion building the Afghan police forces.
Bryan Rahija edits POGO’s blog.
Image via Flickr user DVIDSHUB.