By NEIL GORDON
The Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC) may be history, but the need for a contingency operations watchdog of the CWC's caliber will never go away. In fact, just as the CWC was closing up shop last week, the State Department Inspector General released a report finding problems on a $12 million contract in Afghanistan.
The State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) awarded a contract to DynCorp International to provide operations and maintenance support services at Camp Falcon in Kabul, Afghanistan. Under the contract, DynCorp provides almost everything needed to sustain the camp, including food, laundry and medical services, pest control, electric power generation, sewage and sanitation, and security. While the Inspector General determined that, in general, DynCorp “adequately” operates and maintains the camp, the report found weaknesses in DynCorp’s performance of food, fuel operations, and static security guard services.
First, the report found that INL overpaid DynCorp as much as $940,000 for meals. Although DynCorp’s cost proposal to INL established a daily rate per person for meals, the subcontractor charged DynCorp per meal rather than per person. DynCorp, in turn, invoiced INL at the higher per meal rate. The overcharges were caused in part by INL’s two in-country contracting officers, who were “spread too thinly” to be able to adequately review and approve all purchases.
Second, the report found that DynCorp could not verify that Camp Falcon receives the correct amount of diesel fuel for its electric generators or determine how much fuel is used at the camp. DynCorp does not maintain records for the amount of fuel pumped in and consumed. Not only does this increase the risk to the government of overpayment and waste, not knowing the amount of fuel on hand could put camp operations at risk if generators unexpectedly run out of fuel. The report notes that DynCorp does not plan to change the current fuel delivery process.
Finally, while DynCorp’s static guard force has been generally effective in ensuring the safety of the camp’s approximately 1,000 residents, the report found that guards did not have the required English language proficiency and worked an excessive number of hours without a break. All of the guards are third-country nationals, yet DynCorp failed to verify their English proficiency. Although guards are supposed to work 6 days per week, the report found guards working 14 days in a row for as many as 24 consecutive pay periods. The report notes that static guard personnel continue to work this grueling schedule. It is for these reasons that POGO has long been concerned about the use of contractor security guards in war zones.
DynCorp, one of the three primary LOGCAP IV contractors in Afghanistan, is currently the 32nd largest contractor in POGO’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database. It has 8 instances of misconduct (3 of which involve allegations of overcharging the government) and $19.5 million in penalties. In January, it was reported that DynCorp violated security procedures at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan by escorting undocumented foreign laborers onto the base. Around that time, POGO had obtained a DynCorp security incident report documenting that several third-country nationals had gained access to Kandahar Airfield through questionable circumstances. In April, DynCorp paid $7.7 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit alleging it defrauded the government on a contract to provide civilian police training in Iraq.
Neil Gordon is a POGO Investigator.
Photo of Camp Falcon guard tower via the State Department Office of Inspector General.