Inspectors Slam Army, Contractor for Shoddy Afghan Base
DynCorp was paid $73 million for base plagued with issues, contractor says problems started after it completed work
Paul D. Shinkman – (US News) – December 13, 2012 – The government office tasked with monitoring U.S. efforts to rebuild Afghanistan claims the U.S. Army lost tens of millions of dollars supposed to be used to re-construct an Afghan Army base that remains in disrepair.
The Office of the Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has opened an investigation into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its $73 million contract with DynCorp International to build an Afghan National Army base at Camp Pamir in the northern Kunduz Province.
DynCorp was paid in full and released from the contract, SIGAR says, though the base is plagued with structural failures and a crumbling foundation. This investigation stems from an October report outlining the issues.
“We found major structural failures, improper grading, and sink holes at the site,” writes SIGAR’s John F. Sopko in a Dec. 13 letter to the Corps of Engineers’ top general.
“Most alarming was our discovery that despite the unsatisfactory performance by DynCorp–USACE’s prime contractor at the site–USACE had released DynCorp from all contractual liabilities and warranty obligations and paid the company nearly $73 million for its work at Camp Pamir,” he says.
James B. Balocki, head of the Army’s Transatlantic Division Regional Integration Team, tasked with overseeing engineering and technical support for domestic and foreign governments. In a memo cited in SIGAR’s letter, Balocki said the corps did not have sufficient information to release DynCorp from their contract, which “raises a number of concerns.”
“Mr. Balocki’s memorandum along confirms the need for further investigation of the DynCorp settlement,” wrote Sopko. “However, we have also become aware of questionable actions on the part of personnel involved in the DynCorp settlement negotiations, which have prompted us to open an investigation.”
DynCorp says SIGAR never contacted the contractor for information before releasing the report, and takes issue with many of its conclusions.
“That report made several unsupported leaps connecting [DynCorp] to current conditions at a location where the company has not had a presence for more than a year,” says company spokeswoman Ashley Burke in an E-mail to U.S. News.
Pictures in the SIGAR report are dated 2012. DynCorp left the site in early 2011, Burke says, and other contractors have been working on the site since 2010.
“We are unable to comment on 2012 site conditions that may or may not exist today; the site was turned over in 2011 and the current occupants have been responsible for the maintenance and care of the facilities since,” she says. “Other phases of construction and further site grading by other contractors on the site had already commenced in 2010 and continued after [DynCorp] left.”
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