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KBR’s CAR’s Archive

Almost one year and who knows how many revisions later KBR finally submits a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) the DCMA can accept. On September 11, 2008 the DCMA issued a Level III Corrective Action Request (CAR) # HQ-08-LOGCAP-001 LIII to KBR for their Deficient Quality Systems with regards to electrical maintenance and installations. (Click HERE to read that original post)

From the CAR:

a. This enclosure documents two overarching findings of nonconformance:

i. Grounding and Bonding: KBR’s quality system failed to properly identify and systematically correct facility grounding and bonding deficiencies…..

ii. Quality System: KBR’s Inspection/Quality Control System failed to identify and systemically correct numerous Program-wide deficiencies……

Click HERE to read Corrective Action Request (CAR) # HQ-08-LOGCAP-001 LII. Rumor has it this CAR actually started out as a Level IV. It was that serious. But in usually LOGCAP fashion, the DoD succumbed to pressures and lowered the level.

I do not have the final Corrective Action Plan as of yet. As soon as I get it I will post it. If you have it please email it to me.

This CAR was issued after the facts were revealed surrounding the true manner in which SSG Ryan Maseth died. He was electrocuted in his shower due to shoddy electrical work. Specifically improper grounding of the water pump in his building at Radwaniah Palace Complex.

Although the CAP for this CAR has been accepted, this does not mean business as usual for KBR.  They have to consistently adhere to the conditions of the Corrective Action Plan (CAP).  This Level III  CAR and the CAP are a permanent DoD documents.

So…if you have that CAP please send it. If you have information about KBR violating this CAP, please let me know so I can pass it on. I’m sure I will be blogging more about this.

Ms Sparky


The DCMA will not let KBR fail

Posted May 23, 2009 By Ms Sparky

When the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) issued a Level III Corrective Action Request (CAR) to KBR on September 11, 2008 a rumor surfaced that this CAR had actually left Iraq as a Level IV and was then lowered to a Level III by DCMA in Washington DC. But there was no way for me to prove that.

The issuance of a Level IV CAR would have meant sure termination of KBR’s contract. As it should have been.

After the last hearing the Senate Democratic Policy Committee published KBR’s most recent Level III  CAR on their website. I was alerted by a very observant reader to take a look at the footer in the attachments.  Of the 48 attachments to this CAR, 40 of them have this in the footer:

HQ-08-LOGCAP-001 LIV

Note the “LIV”. That means Level 4. This confirms to me that this CAR in fact did leave Iraq as a Level 4 and was downgraded by the DCMA in Washington. So now I must ask why? Why would the DCMA in Washington NOT take the recommendations of those with first hand knowledge of the issue? Those who investigated and wrote the CAR in Iraq?

  1. Would it draw attention to the complete and utter failure of the DCMA to oversee KBR’s contract?
  2. Did the DoD think that KBR could not be replaced?
  3. Was there some back room DoD deal that KBR could stay at all cost?

They are correct on the first point. The DCMA oversight of KBR has been a complete and utter failure from the beginning. But, they are completely wrong on the second point. KBR could have easily been replaced by a competent contractor. It was not necessary to replace every single KBR employee. Bring in new management, because that is the biggest problem.  Replace every manager from the top down to the PM or Site Manger level and then go from there. You could sweeten the deal and entice managers with bonuses to ensure a smooth transition. For those who won’t cooperate, escort them out of the country in handcuffs! It might be a little confusing at first. But you would be money ahead in the long run. You would at least be making forward progress. Right now you are just throwing good money after bad. And on the third point, I’m thinking YES!

The DCMA in Washington  should have paid a little more attention to detail when they downgraded the CAR and no one would have been the wiser. But, now we are and now we want to know why you are protecting KBR.

Updated May 24, 2009 8:24am PST: Click HERE to view CAR # HQ-08-LOGCAP-001 LIII Deficient Quality System – Level III Corrective Action Request, the CAR in question.

Ms Sparky

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By Scott Bronstein and Abbie Boudreau
CNN Special Investigation Unit
January 29, 2008

(CNN)  — Improper wiring by military contractor KBR at U.S. bases in Iraq led to electrical shocks about once every three days for nearly two years, according to Defense Department documents obtained by CNN.
Ryan Maseth, a 24-year-old Green Beret, died in a shower at his base in Iraq on January 2, 2008.

Houston-based KBR, the military contractor responsible for maintaining and providing services at most of U.S. bases across Iraq, had “systemic failures” in its electrical work that threatened the life, health and safety of people inside the bases, according to the documents, from a violation report obtained by CNN.

There were 231 electrical shocks of personnel in Iraq from September 2006 through July 2008 in facilities maintained by KBR, the documents state.

KBR has been at the center of controversy surrounding the electrocution of soldiers on bases in Iraq. Much of the controversy has surrounded the electrocution of Sgt. Ryan Maseth, a highly decorated 24-year old Green Beret from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Maseth was electrocuted in a shower on a U.S. base in Baghdad, Iraq, on January 2, 2008.

At least 18 troops have been electrocuted in Iraq since 2003, and many of the electrocutions have been attributed to shoddy electrical work done on U.S. bases — work managed by U.S. contractors — according to Pentagon sources. Each of the electrocutions has occurred in different locations and under various circumstances.

The violation report shows that electrical shocks and problems with wiring and grounding continued for much of last year, long after Maseth was electrocuted.

Heather Browne, a KBR spokesperson, said the company could not comment on the specific language in the document obtained by CNN because KBR had not seen it.

But the company has previously said that “KBR found no link between work it’s been asked to perform and the reported electrocutions” and that “KBR remains committed to the safety and security of all employees and those the company serves. We have fully cooperated with the government when issues have been raised about work in Iraq and we will continue to do so.”

On the death of Maseth, the company has said, “KBR’s investigation has produced no evidence that KBR was responsible for Sgt. Maseth’s death. We have cooperated fully with all government agencies investigating this matter and will do so in the future.”

Last week, CNN obtained other documents that show the Army investigator assigned to look into Maseth’s electrocution blamed KBR for the death, stating that she believed the cause was “negligent homicide” and that there is “credible information that KBR’s negligence led to Maseth’s death.”

The revelations about the frequency of shocks on bases are found in the complete and detailed report that led to KBR’s citation for being in serious violation of its contract several months ago.

At that time, the Pentagon’s Defense Contract Management Agency gave KBR what is known as a “Level III Corrective Action Request.” That is issued only when a contractor is found in “serious non-compliance” and is just one step below the possibility of suspending or terminating a contract, Pentagon officials said.

While that violation citation was previously known, the report’s precise language and details of KBR’s alleged “failures” were not known until now.

The 45-page report alleges KBR had improper electrical wiring, grounding and overall electrical problems across Iraq.

“The government found systemic KBR failures to properly ground and bond facilities — failures that contributed to theater personnel receiving shocks in KBR maintained facilities on average once every three days” between September 2006 and July 31, 2008, the detailed report says.

That information, the report says, came from KBR’s own statistical records.

“The conditions of these facilities created Life, Health, Safety (LHS) conditions for the occupants. The lack of grounding and bonding, among other electrical deficiencies” were “identified and confirmed by three separate independent inspection teams” from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Army Combat Safety Center and a multinational force working with fire and electricity, the report states.

“Most facilities inspected had electrical deficiencies because KBR failed to consistently follow contract standards every time it constructed or emplaced a facility, inspected a facility, responded to a service order request, or performed maintenance and/or repairs on facilities, generators and utilities,” the report says.

Also, the report says, “the Government is unaware of any efforts undertaken by KBR to independently identify, assess, and implement corrective actions to its electrical support services or quality control inspection program as a result of the extensive number of electrical shock incidents … ”

Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pennsylvania, said his office has received numerous anecdotal reports of U.S. military personnel continuing to receive electric shocks.

“While KBR continues to assure the American people that it has completed its own investigations and has found no evidence of corporate wrongdoing, the emerging facts prove otherwise,” Casey said. “According to an internal investigation led by the Pentagon’s contract auditors, we now know that KBR failed to comply with basic contractual requirements even while being rewarded with billions of dollars by U.S. taxpayers.”

Casey called on the Pentagon “to treat this issue for the danger it represents.” The Defense Department, he said, “has taken some encouraging actions [but] it needs to do much more.”

“And it is high time that KBR begin to suffer real consequences for what I consider to be blatant contractual noncompliance,” Casey said. (Click HERE to go to CNN article)

Ms Sparky
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Level III CAR states KBR tracked 231 shock incidents

Posted January 29, 2009 By Ms Sparky

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Report: U.S. troops exposed to 231 shock incidents

By Robin Acton
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, January 29, 2009

U.S. troops in Iraq suffered electrical shocks about every three days in a two-year period surrounding the electrocution death of a Shaler Green Beret, according to an internal Defense Contract Management Agency report obtained by the Tribune-Review.

The 45-page document — a high-level request for corrective action generated last fall — found that Texas-based military contractor KBR Inc. failed to properly ground and bond its electrical systems, which contributed to soldiers “receiving shocks in KBR-maintained facilities on average once every three days since data was available in Sept. 2006.”

The agency determined that KBR “failed to meet basic requirements to identify life-threatening conditions on tanks, water pumps, electrical outlets and electrical panels.”

The report adds that government search results of a KBR-maintained database revealed that 231 electrical-shock incidents occurred in the period from September 2006 through July 31, 2008 — indicating that the activity continued long after the death of Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, who suffered cardiac arrest after stepping into his Baghdad shower on Jan. 2, 2008.

Records show Maseth was electrocuted when he turned on the water that flowed through metal pipes. The Army Criminal Investigation Division recently determined Maseth’s death was negligent homicide, rather than an accident as previously reported.

The Army named KBR and singled out two unidentified company supervisors for potential criminal liability. As yet, no charges have been filed.

Maseth is among at least 18 Americans — including 16 soldiers and two contractors — who have died of electrocution in Iraq since 2003. In October, Pfc. Justin Shults, 21, of Reading, was shocked and badly burned when he stepped onto metal steps attached to a shower trailer.

The Army said in a statement that the shock suffered by Shults was caused by an “improperly bonded electrical conduit pipe” on the ground.

The report indicates that KBR failed to correct and identify dozens of deficiencies in its contracted work for the government — even after repeated inspections revealed hazards. It adds that government inspectors found “serious National Electric Code violations associated with bonding and grounding of conductors which presented an electrical shock and fire hazard” in various structures throughout the Iraq theater, including a building identified as LSF1.

Maseth’s mother, Cheryl Harris of Allison Park, confirmed that her son lived in that building, which she said is also known as Legion Security Forces building 1. Harris, who has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against KBR, declined to comment on the report on the advice of her attorney.

Heather Browne, director of corporate communications for KBR Inc., released a statement that the company is not providing comment on the report, which has not been released publicly.

“KBR remains committed to the safety and security of all employees and those the company serves. We have fully cooperated with the government when issues have been raised about work in Iraq and we will continue to do so,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the report obtained by the Tribune-Review cites numerous instances in which deficiencies in electrical systems were reported to the contractor and went uncorrected.

The report indicates that male and female troops received shocks in showers, latrine buildings and other locations from loose wires, improper grounding and improper bonding of electrical lines. It adds that inspections last summer revealed that KBR personnel did not follow standard operating procedures and that the company failed to identify poor performance among its workers. (click HERE to go to the original article)

HERE is a link to the other I article I wrote about the Level III CAR

Stay tuned. I will be writing more about this Level III Corrective Action Request (CAR).

Ms Sparky
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KBR Is Issued Level III Corrective Action Request (CAR)

Posted October 17, 2008 By Ms Sparky

Updated 05/21/2009 1:29 pm PST: Since the Senate Democratic Policy Committee has published the Level III CAR issued to KBR in September 2009 on their site, I am going to publish it here as well. Click HERE to upload pdf.

KBR was issued a Level III Corrective Action Request (CAR) approximately 12 days after Congressman Waxman, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform brutally called KBR, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the  Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA)  to task for their roles in the lack of oversight and maintenance at Radwaniyah Palace Complex in Baghdad.

This CAR was issued for Radwaniyah Palace Complex (RPC) where SSG Ryan Maseth died from electrocution in his shower on January 2, 2008. Cheryl Harris has filed suit against KBR for the death of her son Ryan. The issuance of this CAR could have a serious negative impact on KBR’s defense in this case and any other pending electrocution cases.

The following is an excerpt from Sikorsky Parts Issues Come to A Head With LeveL III CAR This is the only reference I could find on a Level III CAR issued by the DCMA. It would appear they are quit rare.

What is a Level III CAR?

A Level III CAR is a serious action just one step below the possibility of suspension or termination of contract. The DCMA Guidebook’s “Navy Special Emphasis Programs (NSEPs) Quality Assurance Representative’s (QAR’s) Instruction” as revised on March 30, 2005 discusses Level III CARs in 3.11.3.3 and subordinate passages:

“3.11.3.3 – A Level III shall be used to call attention to serious contractual non-compliances. A Level III will be used when prior requests for corrective action have been ineffective in obtaining contractor resolution of a non-conformance and the contractor will not take additional or appropriate action. Due to the seriousness of the issue, there may be occurrences when a Level III corrective action request may be appropriate yet prior Level I or II corrective action requests may not have been issued. This will not be a normal practice. Level III CARs are normally supported with prior issued Level II CARs.”

Issue Updates

Level III CARs are serious and rare, but not unheard of; in time, many are resolved via acceptance of the company plan and requisite improvements. Most of the time, coverage ceases after the attention-grabbing CAR.

UPDATED: This definition was sent to me on 10-30-08

Definition of a Level-III Corrective Action Request (from the DCMA Product Assurance Guidebook)

Issued to call attention to serious contractual non-compliances to the supplier’s top management. They may be coupled with contractual remedies such as reductions of progress payments, cost disallowances, cure notices, show cause letters, or business management systems disapprovals.

A Level I or II CAR need not be issued before a Level III CAR is generated.
Due to the seriousness of a Level III CAR, it is recommended that it be signed by a CMO supervisor or higher CMO management personnel and coordinated with the ACO.The CMO Commander should be notified before a Level III is issued.

A copy of the Level III CAR and all accompanying correspondence should be provided to the customer, the District Operations Director, the appropriate DCMA Contract Integrity Center (CIC) Counsel, and the appropriate Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) representative. If a prime contract is involved, a copy should be provided to the responsible Government Office at the prime supplier’s location.

When Level III CARs are closed out, copies of the letter notifying the supplier of the closure action should be sent to all those addressed/copied in the original CAR.

KBR’s original response to this CAR was rejected and on October 15, 2008, KBR met with DoD at the Pentagon to present their new Corrective Action Plan (CAP). It is unknown at this time if the new CAP was accepted, rejected or still under review. It would also appear that $800 million in Award Fees could be at stake.

I feel, this Level III CAR paired with the creation of Task Force Safe has spawned the fury of electrical repairs, grounding and bonding, and the hiring of licensed electricians.

All of which could have been done from the beginning, possibly avoiding fires, injuries and deaths.

It is Ms Sparky’s opinion, this is standard operating practice for KBR. It falls under the, “let’s do it till we get caught” contract management style. Consider yourselves caught. And this is just one issue of many.

I ask DoD to take this opportunity to send a clear message to ALL DoD contractors. By withholding any pending Award Fee from KBR, it sends the message that DoD is serious about contractual compliance. And past non-compliance’s will not simply be dismissed and forgiven.

Ms Sparky