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KBR vs. Army: On largest services contract, ‘things have gotten very nasty’

Jim McElhatton – (Federal Times) – May 5, 2013 – Army contracting officer Robert Egan gave contractor KBR Inc. a rare ultimatum: Provide a firm, fixed price on remaining work to close out the largest government services contract in U.S. history. Or else, he added, he was finished talking.

“Until I see that FFP deliverable, I cannot enter further communication exchanges with your contracts team,” Egan told the company in a Feb. 26 email.

At issue is the final stage of the Army’s $38 billion Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) III, the 12-year-old logistics contract that has supported virtually all U.S. military logistics operations in Iraq. The Army seeks to revise the pricing terms on the final work to be done on the contract to be firm, fixed price instead of cost-reimbursable. In response, KBR has filed a lawsuit seeking to keep to the existing cost-reimbursable terms.

At stake in the dispute is far more than varying interpretations of contracting procedures. By its own estimates, KBR says the closeout work on the contract will cost more than $500 Read the remainder of this entry »

Audit free zones and other news

GSA Employees Who Work from Home Racked Up $750,000 in Travel Expenses
Matt Bewig – (AllGov) – June 03, 2012 – The Public Buildings Service (PBS) of the General Services Administration (GSA) has yet another scandal on its hands. PBS has been plagued by a series of scandals since April 2008, when GSA Administrator Lurita Doan was asked by the Bush White House to resign because of serious allegations of conflicts of interest and use of federal properties managed by PBS for partisan purposes, which is prohibited by the Hatch Act. Her successor, Martha Johnson, was brought in by President Obama to clean things up, but she had to resign in April 2012 after the release of an inspector general’s report that bluntly detailed wasteful spending for a PBS training conference for 300 people in Henderson, Nevada, which cost $822,751, or $2,742.50 per person. (Click HERE for article)

Virginia-based Defense Contractor Calnet to Pay $18.1 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Lawsuit
(DoJ) – June 1, 2012 – Calnet Inc. has agreed to pay the United States $18.1 million to resolve allegations that the company submitted false claims to the Department of Defense, the Justice Department announced today. Calnet Inc., an intelligence analysis, information technology and language services company, is headquartered in Reston, Virginia.

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Internal Review Shows Gross Mishandling of Military Whistleblower Reprisal Investigations

Bryan Rahija  – (POGO) – May 7, 2012 – Pentagon investigators mishandled more than half of a set of whistleblower reprisal cases, according to a damning internal assessment report obtained by the Project On Government Oversight.

The Washington Post and iWatch News published stories on the assessment over the weekend.

As POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian told iWatch’s R. Jeffrey Smith and Aaron Mehta, “This devastating report proves one of our worst fears—that military whistleblowers have systematically been getting a raw deal.”

The assessment evaluates 156 of cases from fiscal year 2010 handled by the Department of Defense office tasked with investigating complaints of military whistleblower reprisal, the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) Directorate of Military Reprisal Investigations (MRI). MRI has since merged with the OIG’s Civilian Reprisal Investigations unit to form the Pentagon’s Whistleblower Reprisal Investigations unit.

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Defense procurement problems won’t go away

The Department of Defense (DoD) is taking a major step in stopping the waste of taxpayer dollars. POGO recently learned that DoD sent a legislative proposal to Congress to narrow the definition of a “commercial item” to mean goods or services that are actually sold to the general public in “like quantities.” This proposal is a huge improvement over the current definition, a broadly worded definition open to abuse because it includes good or services “of a type” that are “offered” for sale or lease

…Not surprisingly, the contracting industry is opposing DoD’s proposal, claiming that competition will suffer as certain companies won’t do business with the federal government because of stricter contracting rules… ~Scott Amey, General Counsel, POGO

Walter Pincus – (Washington Post) – May 2, 2012 – In June 1986, after a year-long investigation, then-President Ronald Reagan’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management — later known as the Packard Commission — filed a final report.

It was established to investigate Pentagon procurement after an enormous increase in defense spending and the discovery of the infamous $435 hammer and $600 toilet seat. The panel was chaired by David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Co., and deputy defense secretary in the Nixon administration.

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How does your garden grow and other news

The Department of Defense plans to exempt records of internal law enforcement investigations from Privacy Act disclosure requirements.

The act, which governs record systems maintained by federal agencies, normally requires that individuals be allowed to view records that pertain to them unless the records were gathered for law enforcement purposes, congressional investigations or administrative purposes where the identity of the individual is not disclosed such as census records.

The exemption would allow the DoD to neither confirm nor deny the existence of such records to individuals and government agencies, when disclosure could reveal the existence of an ongoing investigation.

The public may comment on the DoD proposal until May 15. ~Travis Sanford, Courthouse News

Guard Officer Recalls Night Of Alleged Rape
Says current commander got out of car with woman near beach, returned alone
Sean P Murphy and Andrea Estes – (Boston Globe) – March 31, 2012 – A National Guard officer said he remembers the night in 1984 when a woman says she was raped by the current commander of the Massachusetts National Guard, recalling that Joseph C. Carter got out of the car with the woman near a Florida beach, but returned alone.

Carter, who was placed on administrative leave Thursday by Governor Deval Patrick while the Army investigates the rape allegations, denies the attack and insists he has no recollection of Susan Pelletier, who accused him of raping her and agreed to let her name be used.

But Charles Mouris, who in 1984 was a captain and Carter’s superior in a military police unit, clearly remembered Pelletier becoming nauseated as the trio rode together in a car after an evening of socializing at a Florida restaurant. Mouris said Carter escorted a wobbly Pelletier from the car and returned alone sometime later, saying nothing about Pelletier.

“I said to Carter, `Are we all set?’ and he said, `Yes,’ ” said Mouris in an interview at his home. Mouris said he and Carter drove away, leaving Pelletier – who had been vomiting – behind, though Mouris pointed out that the restaurant where they had been socializing was only about a quarter-mile away.

Mouris said he was never questioned about the evening again until January of this year, when an Army investigator interviewed him about the event for approximately 40 minutes. Mouris declined to say what he told the investigator about the alleged rape, but said he answered all the investigator’s questions completely. (Click HERE for article)

Kuwait’s Agility Q4 net profit rises 114 pct
(Reuters) – March 31, 2012 – Kuwait’s Agility, the logistics firm facing U.S. fraud charges, posted a 114-percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit compared with the same period in 2010, the firm said in a statement on Saturday.

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