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3rd anniversary of the electrocution death of SSG Ryan Maseth

3 years ago today, 24 year old  entered the shower in his Special Forces living quarters at the Radwaniyah Palace Complex in Baghdad, Iraq and he died. He was electrocuted do to an improperly installed water pump on the roof of his building.

The Army initially reported that Ryan, a decorated Green Beret foolishly took an electrical appliance into the shower and that was the reason for his death.

The Criminal Investigations Command (CID) closed Ryan’s investigation on June 11, 2008 proclaiming Ryan’s manner of death was “accidental”. His mother, refused to accept this as the cause of death for her son. Read the remainder of this entry »

David Isenberg: Qarmat Ali AND KBR, Redux

Holy KBR, Batman. Will this fiendish clown prince of corporate cupidity ever cease and desist?

Excellent question, Boy Wonder. I fear that as long as there is a U.S. taxpayer supported government LOGCAP program to be plundered KBR will always be with us.

Well, okay, Adam West never really had that exchange with Burt Ward. And, after my post yesterday on KBR I really didn’t intend to write on KBR again.

But that was before I saw today’s press release from the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Read the remainder of this entry »

Kustom Products provided military with faulty helicopter parts, U.S. alleges

Pentagon targets CB firm

Jessica Musicar, Staff Writer – October 18, 2010

Military personnel call it “the Jesus Nut.”

So important is the aviation locknut to helicopter construction that its failure could mean death or serious injury for chopper crews.

The “flight critical” locknuts attach main rotors of some helicopters to their masts, including on the “Kiowa” OH-58 A/c helicopter.

“It would be like the lug nuts of your tire coming off while you’re driving,” said Jeffery Bass, President and CEO of the Hiller Aviation Museum, in San Carlos, Calif.

“It’s just going to fall apart.”

According to a Department of Defense special agent’s application for a search warrant against Kustom Products Inc., and Southern Oregon Sterling Parts and Service Inc., both located at 1084 S. Fifth St., Coos Bay, the companies may have provided 1,900 defective locknuts in the military aviation supply chain.

$31M in contracts
“By providing less-expense substitute parts, contrary to what the contracts and purchase orders required, KPI and SOS were able to secure contracts by underbidding its competitors, delivering nonconforming substitute parts, and substantially profiting from this practice,” Special Agent James E. McMaken wrote to the United States District Court for the District of Oregon.

Since September 2005, Southern Oregon Sterling and Kustom have received about $31 million in contracts from the Defense Department.

Both businesses are owned by Harold Bettencourt II, who employs his four sons.

Properties searched
Late last month, agents from the FBI, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, searched several properties and vehicles belonging to the Bettencourt family in Coos Bay, North Bend and Myrtle Point.

The searches were part of an investigation into allegations of fraud involving aircraft or space vehicle parts, false claims, conspiracy to commit or defraud the government, wire fraud, tampering with a witness, victim or informant, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity, and money laundering.

No arrests
Gerri Badden, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, District of Oregon, said no one from the Bettencourt family has been arrested and the investigation continues.

Read the remainder of this entry »

DoD contractor CSA jeopardizes military mission due to lax security

DoD: Civilian contractors in Kuwait didn’t have proper clearances

From Charley Keyes, CNN Senior Producer September 22, 2010

Washington (CNN) — A new Defense Department report says many civilian contractors working in Kuwait didn’t have proper clearances and could have jeopardized the safety of U.S. military personnel and undermined national security.

The Defense Department Inspector General said dozens of contractors worked in sensitive positions without security clearances or the official passes they needed. And some of those people, according to the report, were allowed to remain on the job even after inspectors uncovered the security problems.

The report says a company called Combat Support Associates (CSA) was awarded the contract in 1999 for what was called Combat Support Services Contract-Kuwait (CSSC-K). The contract was extended and is due to expire at the end of September after costing the government more than $3.3 billion dollars.

“CSSC-K contractor employees occupied sensitive positions such as force protection officers, system administrators, and supply inspectors in Kuwait without obtaining security clearances,” the report says.

The department’s inspector general says the company’s security office failed to track 21 of 379 employees who were in sensitive positions, such as ammunition supply, and that 11 employees did not have a valid security clearance. In addition there was no information whether some of the employees had a U.S. passport, although U.S. citizenship was required by the contract.

“Additionally, CSA officials allowed 20 employees to remain in sensitive positions without the required security clearance after its internal quality assurance office and DCMA ( the Defense Contract Management Agency, overseeing the contract) officials informed CSA officials that they were in violation of the contract,” the report says. “If DCMA and contractor officials do not ensure that all employees have the required security clearances and maintain proper security information, they jeopardize the military mission and threaten the safety and security of the military, civilian, and contractor personnel in Kuwait.”

CNN was unable to contact representatives of the contractor. The inspector general’s report says the company claims it did not understand the terms of the agreement.

“According to CSA’s human resources information system analyst, the Army did not clearly define or designate all sensitive positions; therefore, CSA officials relied on their own department managers to determine which positions required a security clearance,” the report says.

And the report suggests the Army and Pentagon’s oversight of the contract may have been lacking.

“If the Army does not ensure that all contractor employees have the required security clearances and maintain proper security information, these employees pose a threat to the military, civilian, and U.S. contractor personnel in Kuwait, as well as to national security,” the report says. (click HERE for original article)

IG: Infighting hampers oversight of Defense contractors

Robert Brodsky,  August 12, 2010 – The lack of cooperation between two key Defense Department oversight agencies might be allowing contractor performance problems to slip through the cracks, according to new findings by a department watchdog.

In a report released on Wednesday, the Defense Department inspector general sustained allegations that on two occasions in 2008, the Defense Contract Management Agency failed to provide its audit counterpart with sufficient time to review an unnamed contractor’s compliance with Earned Value Management guidelines. Earned Value Management is a tool Defense and industry use to provide early warnings of potential contract cost overruns and schedule performance problems.

The report said DCMA’s Earned Value Management Center in Tucson, Ariz., provided the Defense Contract Audit Agency with an “unreasonably short time frame” to meaningfully participate in the 2008 reviews.

“Consequently, the center issued its conclusions on the acceptability of the contractor’s Earned Value Management System without adequately resolving DCAA-reported noncompliances or obtaining any DCAA expert audit advice,” the IG said.

Problems between DCAA and DCMA are not new. Former Rep. Christopher Shays, now a co-chairman of the Commission on Wartime Contracting, referred to the agencies’ relationship as “dysfunctional” during an August 2009 hearing.

Read the remainder of this entry »