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DoJ warns of fallout in Army-KBR contract dispute

Jim McElhatton – (Federal Times) – June 4, 2013 – The outcome of a court battle between the Army and KBR over the final stages of LOGCAP III, the largest government services contract in U.S. history, could affect tens of thousands of federal contracts while creating “enormous uncertainty” for vendors and the government alike, according to the Justice Department.

The warning, delivered in the footnote of a recent U.S. Court of Federal Claims pleading, marks the latest development in a dispute to decide how to close out the 12-year-old, $38 billion military logistics contract supporting military operations in Iraq.

While the Army has pushed to change the LOGCAP III pricing structure to a firm, fixed-price basis, KBR has sued to keep the closeout work under the existing cost-reimbursable arrangement. Read the remainder of this entry »

Tom’s all for relief, but here’s the story of how I got relieved unfairly in Iraq

Originally posted by Thomas E. Ricks – (Foreign Policy) July 25, 2012

By Col. Larry Wexler (U.S. Army, ret.)

Best Defense department of first person experience

I served i n Iraq from 2008-2009 and served as the deputy program director for LOGCAP Iraq. I was relieved of my duties in March 2009 after having apparently performed them just fine from October 2008 to March 2009. In January my supervisor recommended me for a Bronze Star for the work I was doing. He was stationed at Rock Island and came for a theater visit in February 2009. At no time did he mention any performance issues or his intentions to relieve me of my duties. What had transpired up to that time was I reported fraud, waste, and abuse on the part of the SERCO Management Contract and certain of the contractors and a failure to perform on the part of KBR on their contract. Prior to all this I had served 30 years in the Army in both active and reserve and extended my retirement a year to serve on the LOGCAP contract, had been promoted to Colonel, had command assignments up to 06 level and had attended the U.S. Army War College. I was also mobilized for two years on a joint assignment as the chief of staff of a deployable joint task force headquarters core element. In my civilian career I served as a vice president of corporate infrastructure — essentially purchasing and contracting.

Look who’s whining now, the “chilling effects” of Pentagon budget cuts

USG Contractor

The war in Iraq is over and the war in Afghanistan is winding down. The United States is inching its way out of the worst recession in history. The one industry that has continued to thrive, while everyone else has held on fearing for their future, is the defense industry. During the political divisions, or maybe diversions is a more accurate term, within both the House and Senate, the lobbyists have seen to it their fat cat clients are untouchable.

Now, the gravy train is slowly coming to a stop and a sense panic appears to be descending on the corner offices of DoD contractors everywhere.

The prospect of budget cuts is having a “chilling effect” on the defense industry and companies such as Lockheed may stop hiring and training, Stevens, chairman and chief executive of the world’s largest defense contractor, said today at a conference in Washington. ~ Automatic Pentagon Cuts Must Be Stopped, Lockheed Chief Says

I am certain I’m not the first to say this, “It is about f’ing time these companies got off the taxpayer’s teat.” Read the remainder of this entry »

Risk Safety, Have Govt Contract Fees Reduced

Tish Kraft – (Courthouse News) – WASHINGTON – February 28, 2012 –  The Department of Defense may reduce or deny award fees to government contractors found to jeopardize the health or safety of government personnel, under an interim rule now adopted as final.

This rule also modifies the requirement that information on the final determination of award fee be entered into the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System.

Specifically, the DoD employee must: “Include in the evaluation criteria of any award-fee plan, a review of contractor and subcontractor actions that jeopardized the health or safety of government personnel, through gross negligence or reckless disregard for the safety of such personnel, as determined through-(1) Conviction in a criminal proceeding, or finding of fault and liability in a civil or administrative proceeding …; or (2) If a contractor or a subcontractor at any tier is not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts, a final determination of contractor or subcontractor fault resulting from a DoD investigation.”

Also: “In evaluating the contractor’s performance under a contract that includes the [reduction or denial clause], the contracting officer shall consider reducing or denying award fees for a period if contractor or subcontractor actions cause serious bodily injury or death of civilian or military government personnel during such period. The contracting officer’s evaluation also shall consider recovering all or part of award fees previously paid for such period. (Click HERE for original article)  (Click HERE this regulation and others)

“We can’t do anything about it until we get the call.” How about you pick up the phone!

Worse than traitors in arms are the men who pretend loyalty to the flag, feast and fatten on the misfortunes of the nation while patriotic blood is crimsoning the plains of the south and their countrymen are moldering in the dust. ~Abraham Lincoln

In the last few weeks the DoD and other government entities have issued press releases requesting our help in identifying criminal acts committed hither and yon. They are asking for support in their new found “investigative momentum” against fraud in combat zones.

Not only did many critics consider the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction late to the game — opening its office seven years into the war — but already in its short life its first chief has resigned, the man who replaced him also quit, and Congress has blasted the agency for not living up to its mission.

I have heard from many readers that Afghanistan is crawling with fraud, waste and abuse.  Many have commented on the fact that the “good old boys” from Iraq simply switched out their  lanyards for a new color and are carrying on, business as usual.

Trent’s office is similar to its predecessor in America’s other war — the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, for which Trent has also worked. But while that office faced its own challenges, including a Republican-led effort to shut it down in 2006, the agency eventually came into its own and has been widely praised by lawmakers.

According to its own figures, the Iraq office has returned more than $154 million to taxpayers from seizures and other actions over the last seven years, and its investigations have lead to 57 convictions, many of them of military personnel, on charges including bribery, fraud, and money laundering. ~Director: Agency to get aggressive with fraud, waste in Afghanistan – Stars and Stripes

Here’s my problem with the statement above, first of all $157 million is merely a drop in the bucket.  According to reports, and there have been plenty, tens of BILLIONS have been misappropriated and wasted.  To date only a few small fry’s have seen the inside of a courtroom. 

Read the remainder of this entry »