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Windfalls of war: KBR, the government’s concierge

KBR’s umbrella contract to provide everything from showers to rebuilding airfields tops $37 billion. “It’s like a gigantic monopoly,” says one critic.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld talks with troops in Iraq. KBR has been paid $37 billion to build infrastructure like this dining hall. Jim Watson/AP

After a decade of war, KBR’s umbrella contract tops $37 billion

Sharon Weinberger – (The Center for Public Integrity – iWatch News) – August 30, 2011 – The rush to war in the months following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 created an urgency in the Pentagon, not just for military operations but also for contracting.

When U.S. forces moved into Afghanistan in 2001, there was little, if any, infrastructure to support and house U.S. troops. The military needed someone to do everything from housing troops to rebuilding airfields. The solution was a contract called the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LOGCAP, a type of umbrella contract the Army had been using to support is military bases overseas. In late 2001, the Army, after a competition, awarded LOGCAP III to KBR. The Houston-based firm [3], once a subsidiary of Halliburton, began providing everything from showers to dining halls.

Even beyond single-source contracts, the Pentagon has other types of contracts it can use to quickly award work without having to compete specific jobs. They include umbrella-type contracts, like LOGCAP, that allow the government to buy unspecified goods and services over long periods of time. “It’s the government’s way of saying ‘We don’t know what we want, and we don’t know how much it costs,’” said Laura Peterson, a senior policy analyst with Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group. “Instead they say, ‘we’ll put you on retainer and tell you later what we want and when we want it, and you just bill us.’ You become the government’s concierge, and it’s like a gigantic monopoly.”

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Bunnatine Greenhouse settles whistleblower suit after she was injured by boobytrap

(The Bunnatine Greenhouse segment is after the Noraway attacks. I couldn’t figure out how to separate them or fast forward. It’s well worth your patience.)

EXCLUSIVE: Fired Army Whistleblower Receives $970K for Exposing Halliburton No-Bid Contract in Iraq
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