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(Press Release) – Washington, DC – May 24, 2012 – Today, Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Rep. John F. Tierney, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, sent joint letters to Supreme Foodservice GmbH and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) requesting a host of documents relating to their ongoing investigation into a multi-billion dollar contract to provide food and other supplies to American bases in Afghanistan.
“It is outrageous that DLA could ever be in the position of possibly overpaying any vendor by three quarters of a billion dollars- especially at a time when troop levels are being scaled back because funding is tight,” said Chairman Chaffetz. “The Subcommittee will work with the Department of Defense to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding this apparent lack of oversight.”
“The American taxpayers refuse to accept a government contractor that bills more than $750 million in unsubstantiated charges, and they refuse to accept the Pentagon’s failure to manage this contract properly,” said Ranking Member Tierney. “Chairman Chaffetz and I plan to continue our vigorous bipartisan oversight efforts, to fully investigate the problems with this contract, and to determine how they will affect the impending award of the new contract.”
Four Tajiks killed in helicopter crash in Afghanistan
(Monsters and Critics) – Kabul – February 12, 2012 – A helicopter used by a civilian company contracted to NATO crashed in southern Afghanistan, killing all four Tajik crew members, officials said Sunday.
The crash was due to a technical malfunction, said Mohammad Jan Rasolyar, the deputy governor of Zabul province, where the crash took place.
But the Taliban in an online statement claimed its fighters had shot down the helicopter.
The Russian-made EY-106 helicopter belonged to the global logistic company Supreme Group, which provides services for the international troops stationed in the war torn country.
The company in a statement said that four crew members of the helicopter who were killed in the Saturday crash were Tajik nationals.
The helicopter was transporting food and water, it said.
‘Investigations as to the cause of the crash are ongoing but no other parties appear to have been involved in the incident,’ the company said.
Last month, a NATO helicopter crashed in the southern province of Helmand, killing six foreign soldiers. (Click HERE for original article)
By ROD NORDLAND (NYTimes)
Published: February 11, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan — Even dying is being outsourced here.
This is a war where traditional military jobs, from mess hall cooks to base guards and convoy drivers, have increasingly been shifted to the private sector. Many American generals and diplomats have private contractors for their personal bodyguards. And along with the risks have come the consequences: More civilian contractors working for American companies than American soldiers died in Afghanistan last year for the first time during the war.
American employers here are under no obligation to publicly report the deaths of their employees and frequently do not. While the military announces the names of all its war dead, private companies routinely notify only family members. Most of the contractors die unheralded and uncounted — and in some cases, leave their survivors uncompensated.
“By continuing to outsource high-risk jobs that were previously performed by soldiers, the military, in effect, is privatizing the ultimate sacrifice,” said Steven L. Schooner, a law professor at George Washington University who has studied the civilian casualties issue.
Last year, at least 430 employees of American contractors were reported killed in Afghanistan: 386 working for the Defense Department, 43 for the United States Agency for International Development and one for the State Department, according to data provided by the American Embassy in Kabul and publicly available in part from the United States Department of Labor.
By comparison, 418 American soldiers died in Afghanistan last year, according to Defense Department statistics compiled by icasualties.org, an independent organization that monitors war deaths. Read the remainder of this entry »
Tony Capaccio – (Bloomberg) – December 13, 2011 – The Pentagon is pressing one of the largest contractors in Afghanistan, Supreme Foodservice AG, to refund within 30 days overpayments of $756.9 million in unsupported transportation costs, according to a spokeswoman.
The Defense Logistics Agency made the decision last week“after extensive negotiations, in which Supreme and the agency were unable to agree on final rates” for a contract first awarded in December 2005, said agency spokeswoman Mimi Schirmacher in a statement.
Supreme Foodservice of Ziegelbrucke, Switzerland, through Sept. 30 has been paid $5.5 billion since 2005 to supply and transport food, water, three-layered corrugated packing boxes and other non-food items to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. It provides fresh fruits and vegetables to as many as 246 sites in Afghanistan under the agency’s “Subsistence Prime Vendor”program.
Supreme Group, a king of U.S. military logistics, earned billions supplying food to troops in Afghanistan. Now, in a case reminiscent of Halliburton’s Iraq scandal, the contractor is under investigation for overbilling taxpayers. Aram Roston reports.
Aram Roston – (The Daily Beast) – November 27, 2011 – At first blush, Michael Jacques Gans doesn’t appear to be your typical defense contractor. An attorney by training, Gans spends his spare time racing a mint-condition, sky-blue Bugatti race car—vintage 1927—on tracks across Europe. He doesn’t reside inside Washington’s Beltway, preferring instead his home in Germany or a multimillion-dollar duplex on New York’s Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park.
And Supreme Group, the firm he co-owns with his German-born wife, Nina Von Steuben, and American businessman Stephen Orenstein, is hardly a household name in the U.S. with its main operations in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Dubai. But inside Afghanistan, Supreme is a king of U.S. military logistics, performing a dizzying amount of wartime business that has earned the firm billions of dollars, easily enough to support a luxury lifestyle for its owners.
For the last six years, Supreme has imported all of the U.S military’s food into Afghanistan, and its contract was extended by the Pentagon in 2010 for two years and $4 billion without the normal competitive bidding. But that’s just part of its business. Supreme also runs military mess halls on Forward Operating Bases, trucks gasoline and diesel into Afghanistan from both Uzbekistan and Pakistan, and operates two warehouses that it boasts are now the largest structures in Afghanistan, dwarfing even the country’s ancient palaces. Since 2005, the company’s various Pentagon contracts in Afghanistan have been worth $8 billion.