The Project On Government Oversight blogged last October about the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) finding many serious, long-running structural defects at the Afghan National Army garrison at Camp Pamir in northern Afghanistan (including the cracked latrine shown here). What particularly upset SIGAR about the bungled $73 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) construction project, however, was USACE’s rather lenient treatment of the project’s prime contractor, DynCorp International.
Under a December 2011 contract modification agreement, USACE allowed DynCorp to walk off the job without holding it accountable for the defects. Not only was DynCorp paid in full and released of all repair obligation, USACE also retroactively extended the contract duration date by 948 days (to make it appear that DynCorp had met contractual deadlines) and upgraded DynCorp’s unsatisfactory performance ratings.
On Tuesday, SIGAR posted a memorandum from USACE regarding the current state of affairs at Camp Pamir. First, USACE now estimates that repairing the structural failures at the garrison will cost taxpayers an additional $3.8 million. Second, USACE informed SIGAR that, after a thorough investigation, it has concluded that the DynCorp agreement “was proper and reasonable although it was not favorable to the government.” The memo explains:
Though the process followed was inconsistent with USACE policy, there was sufficient information for TAN [USACE Afghanistan Engineer District - North] leadership to believe that the final negotiated modification was the best course of action for the Kunduz project, and that the alternative of the disputes process would place the government at greater risk and cost.
USACE blamed itself for deficient construction oversight and contract enforcement, and the Afghan Army for occupying—and damaging—the facilities during construction. USACE assured SIGAR that it has implemented reforms to strengthen oversight and ensure that future supplemental contract agreements will be negotiated on more “favorable terms” for the government. (SIGAR determined that the agreement violated a provision of the Federal Acquisition Regulation requiring contract settlements above a certain dollar amount to be submitted for independent agency review before they are finalized.)
Late last year, SIGAR launched its own investigation of the DynCorp agreement. SIGAR’s probe is focusing on possible improprieties by personnel involved in the deal, leading POGO to wonder if there had been an excessive coziness between USACE contracting officials and DynCorp employees. After all, as we pointed out back in October, the revolving door between the Pentagon and DynCorp has been rapidly spinning in recent years.
Image from "Kunduz ANA Garrison: Army Corps of Engineers Released DynCorp of all Contractual Obligations Despite Poor Performance and Structural Failures," SIGAR Inspection – 13-1, October 2012.