The U.S. Army is gearing up to award the fifth version of the warfighter support services Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract. The ten-year, $82 billion LOGCAP V will provide U.S. and allied forces around the world with a multitude of logistical and life support services including construction, sanitation, dining and recreational facility management, information technology, and transportation.
The Army will start to solicit bids for LOGCAP V sometime next month, and plans to split the contract between four to six prime contractors. Those contractors will then compete for all future task orders. A final award decision is expected by August 2018.
Some industry heavyweights have been making moves to improve their shot at winning a piece of the LOGCAP V. For example, top-100 federal contractor PAE (Pacific Architects and Engineers) is teaming up with other large defense suppliers to form two joint ventures, one with Parsons Corporation and the other with Vectrus Systems. Both joint ventures are headed by Scott Welker, who was recently a senior official at the Army’s Rock Island Arsenal, the administrative headquarters for LOGCAP. (Welker was tapped to lead the PAE-Vectrus joint venture less than three months after he retired from the government.)
However, the competitive advantage of having a LOGCAP insider as their leader could be undercut by the questionable track records of both PAE and Parsons. Last month, PAE paid $5 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging the company failed to conduct the required screening of employees on a contract to train police in Afghanistan. Two years ago, the company paid $1.15 million to settle a case involving a former PAE program manager who was convicted of orchestrating a bid-rigging scheme on another Afghanistan services contract. As for Parsons, its performance on Iraq reconstruction contracts was repeatedly criticized by government auditors, and in 2015 the company paid $3.8 million to settle allegations of mischarging the Department of Energy on a construction project.
LOGCAP first attracted controversy in 2001 when the Army awarded the multi-billion dollar LOGCAP III to KBR, whose former CEO was then-Vice President Dick Cheney. In the years that followed, KBR’s performance on the contract garnered unfavorable audit findings and numerous accusations of fraud. The Army’s decision in 2007 to divide the work under LOGCAP IV between three companies—a decision the Project On Government Oversight strongly supported—has helped reduce, but not totally eliminate, instances of corruption, waste, and mismanagement.
The Army seems to have learned its lesson by making LOGCAP V competitive. Here’s hoping our warfighters get the supplies and services they need, the taxpayers get good deals, and the bad old days of LOGCAP contractor abuses are behind us.