WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Claire McCaskill, chair of the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, along with her colleagues Ranking Member Scott Brown (R-MA) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Ranking Member of the full Homeland Security Committee, are demanding to know why the Department of Defense (DOD) appears to be reconsidering plans for an open competition for the support services contract in Iraq. In December, representatives from the Department of Defense testified before the committee that the military intended to award two competitive contracts for Iraq under the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP IV).
LOGCAP III has been plagued by cost-overruns, waste, fraud, and abuse and the competition available under the structure of LOGCAP IV was intended to provide better accountability and bring down costs. In a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the senators demanded to know the basis and justification for any decision to continue parts of the contract with KBR under LOGCAP III.
“A decision by the Army not to implement the additional oversight and cost savings measures of LOGCAP IV does not appear to be in the best interests of the taxpayer or the Department,” the senators wrote in the letter.
Following numerous problems and complaints, including a Justice Department lawsuit against KBR for improper billing of security services, the LOGCAP III contract was ended and LOGCAP IV replaced it. After pledging to compete the new contract, in February KBR won a contract to provide logistics support services, transportation, and postal services in Iraq. This contract is one of two services contracts envisioned to be competed and awarded under LOGCAP IV in Iraq. The Commission on Wartime Contracting estimated that the competition saved the taxpayers an estimated 46 percent.
However, it has recently come to light that the Army now plans to halt the competition for the second piece of the work to be carried out in Iraq, work to provide base life support services in Iraq. This, the second of the two support services contracts for Iraq under LOGCAP IV would now remain under LOGCAP III and competition for the work would be circumvented.
The senators demanded to know the basis of any decision regarding the completion under LOGCAP IV for these services, and whether the Defense Department has even taken the Justice Department’s lawsuit against KBR into consideration in its decision.