Defense juggernaut KBR Inc. was awarded a contract potentially worth $2.8 billion for support work in Iraq as U.S. forces continue to leave the country, military authorities said Tuesday.
KBR was notified of the award Friday, a day after the company told shareholders it lost about $25 million in award fees because of flawed electrical work in Iraq.
The Houston-based company was charged with maintaining the barracks where Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth of Pittsburgh, a 24-year-old Green Beret, was electrocuted in 2008 while showering. The company has denied wrongdoing, and investigators said in August there was “insufficient evidence to prove or disprove” that anyone was criminally culpable in Maseth’s death.
The uproar over his death triggered a review of 17 other electrocution deaths in Iraq and widespread inspections and repairs of electrical work in Iraq, much of it performed by KBR.
Dan Carlson, a spokesman for the Army Sustainment Command in Rock Island, Ill., said the new contract is for one year, with an option for four more. KBR will handle logistics support, transportation mission, and postal operations.
KBR has long been the military’s largest support contractor in Iraq, providing troops with everything from mail and laundry to housing and meals. The new award was made through a revamped contract structure intended to foster competition among companies.
“The award demonstrates that the government recognizes KBR’s ability and expertise in delivering high quality service in challenging contingency environments,” KBR said in a statement.
Charles Tiefer, a professor of government contracting at the University of Baltimore Law School and a vocal critic of KBR, called the award an “outrage” because of the company’s record in Iraq.
“Giving KBR this contract while denying them award fees for their enormous problem of accidentally electrocuting soldiers amounts to rapping them on the knuckles on one hand while handing them a multibillion dollar deal in the other,” said Tiefer, who is also a member of the independent Commission on Wartime Contracting.
Last October, the Defense Contract Audit Agency criticized KBR for having more employees in Iraq than were necessary. The excess, the agency said, was unnecessarily costing U.S. taxpayers.
KBR said it had reduced the size of its work force in Iraq consistent with guidance from U.S. military commanders. The company also fired back at the audit agency for its “heavy-handed intrusion” into the military’s complex logistics process.
Carlson said Army Sustainment Command is working closely with commanders in Iraq to make sure the contractor work force is properly sized to support drawdown operations in Iraq.
On the Net:
Army Sustainment Command: http://www.aschq.army.mil/home/default.aspx
Source: AP News
Melania Trump brags her husband ‘sees potential’ in the gays
In a bizarre moment, the first lady announced that President Donald Trump is all for gay people.
Speaking to a crowd in Atglen, Pennsylvania, Melania Trump described the president as someone “who sees potential in everyone he meets, no matter their gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.”
She didn't use the typical term LGBTQ or even mention transgender people. But mentioning LGBTQ voters likely isn't a good idea in the Trump administration because of the laundry list of things they've done to hurt the community.
“Donald loves helping people and he loves seeing those around him and his country succeed,” Mrs. Trump added, claiming he has a “very big heart and a great sense of humor.”
Veteran Republican operative drops a scathing op-ed as he leaves the GOP: ‘Real Americans don’t pledge fealty to a strongman’
Mike Gillis has served in numerous Republican administrations over the decades. In an op-ed published in the New Yorker this Thursday, Mike Gillis announced that he's leaving the Republican Party.
"...I cannot stand idly by and watch as these crooks take over the party I love. I cannot abide this coarsening of discourse, and so on and so forth, etc., etc. Here are the reasons that I am leaving the Republican Party," Gillis writes.
According to Gillis, Trump is "ruthlessly" dividing the country.
"Brother pitted against brother, cat against dog, exterminator against cockroach, sentient robot against mad inventor. Americans must accept that, no matter our particular beliefs, we are all citizens of the United States—whether we be Republican or Democrat, Canadian or Bulgarian, Mesopotamian or Sumerian."
‘Reckless incompetence and intentional cruelty’: House issues scathing report on Trump migrant family separation policy
The Trump administration knew it would not be able to reunite refugee and other migrant families as it ripped children—including infants—from the arms of their parents but did so anyway, according to a congressional report released Thursday on the U.S. government's family separation policy.
"The Trump administration's family separation policy lasted far longer than is commonly known and was marked by reckless incompetence and intentional cruelty."—House Judiciary Committee reportThe House Judiciary Committee spent 21 months investigating the planning and execution of the administration's policy, which resulted in the seizure of more than 2,500 migrant children—including some with physical and mental disabilities—from their parents. Its report (pdf) is the "first complete narrative of the inhumane family separation policy in the administration's own words."