Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Posts Tagged ‘State Department’

The Ronco Riff

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 25, 2012

October 25, 2012

Voluntary Today, Involuntary Tomorrow

Another Successful Flush by Wackenhut G4S

Will the last Ronco Consulting Corporation Employee out please close the lid ?

Posted in Afghanistan, Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, G4S, Iraq, Ronco Consulting, State Department, Taxes, Wackenut | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Defense Base Act Insurance State Department Solicitation (Cancelled)

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 12, 2012

Per the State Department:  July 23, 2012
Contractors requiring DBA insurance will need to purchase the insurance in the open market. Contractors subject to the Act are legally responsible for ensuring that their employees are insured. We are providing contractors with a link to the Department of labor’s list of authorized DBA Insurers.
Solicitation Number:
SAQMMA12R0262
Notice Type:
Modification/Amendment
Synopsis:
Added: Jul 18, 2012 1:29 pm

The solicitation is cancelled because no proposals were received.

Agency: U.S. Department of State
Office: Office of Logistics Management
Location: Acquisition Management
Solicitation Number:
SAQMMA12R0262
Notice Type:
Presolicitation
Synopsis:
Added: Jun 12, 2012 1:10 pm

INFORMATIONAL NOTICE ONLY – NO RESPONSE IS SOLICITED AT THIS TIME

The solicitation will be released in June, 2012 for award in July, 2012.
The Department of State (DoS or Department) seeks to designate, through an unrestricted competitive source selection process, a qualified insurance company as its exclusive Defense Base Act insurance provider (Insurer) for a period of two years with an option to extend for six months. The Insurer shall sell the insurance to DoS contractors at the rates no higher than those set forth in an Agreement with the Department

Posted in Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Ex-Blackwater executives finger CIA in weapons trial

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 2, 2012

Cross Posted from Civilian Contractors

Several other lawsuits filed by Contractor Employers will expose the extent to which Civilian Contractors were actually working for the CIA and the State Department in capacities that are not known to the public.

It is known that Ronco Consulting has worked for/with the CIA via the State Department .

The Virginian Pilot  June 2, 2012

Five ex-Blackwater executives, facing federal firearms charges in connection with a gift of weaponry to a Middle Eastern monarch, have come up with a new explanation for how it occured:

It was a CIA operation.

In court papers filed last month in Raleigh, the defendants say the gift of five guns to King Abdullah II of Jordan during a royal visit to Blackwater’s Moyock, N.C., headquarters in March 2005 was requested, directed and authorized by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Attorneys for the five have filed declarations from two retired CIA officials, including a former Jordan station chief, who say they are familiar with the circumstances of the king’s visit and would be willing to testify about it.

The CIA did not respond to a request for comment.

It’s a new wrinkle in a case that dates to April 2010, when the five security company executives were indicted on a variety of felony firearms charges. One key section of the indictment involved King Abdullah’s 2005 visit to Moyock, during which the monarch was presented a Bushmaster M4 rifle, a Remington shotgun and three Glock handguns.

Please read the entire article here

Posted in Blackwater, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Misjudgements, Political Watch, Ronco Consulting, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

US embassy to ‘localise’ Iraq operations

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 16, 2012

AFP February 16, 2012

BAGHDAD — The United States embassy in Iraq is to increase its reliance on local goods and services as part of efforts to cut the size of its mission, the largest in the world, a top State Department official said on Wednesday.

Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Thomas Nides told reporters during a visit to Baghdad that as part of such efforts, “we’ll look at the contract piece,” specifically “purchasing more local goods and services.”

“We’re basically telling our contractors we expect them to source more of the food internally than bringing it over the border, and so that will obviously lessen our dependence on some of the contracts,” Nides said.

“We have a very much aggressive hire … Iraqi programme, meaning that we’re being very clear not only to our contractors but even here for our staff to begin to localise much of our operations,” he said.

Contractors, he said, have been given targets to reach.

Please read the entire article here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Iraq, State Department | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Flexing Muscle, Baghdad Detains U.S. Contractors

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 15, 2012

“While private organizations are often able to resolve low-level disputes and irregularities, this issue is beyond our ability to resolve,” the International Stability Operations Association, a Washington-based group that represents more than 50 companies and aid organizations that work in conflict, post-conflict and disaster relief zones, said in a letter on Sunday to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Doug Brooks, president of the organization, said in a telephone interview that the number of civilian contractors who have been detained was in the “low hundreds.” He added in an e-mail on Sunday, “Everyone is impacted, but the roots have more to do with political infighting than any hostility to the U.S.”

The New York Times January 15, 2012

BAGHDAD — Iraqi authorities have detained a few hundred foreign contractors in recent weeks, industry officials say, including many Americans who work for the United States Embassy, in one of the first major signs of the Iraqi government’s asserting its sovereignty as a result of the American troop withdrawal last month

The detentions have occurred largely at the airport in Baghdad and at checkpoints around the capital after the Iraqi authorities raised questions about the contractors’ documents, including visas, weapons permits, and authorizations to drive certain routes. Although no formal charges have been filed, the detentions have lasted from a few hours to nearly three weeks.

The crackdown comes amid other moves by the Iraqi government to take over functions that had been performed by the United States military and to claim areas of the country it had controlled. In the final weeks of the military withdrawal, the son of Iraq’s prime minister began evicting Western companies and contractors from the heavily fortified Green Zone, which had been the heart of the United States military operation for much of the war.

Just after the last American troops left in December, the Iraqis stopped issuing and renewing many badges, weapons licenses and other authorizations. The restrictions created a curious sequence of events in which contractors were being detained for having expired documents that the government would not renew.

The Iraqi authorities have also imposed new limitations on visas, a new twist on a longstanding issue for foreigners in Iraq in which the rules for gaining approval appear to change every few months. In some recent cases, contractors have been told they have 10 days to leave Iraq or face arrest in what some industry officials call a form of controlled harassment.

Earlier this month, Iraqi authorities kept scores of contractors penned up at Baghdad’s international airport for nearly a week until their visa disputes were resolved. Industry officials said more than 100 foreigners were detained; American officials acknowledged the detainments but would not put a number on them.

Latif Rashid, a senior adviser to the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, and a former minister of water, said in an interview that the Iraqis’ deep mistrust of security contractors had led the government to strictly monitor them. “We have to apply our own rules now,” he said.

Private contractors are integral to postwar Iraq’s economic development and security, foreign businessmen and American officials say, but they remain a powerful symbol of American might, with some Iraqis accusing them of running roughshod over the country.

An image of contractors as trigger-happy mercenaries who were above the law was seared into the minds of Iraqis after several violent episodes involving private sector workers, chief among them the 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square when military contractors for Blackwater killed 17 civilians.

Iraq’s oil sector alone, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the government’s budget, relies heavily on tens of thousands of foreign employees. The United States Embassy employs 5,000 contractors to protect its 11,000 employees and to train the Iraqi military to operate tanks, helicopters and weapons systems that the United States has sold them.

The United States had been providing much of the accreditation for contractors to work in Iraq, but after the military withdrawal, that role shifted to the Iraqi bureaucracy around the time when the government was engulfed in a political crisis and when Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, fearing a coup, was moving tanks into the Green Zone.

The delays for visa approvals have disrupted the daily movement of supplies and personnel around Iraq, prompting formal protests from dozens of companies operating in Iraq. And they have raised deeper questions about how the Maliki government intends to treat foreign workers and how willing foreign companies will be to invest here.

“While private organizations are often able to resolve low-level disputes and irregularities, this issue is beyond our ability to resolve,” the International Stability Operations Association, a Washington-based group that represents more than 50 companies and aid organizations that work in conflict, post-conflict and disaster relief zones, said in a letter on Sunday to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contracotrs Detained, Defense Base Act, Iraq, Political Watch, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

US Injured Contractors lawsuit alleges Blackwater failed to pay benefits

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 8, 2011

The lawsuit says Xe and its workers compensation insurers refused to provide benefits until forced to do so “after drawn out disputes in administrative courts.”

AFP June 8, 2011

WASHINGTON — Four former employees of Blackwater, the scandal-plagued security firm now called Xe, have filed a $60 million class action lawsuit claiming the firm failed to pay health and pension benefits to its employees.

Their lawyer, Scott Bloch, said Wednesday that Xe improperly classified thousands of its employees as independent contractors, allowing the company to avoid “millions of dollars in taxes, withholding and payments of benefits.”

“Blackwater made hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers and hired thousands of former veterans of military service and police officers,” said Bloch in a statement

It is a grave injustice to them who were mistreated and left without any health insurance or other benefits for their families, and left to fend for themselves in paying into Social Security and Medicare,” he said.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Washington, and hopes to recover Social Security, unemployment insurance, health and other benefits for the four plaintiffs, all of whom were injured while working for Blackwater.

“Plaintiffs and many of those similarly situated came home wounded physically and psychologically from Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries, and needed health insurance to take care of difficulties for themselves and their families,” according to the complaint.

The lawsuit says Xe and its workers compensation insurers refused to provide benefits until forced to do so “after drawn out disputes in administrative courts.”

Read the entire article here

Posted in AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, Racketeering, Xe | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

ArmorGroup Still Guarding Kabul Embassy Despite Losing Contract

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 17, 2011

ArmorGroup caused an international scandal and lost its State Department contract. Why’s the company still protecting one of America’s most dangerous diplomatic outposts?

“We’ve got one discredited company to be replaced by another discredited company.”

By Daniel Schulman at Mother Jones

More than a year has passed since the State Department decided to drop its contract with the security firm protecting the US embassy in Kabul, following an international scandal featuring drunken debauchery fit for a Van Wilder flick. But the company that introduced the world to vodka butt-shots is still on the job—and it doesn’t seem to have plans to stand down anytime soon. Long after the expiration of its initial contract, in fact, ArmorGroup North America is currently hiring more guards to protect the Kabul embassy.

The firm sparked controversy in September 2009, when a Washington-based watchdog group sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighting a list of violations by the company, from a chronic guard shortage to the hiring of personnel who couldn’t speak English and would be unable to communicate with their colleagues in an emergency. But the most shocking charges concerned what the Project on Government Oversight called a “Lord of the Flies environment”—hazing and wild partying depicted in a series of graphic photographs showing members of the Kabul embassy security force drunk, half-naked, and engaged in an array of NSFW behavior.

Embassygate tainted not just ArmorGroup North America (AGNA) and its parent company, the security conglomerate G4S, but the State Department, too, leading to investigations by Congress and State’s inspector general. In the years leading up to the scandal, it turned out, the State Department had repeatedly found fault with the company’s performance—at one point stating in an internal memo that “the security of the US Embassy in Kabul is in jeopardy” as a result—but failed to fire AGNA. A former high-level AGNA employee also came forward to say that he’d warned the State Department about “lewd, aberrant, and sexually deviant behavior” by the company’s recruits more than two years before this conduct made global headlines. Again, no action was taken.

In December 2009, deeply embarrassed by the controversy, the State Department said it planned to axe AGNA once its contract came up for renewal that summer. But when that time came, the agency ended up extending the firm’s contract for another six months while it brought in another security provider. “Because the current KESF [Kabul Embassy Security Force] contract can only be extended through December 30th, we must have the company on the ground and operating by then,” a spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security told Mother Jones last summer.

In late September, the agency selected the Tennessee-based firm EOD Technology to take over the contract. But December 30 came and went with no changing of the guards. And AGNA apparently believed it was staying put, at least for a while. In mid-January, the company posted a job ad on Careerbuilder noting that it was “recruiting Protective Security Specialists to provide security to the U.S. Embassy in, Kabul, Afghanistan.”

A spokeswoman for AGNA, Susan Pitcher, confirmed that the firm is still protecting the embassy, but declined to comment further, citing a State Department policy about contractors speaking to reporters. EODT also declined to comment. But a Diplomatic Security spokesman told Mother Jones that the transition has been delayed. Now, he said, the handover won’t happen until May. “In order to provide EODT with adequate time to make an orderly transition, it has been given 120 days from the end of AGNA’s contract,” the spokesman said.

Sources familiar with the security force contract questioned whether the delay has anything to do with the transition process; one suggested that the State Department may merely be stalling after unwittingly selecting a replacement for AGNA that also has a controversial background.

In October, a week after the agency chose EODT for the job, the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has conducted a years-long investigation into private security firms in Afghanistan, released a report leveling serious allegations at both EODT and AGNA. It accused the companies of relying on local warlords to staff their guard forces—strongmen with unclear allegiances and possible Taliban ties. In one case, according to the report, EODT hired a group of Afghans who had recently been fired by ArmorGroup for “providing sensitive security information to…a Taliban-affiliated warlord.” (In response, EODT claimed that “all leaders which EODT utilized were made known to the US military at every stage of mobilization.” AGNA countered that it only relied on Afghans who had been recommended by special operations troops.)

Making matters worse for EODT, federal agents raided its offices in early December in connection with an investigation into potential export violations involving the transit of weapons or other military-grade materials. The company has said it is cooperating with the investigation and has denied any wrongdoing. “We obviously would not have been selected for some of the sensitive and important projects we handle for our country around the world had we not been thoroughly investigated before and found to be trustworthy,” the firm said in a statement. A State Department official said the agency was unaware the company was the subject of a federal investigation until stories about the raid appeared in the press, and insisted the probe “has not held up the transition.”

For Danielle Brian, the executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, the fact that the State Department handed the embassy job to a company saddled with its own serious baggage illustrates the flawed logic of placing contractors in roles that she believes should be performed by US government personnel. “If there’s a better argument for making this mission an inherently governmental function, this situation is it,” she says. “We’ve got one discredited company to be replaced by another discredited company.”

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, State Department | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

State Department Says no more TCN PSD’s

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 19, 2010

ALCON,

·         The ADPM announced today that the DoS has finalized their decision to remove TCNs from PSD positions due to the requirement for secret clearances.

·         There will be a transition plan to replace TCN personnel with US as they arrive starting with the next PSS course graduation in November.

·         He will be talking with PMO to see if there are other positions elsewhere within the company.

·         If personnel have other opportunities and want to depart sooner, he will look into pro-rating bonuses.

John O’Ryan, PMP

Deputy PSD Commander

DynCorp International CIVPOL-Iraq

U.S. Department Of State

International Narcotics And Law Enforcement

LSA Butler, Bagdad, Iraq

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Dyncorp, Iraq, State Department | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Mission Accomplished or May Day!! May Day!!

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 1, 2010

At an EOD Anti Terrorism conference this week the keynote speaker, a high ranking military official, gave a talk on “lessons learned” regarding the initial invasion and occupation of Iraq.    Unbelievably he was laughing about these deadly mistakes.  Going into war so completely ill prepared to deal with the consequences and the subsequent no holds barred cover your ass no matter how many lives it costs is hardly humorous or entertaining.  At least one of the contractors in attendance whose life was severely compromised by this attemped cover up did not think so.

Does this same military spokesperson think it’s funny that thousands of soldiers and injured civilian contractors are being denied the medical  and/or  death/disability benefits that they are due, the necessity having been caused by these mistakes?

This is a repost from last May

Mission Accomplished

For those of us in the US the end of combat in Iraq was declared on May 1, 2003.

For those contractors who agreed to go to “Post War” Iraq and were waiting close by for the bullets to stop flying the Mission Accomplished Speech was actually given on May 2, six years ago today.

These contractors weren’t getting paid any more than their regular wages to go into Post War Iraq.  They were not informed that the Defense Base Act would be their “Exclusive Remedy” if they were injured working in dangerous conditions not suitable for their work.  They did not expect that SOP’s were being left behind at the border.

As Post War Iraq rapidly proved to be an ongoing war zone these same contractors were expected to stay and work in Red Zones without security, either military or private.  When they suggested leaving until the War was actually over or at least moving to a safer part of Iraq they were told they had to stay and work.

It was more important to the US Government that it look like things were going better in Iraq than they were.   That they were  throwing  human lives out there on the line took no precedence over appearances.

Some contractors went into the War Zones for patriotic reasons.

Some went to make more money than they could at home.

Some did neither.  Some just went to do their job as they’d always done it.  Some were taken advantage of by their employers for profit and by the US Government to cover up their mistakes.

However they ended up being killed or injured working in a war zone they and their families have all ended up on the losing end financially while their employers and the DBA insurance companies continued to profit.

The Government lost their effort to cover up their mistakes.  Unfortunately  it’s little condolence to the lives they ruined trying to save face.

And for last six years this Government of ours sat idly and watched while AIG and CNA denied even the  inadequate beneftis provided by the DBA to these injured contractors.  The benefits do not come anywhere close to making up for the lost futures of these families but to continue to deny them is criminal.

If the Mission six years ago was to lie to and use human lives  like so much cannon fodder then toss them aside once they’ve broken them, you might say it was accomplished.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, Political Watch | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Aegis Security Contractor, Robbie Napier, killed in explosion in Iraq March 10

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 31, 2010

Iraq: Aegis Defense Contractor Robbie Napier Killed, Others Wounded And Killed In Separate Incidents

Thanks to Matt at Feral Jundi for putting this together.  We still have no way of tracking Contractor Casualties unless a family member talks to the news or contacts us directly.

I had no idea that this happened several weeks back, and there is nothing on the Aegis company website or Army Corps of Engineers website about this death, or even the other attacks. Supposedly another contractor was killed by a sniper, and others severely wounded, but there is nothing in the news about it.  If a reader could please pass on the news link to the death related to that sniper, I will definitely make an edit to this post.

Wakefield bomb blast victim had just delivered baby

A SECURITY contractor was killed in an explosion in Iraq just three months after delivering his baby daughter in the kitchen of his home.

Ex-Marine and father-of-two Robbie Napier, 36, from Wakefield, died after the explosion this month.

On Friday, his grieving father told the YEP that just last Christmas he had returned home and delivered his baby daughter at his family home in Stanley.

An inquest in Wakefield into his death heard that Mr Napier was a front seat passenger in the front of a three-vehicle convoy on March 10.

Coroner’s officer Anthony Lancaster told the hearing: “Mr Napier sustained fatal injuries in an explosion of a detonated explosive device.”

The court heard that following the explosion in Baghdad Mr Napier was taken to a nearby base but was pronounced dead a short time later.

A post-mortem report gave his provisional cause of death as multiple injuries caused by a detonated explosive device. His body was flown home on March 16.

West Yorkshire coroner David Hinchliff adjourned the inquest pending further investigation.

Speaking to the YEP after the hearing, Mr Napier’s father Ronald said his son was married and had two young daughters.

He said: “Robbie was taking clients up to a site when his vehicle was hit by the device.

“We were told about what had happened on the same day by the police and then the next day, members of his firm came up and saw us.

“He had come home last Christmas and delivered his baby daughter on the kitchen floor.”

Mr Napier said his son had been in the Marines for 17 years before starting work for private security firm Aegis.

Aegis is a privately owned, British security and risk management company with overseas offices in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq and the USA.

The firm’s website says it “provides comprehensive physical security services designed to meet the threat to personnel working in hostile environments around the world.”

U.S. contractors still face death daily, trying to do good in Iraq

Skip Rohde

March 28, 2010

Some days here in Baghdad are better than others. Friday was not one of the better ones.

Our command, part of the Army Corps of Engineers, had a very moving memorial service for one of our security contractors. Robbie was a young Brit who spent 15 years in the Royal Marines. He was an accomplished triathlete, very sharp, and a “by the book” team leader. He was also a husband and a father to three young children, one of whom he helped bring into the world just a few weeks ago. Robbie was killed last week by a roadside bomb.

Unfortunately, his is not the only hit that our security forces have taken recently while at, or en route to, project sites. A week prior to Robbie’s death, a member of a different security team was killed by a sniper. A few days ago, two more lost their legs to another roadside bomb.

That spate of incidents is extremely unusual. It’s not uncommon now for us to go for weeks with little activity, and there have been surprisingly few injuries or deaths over the past year or so. It’s easy to forget that we’re still in a war zone. We have a Burger King and a Cinnabon on the base, and there are salsa dance classes, yoga, and college classes.

The national and international newspapers only focus on the ongoing election process. I don’t recall seeing anything more than a brief one-liner about any of our forces being hurt or killed, never anything about a U.S. civilian, and especially never anything about contractors. If your only exposure to what’s happening on the ground in Iraq is the media, you’d think that we’re sitting here on our bases, twiddling our thumbs, waiting to go home.

But traveling around Iraq is still dangerous. The number of bombs and mortar attacks is way down, but not eliminated, and there are a few trouble areas where bad things happen a bit more often. All three incidents that I mentioned were in these trouble areas. Our security guys, Robbie included, knew the dangers and the risks and willingly took them.

Why? Well, that’s a good question. A skeptic might say it’s for the money or the adrenaline rush. That might come into play for some people. Everybody has a lot of reasons why they’re here. Most of the military members are ordered here; some volunteer, and all volunteered to be in the service.

All the civilians and contractors are here because we volunteered. Money is probably part of the reason; career advancement may be another.

Maybe I’m an idealist, but I think most of us are here primarily for other reasons: the opportunity to contribute to something bigger than ourselves, to participate in something vitally important, to do something that not many other people can do or are willing to do. I think that’s especially true for those who put their lives on the line and go outside the wire on a regular basis.

I didn’t know Robbie, but I heard about him from his buddies. Robbie was a level-headed, very dedicated guy. You have to be to survive 15 years in the Royal Marines, and Rambos don’t last long in the real world. So as a level-headed guy, Robbie certainly wasn’t here just for the money. He was here for something else, bigger than him. And he accepted the risks.

When I first arrived, I wanted to get off the bases as much as possible. I’ve been lucky enough to have made some trips around the country. But I’ve also gained an appreciation for what it takes to do those trips, and especially for the security contractors that take me where I need to go. Every one of those men and women has been extremely professional. I owe it to them to make sure that my trips are absolutely necessary.

On the other hand, our very business requires us to go outside the wire. You can’t run construction projects if you never see the sites. And we’re not building things, or (in my case) running training and development programs, just because we want to. These are projects that will help make Iraq stronger and more able to stand on its own feet. The sooner the Iraqis do that, the sooner the level of violence will drop, and the sooner we can all go home. And then maybe one day, in a generation or two, Iraq might actually be a fully-functioning member of the world community.

So that’s what Robbie was doing here: helping this place get back on its feet. He knew the risks, just as we all do. But we have to take them if we’re going to succeed.

Tomorrow morning, Robbie’s teammates will go back out again, taking us to project sites or critical meetings.

The mission goes on.

Skip Rohde is a retired Navy officer living in Mars Hill. In August 2008, he went to work for the State Department in Baghdad, then moved over to the Corps of Engineers. He blogs at http://storypaintings.blogspot.com. Next month Rohde hopes to return home to resume life as an artist down in the River Arts District.

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

CNA loses USAID Defense Base Act Contract 2010

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 30, 2010

CNA has just lost it’s contract with the State Department to poorly provide Defense Base Act Insurance benefits on USAID contracts.  Allied World Assurance, brand new to the DBA Dropping the Ball Game was just awarded this contract.  We’ll have the full story on that as soon as they let go of it.

Allied World’s Kevin Behan to Speak at the IPOA 2010 EuroConference

Another PR Announcement from Offshore

It will be intersting to hear what Kevin Behan has to say about Risk Management in Conflict and Post-Conflict Zones, and examining how companies, military and governments can prepare to manage risk in these environments.

While the Contract Companies continue to have the DBA’s Exclusive Remedy shielding them from negligent safety practices it would encouraging to think that  Mr. Behan will be speaking on reducing safety risks to employees.  We all Know what the term “risk management” means in the insurance industry and it has everything to do with reducing their risk of losing some of their profit.

If we’re wrong, let us know.  We are always open for honest discussions here.

PEMBROKE, Bermuda, March 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, Ltd (NYSE: AWH) announced today that Kevin Behan, Senior Vice President for General Casualty in the United States, will be
speaking at the IPOA’s 2010 EuroConference. The conference will focus on RiskManagement in Conflict and Post-Conflict Zones, and examine how companies, military and governments can prepare to manage risk in these environments. The event takes place in London on April 8 & 9, 2010.

Mr. Behan joined Allied World in October 2008, as Senior Vice President for General Casualty. He is responsible for Primary Casualty, working with brokers to develop Allied World’s Primary Casualty business capability. Primary Casualty includes Defense Base Act Business, General Liability, Automobile Liability and Physical Damage. Mr. Behan has over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry.

About Allied World Assurance Company

Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, Ltd, through its subsidiaries, isa global provider of innovative property, casualty and specialty insurance and reinsurance solutions, offering superior client service through offices in Bermuda, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States. Our insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries are rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company. For further information on Allied World, please visit our website at http://www.awac.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

POGO Uncovers Lax Oversight of Baghdad Embassy Diplomatic Security

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 26, 2010

Surprise! Another War-Zone Embassy Poorly Guarded by Contractors

By Spencer Ackerman 3/26/10 8:35 AM

Last time, it was the lascivious behavior of ArmorGroup — the private security firm handling the U.S. Embassy in Kabul — that attracted headlines. Those revelations led to disclosures of how contractors knowingly hired guards with poor English skills to save money — something the State Department knew about before renewing the company’s contract. Now it’s Triple Canopy, which guards the gargantuan U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

The Project on Government Oversight, the good-government group that discovered ArmorGroup’s State Department-abetted negligence, has obtained a report from the State Department investigating the department’s management in handling its contract with Triple Canopy for embassy security. POGO was good enough to pass the report on to me. Labor standards are such that Triple Canopy guards often worked ten or eleven consecutive days on average, with some working 39 days in a row without a break.

Here are some highlights of how State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which controls the contract, is managing your money and protecting American diplomats in what remains a warzone.

Embassy Baghdad has not adequately planned for a reduced Department or Department of Defense (DoD) presence in Baghdad, resulting in a projected unnecessary cost of approximately $20 million to the U.S. Government for site security over the next two years. Of this sum, the Department would incur approximately $12 million and DoD would incur more than $8 million in unnecessary costs.

Remember that everything the U.S. is supposed to be doing in Iraq is predicated on the 2011 troop withdrawal. I’ve heard from former administration officials that the embassy is lax in its political mission in Baghdad. Apparently that attitude has some spillover effect.

This will be familiar:

DS does not ensure that [Triple Canopy] personnel have required English language proficiency.

The report further finds that DS did not carry out the random language checks they were supposed to have carried out. True story: when I visited the embassy in 2007, the Triple Canopy guards were very nice people from (if I recall correctly) El Salvador, who made up for their lack of English with warm attitudes. I saw one guard actually reading a Teach-Yourself-English handbook on post in the Green Zone. Clearly DS’s negligence with ArmorGroup’s English-challenged guards is hardly an isolated case.

This might be my favorite:

The contracting officer’s representative in Baghdad does not verify either the guards’ attendance at their posts or the accuracy of personnel rosters (muster sheets) before they are submitted, to ensure contractor charges for labor are accurate. In addition, DS does not ensure that personnel have required English language proficiency.

DS lacks standards for maintaining training records. As a result, Triple Canopy’s training records are incomplete and in disparate locations making it difficult for the Bureau to verify whether all personnel have received required training.

And yet the IG’s overall conclusion is “The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) generally manages the Triple Canopy contract well.” The last State Department Inspector General to take such a sunny interpretation of contract security in spite of the accumulated evidence resigned in disgrace.

POGO executive director Danielle Brian comments in a prepared statement, “How could State not have learned their lesson after the public flogging they got for their handling of the Kabul contract?…This report again raises an important point about whether State can properly manage Embassy security contracts in a war zone.”  Full Story here

Posted in Armorgroup, Triple Canopy | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Blackwater Investigation blocked by State Department Interference

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 3, 2010

WASHINGTON — An official at the United States Embassy in Iraq has told federal prosecutors that he believes that State Department officials sought to block any serious investigation of the 2007 shooting episode in which Blackwater Worldwide security guards were accused of murdering 17 Iraqi civilians, according to court testimony made public on Tuesday Read the Story at the New York Times

Posted in Blackwater | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Woman awarded $3M in assault claim against KBR

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 19, 2009

The Associated Press

Updated

y JUAN A. LOZANO (AP) – 54 minutes ago

HOUSTON — A woman who claimed she was raped in 2005 while working in Iraq for a former Halliburton Co. subsidiary has been awarded nearly $3 million by an arbitrator to settle her case.

Tracy Barker had sued U.S. contractor KBR Inc, its former parent company Halliburton and several affiliates in May 2007, claiming she was sexually attacked by a State Department employee while working as a civilian contractor in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

A federal judge in Houston had dismissed Barker’s lawsuit in January 2008, ruling she had to abide by an employment agreement she signed that said any claims she made against the companies would have to be settled through arbitration and not the courts.

Court records filed this week show Barker was awarded a judgment of $2.93 million to settle her arbitration claim against KBR.

The Associated Press doesn’t usually identify those who report they were sexually assaulted, but Barker made her identity public in her lawsuit.

In a statement, Houston-based KBR said Thursday it disagreed with the interim ruling from the arbitrator and it has filed a motion to modify the award.

“However, the decision validates what KBR has maintained all along; that the arbitration process is truly neutral and works in the best interest of the parties involved,” the statement said.

Barker’s attorney did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.

In her lawsuit, Barker had claimed while working in the companies’ procurement department in Baghdad, she was housed in mostly male barracks and consistently subjected to sexually explicit comments and verbal and physical threats of abuse. Barker claimed she and other employees complained to the companies but they did nothing and instead retaliated against her.

Barker was later transferred to Basra, where she claimed that in June 2005, she was raped in her room by the State Department employee, who she also sued. That case was transferred to federal court in Virginia, where it was formally settled last week. Details of the settlement were not made public.

U.S. District Judge Gray Miller, in dismissing the lawsuit against KBR, said that until Congress tells courts that binding contracts to arbitrate do not include sexual harassment claims, Barker’s claims had to be arbitrated.

Last month, the Senate approved a measure prohibiting the Defense Department from contracting with companies that require employees to resolve sexual assault allegations and other claims through arbitration.

The amendment was attached to a larger defense spending bill. A vote on the full bill was expected later.

In September, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that a similar lawsuit filed by another ex-contract worker, Jamie Leigh Jones, could go to court in Houston instead of arbitration.

Jones filed a federal lawsuit in 2007 claiming she was raped by Halliburton and KBR firefighters while working at Camp Hope, Baghdad, in 2005.

Jones has also made her identity public in her lawsuit and her face and name have been broadcast in media reports and on her own Web site.

HOUSTON — An arbitrator has awarded a woman nearly $3 million to settle her claims that she was raped in Iraq by a State Department employee in 2005 while working for a former Halliburton Co. subsidiary.

Court records filed this week show Tracy Barker was awarded $2.93 million to settle her claim against military contractor KBR Inc.

Barker had sued Houston-based Halliburton and its former KBR subsidiary in May 2007, alleging she was sexually attacked while working as a civilian contractor in Basra, Iraq.

The Associated Press doesn’t usually identify those who report they were sexually assaulted, but Barker made her identity public in her lawsuit.

Posted in KBR | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Drugs suspected in death of Afghanistan contractor

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 16, 2009

The Associated Press
Original Story here
Wednesday, September 16, 2009

WASHINGTON — A U.S. contractor in Afghanistan helping train the national police was found dead last week of a possible drug overdose, just months after his company was reprimanded by the State Department for another worker’s drug-related death.

The deaths have raised questions over how well DynCorp International selects and manages those assigned to the police training contract, a crucial component of the U.S. effort to hand over more of the security burden to the Afghans.

The leaders of an independent panel investigating wartime spending said Wednesday they are troubled by the deaths of two workers at the State Department’s largest contractor.

“This shouldn’t be treated as an isolated event that (the State Department) can ignore,” said Christopher Shays, co-chairman of the Commission on Wartime Contracting. “They really need to step in and say, ‘Do we have a drug problem at DynCorp?’”

The employee was found dead in his quarters in Kabul, the capital, on Sept. 10. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said an investigation is under way.

DynCorp spokesman Douglas Ebner said the company would not speculate on the cause of the death.

Michael Thibault, who along with Shays heads the contracting commission, said DynCorp officials informed the panel last week that a syringe, needle, and a drug vial were found near the body. A toxicology test will be conducted to determine if drugs were a factor.

The employee, a medic, had arrived in Afghanistan in late August. Given his profession, it would not be unusual for medical supplies to be found in his room.

On March 17, a DynCorp employee assigned to the same contract was found dead in the company’s housing in Kabul. Drug use was suspected in that death, which remains under investigation. After that death, the State Department ordered the company to replace its senior project managers on the police training contract.

Both the departments of State and Defense depend heavily upon contractors such as DynCorp for support in war zones for construction, transportation, security, food service and laundry. But how well federal authorities are watching over the performance and conduct of this industrial army is a long-standing concern.

Most recently, the State Department has been criticized by the commission and public interest groups for failing to know that private security guards hired to protect the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan were engaging in lewd and inappropriate behavior that may have compromised the U.S. effort there.

DynCorp has been training police in Afghanistan since 2003, according to information on the Falls Church, Va.-based company’s Web site. The latest installment of the training contract was awarded by the State Department in August 2008 and is worth $317 million.

Dyncorp has 16,000 employees in Iraq and Afghanistan and expects to expand that number to 20,000 as demands for its services increase.

William Ballhaus, DynCorp’s president and chief executive officer, was asked about the Sept. 10 death during a hearing held Monday by the wartime contracting panel on a separate State Department contract.

Ballhaus didn’t discuss the cause of the death or provide any details about the employee. But he did say company managers in Afghanistan treated the area where the employee died as a “crime scene,” securing the room with guards to make sure evidence wasn’t removed.

He also said the company immediately notified the State Department and the FBI. “We’re talking about tens of minutes on this timeline,” Ballhaus said.

The body was brought to back to the U.S. on Sunday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, he added.

Ballhaus said he and other DynCorp officials reviewed how the employee was recruited, hired and trained. “We wanted to make sure our process was intimately followed, and it was,” he said.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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