Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘US Embassy Baghdad’

Iraq releases Former Marine, DynCorp Civilian Contractor, Michael Copleland’s body after dispute

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 26, 2012

The body of an Oklahoma contractor who was found dead in Baghdad is being flown back to the U.S. after a two-week bureaucratic debate over whether the Iraqi government would perform an autopsy on his remains.

Tulsa World  June26, 2012

Officials say Michael David Copeland, 37, of Colbert in southern Oklahoma, is one of the first Americans working for the U.S. government to die in Iraq this year. He was found unresponsive June 9 in his living quarters. Foul play is not suspected in his death.

Copeland previously served in the Marines and later with the Oklahoma Air National Guard. He was a contractor with DynCorp International at the time of his death.

Copeland’s case is a snapshot of the new reality of working in Iraq for Americans who, over the years, were accustomed to vast privileges and influence that disappeared when U.S. troops left last December.

Iraq agreed to release the remains of the Oklahoma man after negotiations with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. His body was flown out of Iraq Tuesday afternoon.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Dyncorp, Iraq, Political Watch, State Department, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

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 »

 
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