Some background is necessary to appreciate how messed up the effort to retrain Iraqi police has been. Both private and public sectors share the blame for it.
In April 2003 the U.S. State Department awarded DynCorp a one‐year contract in a limited competition against SAIC worth up to $50 million to support law enforcement functions in Iraq.
In May 2003, under the Department of State Advisory Support Mission (DASM) contract, DynCorp International deployed, supported, and equipped U.S. law enforcement personnel to provide police presence, enhance public security, and assist in reestablishing the Iraq National Police by providing necessary training to local police. SAIC was brought in by DynCorp to cooperate in the contract delivery.
Under the contract, up to 1,000 civilian technical advisors with 10 years of domestic law enforcement, corrections, and judicial experience, including at least 2 years in specialized areas, were to help the government of Iraq organize effective civilian law enforcement, judicial, and correctional agencies. Advisors would work with Iraqi criminal justice organizations at the national, provincial, and municipal levels to assess threats to public order and mentor personnel at all levels of the Iraqi legal apparatus.
They also were to train 32,000 Iraqi recruits at a rebuilt military base at Muwaqqar in neighboring Jordan.
The contract paid $75,000 to $153,600 to those it hired on yearlong contracts.
In February 2004,Computer Sciences Corporation won a State Department contract for civilian police (CIVPOL) services worth about $1.7 billion over ?ve years. On July 15,2004, functions being performed in Iraq under the DASM contract were shifted to the CIVPOL contract, which was one of three planned contracts that were awarded under the State Department’s Civilian Police Program. CSC was to recruit up to 2,000 experienced American law enforcement specialists to serve in civilian policing missions overseas.
Initially the training of Iraqi police forces was a haphazard affair. The Pentagon began to rebuild the Iraqi police with a mere dozen advisors. Over matched from the start, one was sent to train a 4,000-of?cer unit to guard power plants and other utilities, a second to advise 500 commanders in Baghdad, and another to organize a border patrol for the entire country.
Before the war, the Bush administration dismissed as unnecessary a plan backed by the Justice Department to rebuild the police force by deploying thousands of American civilian trainers. After Baghdad fell and a majority of Iraqi police of?cers abandoned their posts, a second Justice Department proposal calling for 6,600 police trainers was reduced to 1,500,and then never carried out. At that time DynCorp had already located 1,150 active and retired police of?cers who had expressed interest in serving in Iraq.
Field training of the Iraqi police, the most critical element of the effort, was left to DynCorp, which received $750 million in contracts. When it became clear in 2004 that the civilian effort by DynCorp was faltering, American military of?cials took over police training, relying on heavily armed commando units that had been established by the Iraqis. Within a year, members of the Sunni Muslim population said some units had been in?ltrated by Shi’ite Muslim militias and were kidnapping, torturing, and executing scores of Sunni Muslims.
Subsequently, in the spring of 2006, three years after administration of?cials rejected the large American‐led ?eld training effort, American military commanders adopted that very approach. Declaring 2006 the year of the police, the Pentagon dispatched a total of 3,000 American soldiers and DynCorp contractors to train and mentor police recruits and of?cers across Iraq.
DynCorp said that many concerns about its performance are related to the of?cers recruited for the Iraqi or Afghan police forces, which is not the company’s responsibility. The company hired public relations ?rm Qorvis Communications to help deal with the attention.
DynCorp also received a contract from the State Department to recruit veteran U.S. law of?cers who would serve as “mentors” and train Iraqis to guard their borders.
Some U.S. politicians, such as then Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona -now Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security –and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, worried that the effort distracted from the mission of securing the U.S. border.
This is not the first time DynCorp’s performance has come into question. In fact, DynCorp’s performance in Iraq has been criticized numerous times.
A 2005 State Department audit claimed that DynCorp International employees overcharged the U.S. government $685,000 to provide fuel for a police academy in Jordan used to train Iraqi security forces. The audit found that a DynCorp driver, in collusion with two other employees, in?ated the amount of fuel. DynCorp said the three workers were ?red. The company reimbursed the State Department and ?led suit to recover the money in a Jordanian court.
One DynCorp contractor, Thomas Nelson Barnes III, made news in September 2005 when he was charged with distributing identity badges that control access to Baghdad’s heavily forti?ed Green Zone to people not allowed to receive them, including an Iraqi woman he was dating. Ironically, on September 2 DynCorp was awarded a $9,872,005 ?rm-?xed-price contract for Access Control Badge System Services. This was a sole source contract initiated on August 6,2005.
In October 2006 a U.S. government review of Iraqi police training concluded that there were no accurate means to verify the operational capabilities of more than 120,000 of?cers reported to have passed through DynCorp and U.S. Army classes.
In February 2007 an audit SIGIR noted that DynCorp’s contract called for it to build a camp to house its trainers. Auditors found that the company performed $4.2 million worth of work that had not been authorized by the contract, including building a pool and 20 VIP trailers at the behest of Iraqi of?cials. Because of security concerns, the camp was never used. The State Department ordered work on the project stopped in September 2004, shortly after issuing the contract, because of concerns that the location was too dangerous for DynCorp’s trainers. DynCorp initially told the department that the camp had already been completed, but more than a year later said it wasn’t.
Another report released by SIGIR in October 2007 found that the State Department so terribly managed a $1.2 billion contract for Iraqi police training that it can’t ?gure out what it got for the money spent.
Because invoices and records on the project were in total disarray and the government was trying to recoup money paid inappropriately to DynCorp, auditors temporarily suspended their effort to review the contract’s implementation. The process improved somewhat subsequently somewhat improved and in April 2007 SIGIR released a follow‐up report that found improvement in the overall administration of the contract.
Questions were also raised about the competence of some of DynCorp’s managers in Iraq. Some employees contended that ?awed decisions by DynCorp managers repeatedly put employees at lethal risk. Among their concerns was the fact that Dyncorp sent employees into war zones without adequate weapons and protective equipment. In another case, a manager took his unit’s only armored vehicle for personal errands, leaving his employees to drive in hostile areas with “soft‐sided” passenger cars. Another ordered his staffers to drive along one of Iraq’s most attack‐prone routes to purchase liquor for his personal consumption.
At one point in 2006,a U.S. Army general ordered the company to temporarily halt operations because too many people were being killed.
But if DynCorp’s performance on some past task orders has been considered inadequate so is the government’s ability to do oversight, despite numerous post‐mortems over the years detailing its flaws.
The SIGIR report states: