Just days after an inspector general report revealed that a giant Pentagon contractor performed “unsatisfactory” work in Afghanistan, the U.S. Air Force awarded the firm another multimillion-dollar pot of cash.
Virginia’s DynCorp, which performs everything from private security to construction for the U.S. military, has re-upped with Air Force to help pilots learn basic flying skills on the T-6A/B Texan II aircraft, a training plane. The deal is only the latest between DynCorp and the Air Force on the Texan II: In June, the Air Force Materiel Command gave the company a deal worth nearly $55 million for training services. The latest one, announced late Thursday, is worth another $72.8 million, and lasts through October 2013.
But the Air Force’s lucrative vote of confidence in DynCorp comes not even a week after the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction blasted the company for performing “unsatisfactory” construction work at an Afghan Army base in Kunduz. The base was “at risk of structural failure” when the watchdogs initially inspected, but the Army Corps of Engineers chose to settle DynCorp’s contract, a move that awarded the company “$70.8 million on the construction contracts and releas[ed] it from any further liabilities and warranty obligation.” (.pdf)
A DynCorp spokeswoman, Ashley Burke, told Bloomberg News that the company disputed the special inspector general’s findings. For its part, the special inspector general took to tweeting photographs of what it called “DynCorp’s failed work at #Afghan #Army Base in #Kunduz.”
But the base-construction contract is far from DynCorp’s only deal with the U.S. government that’s raised eyebrows. In December 2010, it won a fierce competition with the company formerly known as Blackwater to retain a contract for training the Afghan National Police worth up to $1.04 billion. That award came after years of criticism of the Afghan police’s competence and integrity — and after DynCorp guards assigned to protect President Hamid Karzai were fired for drinking and whoring; and also after late payments from DynCorp landed a 75-year old American subcontractor in an Afghan jail. If that wasn’t enough, just this week, the inspector general called the sustainability of the Afghan soldiers and police into question, although it didn’t single out DynCorp as a reason.
Nor are DynCorp’s contracting woes limited to Afghanistan. The Project on Government Oversight, a private, nonpartisan watchdog, lists the company as number 23 on its Federal Contractor Misconduct Database, for infractions ranging from making false claims on an Iraqi police training contract to involvement in human trafficking in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
DynCorp is hardly the first firm to keep winning large government and military deals despite a spotty performance or integrity record. But it might be the first to re-up mere days after an instance of apparent misconduct comes to light.