Following a joint State and DOD Inspector General report issued late last week that pronounced the State Departments training of the Afghan National Police a failure, "[t]he Defense Department is taking over training of the Afghan National Police," Stars and Stripes reported Thursday.[1]  --  "DynCorp International, the company that holds the contract, filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office in December, arguing that the DOD takeover of training effectively shut the company out of the bidding process for new contracts," Lisa Novak said.  --  Laura Rozen of Politico said Blackwater is posed to get the contract.[2] ...



By Lisa M. Novak

Stars and Stripes

February 25, 2010

NAPLES, Italy --
The Defense Department is taking over training of the Afghan National Police because State Department-hired trainers failed to keep pace with the growing instability in Afghanistan or address the security needs of the civilian population, according to a joint State and DOD Inspector General report released late last week.

“The ANP training program that is in place does not provide the ANP with the necessary skills to successfully fight the insurgency, and therefore, hampers the ability of DOD to fulfill its role in the emerging national strategy,” according to the report.

The report, initiated by members of the Senate Appropriations Committee last year, said the State Department failed on a number of fronts, mainly in its ability to provide training that adequately reflected the security needs of the country.

A Clinton administration-era directive gave the State Department responsibility for training civilian police forces around the world.  Under that directive, the DOD transferred $1.04 billion to the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs to support training programs for the ANP.

At the time, according to the I.G. report, “the security situation in Afghanistan was more stable and suitable for a civilian police force whose sole mission is to enforce the rule of law.”

But as average monthly fatality rates for members of the ANP soared from 24 in 2006 to 123 last year, contractors hired by the State Department failed to provide the level of combat training needed to battle the escalating insurgency, the report said.

The report described the training contract as “ambiguous” and said task orders within the contract included no specific information on the type of training required and provided no way to measure its efficacy.  DynCorp International, the company that holds the contract, filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office in December, arguing that the DOD takeover of training effectively shut the company out of the bidding process for new contracts.

The current contract, which expired last month, was extended to July pending the outcome of a GAO review.

While the DOD will take over the Americans’ part in ANP training, many other countries are also involved.  However, a lack of standardization throughout the country is slowing progress, the IG report states.

That’s something NATO is looking to change.

“Right now you’ve got . . . the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, run by the [U.S.] Embassy here [in Afghanistan],” said Lt. Col. David S. Hylton, a spokesman for NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan.  “At the same time you have several countries that have bi-lateral agreements with Afghanistan that conduct police training.

“We want to set a common standard, so if you’re getting trained to be a uniformed policeman up in Herat, you’re getting the same standard of training as you do in Kandahar, or Jalalabad or Kabul,” Hylton said.

Other issues raised in the report included ensuring there were enough women on the force and maintaining fiscal oversight for supply purchases.

Efforts to train women have fallen woefully short -- even taking into account the cultural mores that make training female police officers difficult in a male-dominated career field and country, the report said.

While more than 172,000 Afghans completed basic and advanced training courses, only 131 are women.

The report also was critical of contracting officers who failed to maintain sufficient invoices for millions of dollars worth of supplies.  Nor did they ensure that orders for equipment purchased were considered allowable expenses or that items paid for were actually received.

The State Department took exception to the report’s claim that $80 million was unaccounted for and should be returned to the Defense Department, according to Susan Pittman, a State spokeswoman.

“The money in question has been appropriated for the tasks at hand but has not yet been expended,” Pittman wrote in an e-mail.

The shift in responsibility doesn’t paint the State Department completely out of the picture.  The report recommends the department’s law enforcement bureau continue in areas such as criminal investigation and professional development.



by Laura Rozen

February 25, 2010

Former officials familiar with the deal say that Blackwater is likely to get a Defense Department-issued contract worth several hundred million dollars to train and mentor the Afghan police.

The police training contract, known as TORP 150, is supposed to be decided next month, and the company has not been officially notified that it will get it.  But the only competing bid for the police training contract, submitted by Northrop with MPRI, has been disqualified, a former official knowledgeable about the contract said.

We have no knowledge that the contract will be awarded to us, Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Blackwater, now known as Xe, told POLITICO Thursday.

Lockheed, meantime, is likely to be awarded an associated logistics contract to support the Afghanistan police training effort (a contract known as TORP 166), for which Blackwater also bid, the former officials said.

While a Blackwater subsidiary's activities in Afghanistan were the subject of a scathing hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, U.S. Central Command and top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal are said to be very happy with Blackwater’s work in Afghanistan, the former official familiar with the contracting deal told POLITICO.  Blackwater has contracts to do intelligence support, counter-narcotics support with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Afghan border security work, with which Centcom has been pleased, the former official said.

So Gen. McChrystal has pushed for the Defense Department to issue the Afghan police training contract, rather than the State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement bureau (INL), the former official said.  The DoD has five “primes” -- companies eligible to bid on contracts in Afghanistan: Raytheon, Lockheed, Northrop, Arinc (owned by Carlyle), and Blackwater.

Of those five, only Blackwater bid for both Afghan police training contract components -- the training/mentoring and the logistics.  Its only competitor for the police training and mentoring contract, Northrop with MPRI, was disqualified, the former official said.  Its only competitor for the logistics contract is Lockheed.  The source said the Army had Lockheed rewrite and resubmit its proposal to make it more suited to receive the logistics contract.

DynCorp International, a Falls Church, Va.-based defense contractor, has filed a protest that only the five DoD “primes” were made eligible to bid for the Afghanistan police training contract, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund's Christine Spolar reported this week.  (DynCorp itself is in the process of being made a “prime,” the sources said.)

Meantime, DynCorp got some good news on the Afghan contract front.  Last week, it beat out MPRI to win a $232.4 million contract to train and mentor Afghan Ministry of Defense forces.

The contract was issued by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.  Of note: that on DynCorp’s board is retired Gen. Peter Schoomaker, former U.S. Army chief of staff.   Also on the DynCorp board, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who recently wrote an Afghanistan assessment commissioned by Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus.  Among McCaffrey’s findings, lavish praise for the military brilliance of Petraeus and McChrystal, and that there would be no meaningful civilian “surge” to Afghanistan.

The former official who spoke to POLITICO about the police training contracts, who is not associated with MPRI, said that MPRI is widely considered to have more experience doing military training and said that MPRI’s bid came in at 25 percent less the cost of DynCorp’s.

Congressional sources said they were not yet aware of the Afghan police training contract award.  But yesterday, Sen. Carl Levin (D.-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, slammed the activities of a Blackwater "shell" company in Afghanistan -- Paravant -- for its “reckless use of weapons, its disregard for the rules governing the acquisition of weapons" and lack of vetting resulting "in those weapons being placed in the hands of people who never should have possessed them," POLITICO's Marin Cogan reported.