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Looking for the Halliburton contract

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(Why are we interested in Halliburton? Remember, it’s all about the Harken-Halliburton Presidency.)

In summary:

  1. The “contract” that was let this week is a task order under Halliburton’s existing indefinite delivery contract vehicle, contract DAAA09-02-D-0007.
  2. The scope of this task order is the development of a contingency plan to extinguish the oil well fires in Iraq; execution of that plan will be under another contract.
  3. The value of the contingency plan task order is almost certainly less than $5 million, probably less than $100,000.
  4. The real value will be in the follow-on work to this award.

How did I come to these conclusions? Well…

One thing that reporters have not mentioned when discussing the disputed contract to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root is the official contract number. This might facilitate finding
whatever information has been made public about the contract (which should be in the public record). I’ve tried to find it two ways: one, by proceeding from what I know about DOD contracting, and two, by just hitting the usual suspects with some help from Google.

From first principles
The DFARS specifies the format that should be used to number DOD contracts in its Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS), section 204.70. The general form of the contract number should look like DAxxxx-03-x-xxxx, where the DAxxxx is the six-digit unit identification code (UIC) of the procurement office that issued the contract; 03 is the fiscal year; -x- represents the contract type (this letter is called the Procurement Instrument Code or PIC, and is specified in section 204.7003(a)(3)); and the final four digits are a sequential serial number. Getting more specific than that is tricky, though, because we don’t know from which office the contract was issued (other than that it came from the Army Corps of Engineers), and we don’t know whether the contract was a regular contract or an indefinite delivery contract (meaning the scope and specific expenditures are specified in separate orders).

On the second part, the FAQ page for this work on Halliburton’s web site mentions an IDIQ (indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity) contract, under which the Corps of Engineers can issue specific task orders. This doesn’t answer whether the contract that was announced this week is the same as that IDIQ contract or whether this was a task order issued against the 2001 contract discussed in the FAQ. However, it confirms that the PIC code should be “D” rather than “C.” It does complicate matters, though, because it means the actual contract number might either show fiscal year 01, 02 (if issued after September 30, 2001), or 03, and if it is a task order it will have an additional four position alphanumeric serial code appended to the basic contract number.

For the UIC, we don’t know which Corps of Engineers office issued the contract, but based on the data in Appendix G of the DFARS the UIC should look like DACAxx or DACWxx. There are therefore several candidates for the contract number:

  • DACAxx-01-D-xxxx-xxxx
  • DACWxx-01-D-xxxx-xxxx
  • DACAxx-02-D-xxxx-xxxx
  • DACWxx-02-D-xxxx-xxxx
  • DACAxx-03-D-xxxx
  • DACWxx-03-D-xxxx

Unfortunately, searching on these numbers (and variants without dashes) in Google yields nothing. So I tried a different path, with more success.

Going in through the front door
The DOD News Office releases information about any contract awarded by the DOD that is valued at more than $5 million (there’s a whole science to determining contract value for some of the more complicated contract structures, but that’s a different story). Looking at the current month’s reports, I saw no mention of contracts awarded to Kellogg Brown and Root, meaning that either reporting has been delayed or the value of the order is less than $5 million. But looking at the archive for December 2001, when the FAQ says the LOGCAPIII contract was awarded, we find details in the December 14, 2001 contract newsletter:

Brown and Root Services, a Division of Kellogg Brown and Root, Inc. of Arlington, Va., is being awarded an unlimited firm-fixed-price/cost-plus-award-fee/cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) to use civilian contractors to provide the Army with an additional means to adequately support the force by performing selected services in wartime and other operations. Work will be performed in Houston, Texas and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2012 with nine, one-year options. Bids were electronically posted and three bids received. The contracting activity is the Operations Support Command, Rock Island, Ill., (DAAA09-02-D-0007).

(Note: This isn’t either a DACA or DACW number. The contract was actually issued by another part of the Army. So much for proceeding from first principles!)

So slugging this contract number into Google, we find a bunch of records related to orders against this base contract living on a server in Ogden. But we still don’t have a record of the actual order that was cut. The FAQ on Halliburton’s site says that it’s an order for a contingency plan to extinguish the oil well fires in Iraq. So how much is it worth? It has to be less than $5 million, unless the DOD is changing its communications policy about how it reports contracts over that threshold, or it would have been in the contracts newsletter. For a contingency plan, it’s probably under $100,000 (based on nothing but gut instinct).

But this delivery order isn’t the one to watch; this one just gets them in the game. Unless Kellogg Brown and Root really screw it up, they’ll get the follow-on award to execute on putting out the oil fires. And someone has to rebuild the Iraqi oil business. And them’s real bux.

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About Timothy Jarrett

  • http://www.sanfordmay.com san

    What’s the deal here? This guy seems to know what he’s talking about, has taken the time do some real research and he gets NO comments.

    A little feedback, please, even on posts that you can’t refute with the single term “anti-American”.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Here’s a comment: I’m not sure why this even matters?

    I mean, Cheney hasn’t been with Halliburton in a while now. I drive past the Halliburton office on Belt Line Road in Addison/N Dallas every now and then, and I don’t see waves of pure evil flowing off of the place, but perhaps I’m simply not attenuated enough to it. I guess I just don’t see why people (not you, Timothy Jarrett, the people you are preemptively refuting) care about Halliburton any more.

    I’m trying to think of analogues from the Clinton years, as that seems to be a favorite pasttime of late. As I remember it, the “whitewater” stuff was of interest only in the sense that Mrs. Clinton might have acted improperly at the time, and certain did by destroying and obscuring evidence. I don’t recall any ongoing discussion of the firm in question (whose name I cannot recall right now, maybe “Rose” something?) after she no longer worked there.

    Guilt by association is tenuous enough. Guilt by former association is mind-boggling.

    What am I missing?

    (There, that ought to stir up some discussion…)

  • Eric Olsen

    Yes, excellent job. The biggest problem with Halliburton is how it looks, an issue for which the administration seems to have a real tin ear.

  • http://www.sanfordmay.com san

    There is an issue if Cheney is still acting with favoritism toward his corporate alma mater. He was the big wig, you know, not some file clerk. He had and likely still retains strong ties to that organization.

    I don’t know that the Halliburton contract was awarded in an illegitimate fashion or not, but I do think if Cheney, et al, had any sense at all, they would not award anything to Halliburton to avoid the appearance of indiscretion.

    Is that particularly fair to Halliburton? Perhaps not, but you’d think that Halliburton wouldn’t want to be associated with anything that might be perceived as under the table, either.

  • Jim

    I don’t like KBR because we compete against them, but you’d think with all the research Jarrett did on the DFARS that he would understand that it would be illegal to restrict KBR (Haliburton) participation with out charging them with some sort of wrong doing. Even then, as I remember it, this is still America and everyone is supposed to have the right to due process.

    I could name several other reasons I feel the competition is sometimes fixed. Jarrett hasn’t even touched upon the myriad of retired Generals (much more influential than Cheney in the contracting process) that leave the military, draw large salaries, and use their contacts to give companies able to afford them an unfair advantage. Many senior officers seem to have planned an exit strategy several years prior leaving the service. Most of us retired trusting that our expertise would be the thing that counted in fair competition. It’s difficult to compete with the inside information and favoritism often shown by former colleagues. I’ve partnered with some of the largest of these firms and during the proposal process, have been briefed several times by retired Flag Officers on information that has come directly from inside sources.