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Followup on DoD OIG Report No. DODIG-2013-099, “Compliance with Electrical and Fire Protection Standards of U.S. Controlled and Occupied Facilities in Afghanistan,” July 18, 2013 at Kandahar Airfield DODIG-2018-157

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Objective:

We conducted this followup evaluation to determine whether U.S. Forces– Afghanistan (USFOR–A) implemented corrective action at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) in response to recommendations made in the DoD Office of Inspector General Report No. DODIG-2013-099, “Compliance with Electrical and Fire Protection Standards of U.S. Controlled and Occupied Facilities in Afghanistan,” issued on July 18, 2013.

Background:

For the 2013 report, we evaluated facilities located at KAF and Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. For this followup evaluation, we evaluated only facilities at KAF. The 2013 report stated that U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) did not comply with Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) and the National Fire Protection Association standards at KAF. We found hazardous conditions due to a lack of adherence to minimum electrical and fire protection systems standards as evidenced by 413 deficiencies in electrical and fire protection systems. These deficiencies posed a risk to the health and safety of DoD personnel. During our site visit to KAF between October 26, 2017, and November 2, 2017, we reevaluated some of the electrical system and fire protection system deficiencies identified in the 2013 report to determine the correction status. However, this 2017 followup evaluation focused on the programmatic changes required for systemic correction of all of the electrical and fire protection system deficiencies.

Findings:

In this followup evaluation, we determined that USFOR–A provided qualified personnel for the oversight and inspection of electrical systems. We also found that USFOR–A developed a process to perform regular inspection and maintenance of electrical systems. In addition, we revaluated 66 deficiencies from our 2013 report to determine the effectiveness of the USFOR–A processes. We determined that USFOR–A corrected 65 of the 66 reevaluated deficiencies (99 percent). As a result, we determined that USFOR–A implemented the electrical system recommendations, which reduced the risk of loss of life and property that could result from an electrical system deficiency due to fire, shock, or electrocution.

However, we determined that USFOR–A did not provide a Qualified Fire Protection Engineer to perform oversight of fire protection systems, ensure inspection and maintenance of all fire protection systems, and develop a fire protection plan for KAF. The USFOR–A Joint Engineer Directorate was unable to determine why there was not a Qualified Fire Protection Engineer at KAF. We also determined that, USFOR–A used contracted services to perform some inspection and maintenance of fire protection systems at KAF. However, USFOR–A did not develop an effective process to ensure regular inspection and maintenance of engineered fire protection systems or any fire protection systems in non-density facilities.

The USFOR–A Plans Director and the KAF Department of Public Works Director told us that KAF was downsizing between 2015 and 2016, which was expected to change KAF’s enduring status and thus, it was not a priority to develop a fire protection plan. However, we determined that KAF is an enduring location and a fire protection plan is required, in accordance with Central Command Regulation 415-1, “Construction in the USCENTCOM Area of Responsibility,” July 18, 2014.

In addition, we reevaluated 170 fire protection deficiencies from our 2013 report to determine the effectiveness of any changes to the fire protection and maintenance process that were made since our 2013 evaluation. We determined that USFOR–A did not correct 84 of 170 reevaluated fire protection deficiencies (49 percent). Based on these findings, we concluded that USFOR–A did not implement the selected fire protection recommendations from the 2013 report, which increases the risk of loss of life and property due to fire, shock, or electrocution that could result from a fire protection system deficiency.

Recommendations:

In an effort to fully correct programmatic fire protection deficiencies at KAF, we have closed fire protection system recommendations from the 2013 report and replaced them with the recommendations below that provide clarity to address the deficiencies identified during the 2013 and 2017 followup evaluation. We recommend that the USFOR–A Commander:

  • ensure Qualified Fire Protection Engineers are available at KAF, as required by UFC 3-600-01, “Fire Protection Engineering for Facilities,” August 8, 2016, Incorporating Change 2 March 25, 2018, and
  • ensure inspection, testing, and maintenance of all fire protection systems as required by UFC 3 -600-01, and UFC 3-601-02, “ Operations and Maintenance: Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems,” September 8, 2010, and
  • develop a fire protection plan, as required by Central Command Regulation 451-1, “Construction in the USCENTCOM Area of Responsibility, “The Sandbook,” July 18, 2014.

Management Comments and Our Response:

The USFOR–A Joint Engineer (JENG) Director, responding for the USFOR–A Commander, agreed to ensure that a Qualified Fire Protection Engineer is available for the next Forward Engineer Support Team–Afghanistan. However, his plan does not ensure that a Qualified Fire Protection Engineer is available to address the magnitude of fire protection deficiencies that we identified in this evaluation. Therefore, we consider this recommendation unresolved and request additional comments in response to the final report.

In addition, the USFOR–A JENG Director agreed to ensure inspection, testing, and maintenance of all engineered fire protection systems. He further stated that the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contractor would provide these services. However, our evaluation determined that the LOGCAP contract does not contain a requirement for the LOGCAP contractor to provide these services. Therefore, USFOR–A cannot require the LOGCAP contractor to provide these services unless the LOGCAP contract is modified. Further, the USFOR–A JENG Director stated that USFOR–A is performing an assessment of non-density facilities and transitioning facilities to the density list. However, he did not provide a plan for regular inspection and maintenance of non‑density facilities during the transition period. Therefore, we consider this recommendation unresolved and request additional comments in response to the final report.

Finally, the USFOR–A JENG Director agreed to develop a fire protection plan as required by Central Command Regulation 451-1. Therefore, the recommendation is resolved, but remains open. We will close this recommendation once we verify that the fire protection plan was developed.

This report is a result of Project No. D2017-D000PT-0186.000.