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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Needs to Improve Contract Oversight of Military Construction Projects at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

DODIG-2013-024

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What We Did

This audit is one in a series of reports on military construction projects in Afghanistan. Our objective was to determine whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) provided effective oversight of military construction projects at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. We determined whether USACE properly monitored contractor performance during construction and adequately performed quality assurance oversight responsibilities.

What We Found

USACE Afghanistan Engineering District-North (TAN) quality assurance (QA) personnel did not properly monitor contractor performance and fulfill quality assurance responsibilities for the four military construction projects reviewed at Bagram Airfield, valued at $49.6 million. Specifically, QA personnel did not: develop supplemental project QA plans; approve contractors’ quality control plans before contractors began construction; maintain QA documentation of QA personnel surveillance activities; follow responsibilities in the contracting officer’s designation memoranda; and request technical specialists to perform technical inspections. In addition, QA personnel relied on the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program contractor to perform infrequent technical inspections and relied on their own experience to identify construction deficiencies.

These conditions occurred because USACE TAN officials did not provide sufficient oversight of QA personnel. For example, QA personnel stated they were not aware of their responsibilities because USACE TAN officials did not provide enough guidance or training to QA personnel operating in a contingency environment. Further, QA personnel stated they were either unaware of, did not see a need for, did not have time to follow, or did not have proper personnel to follow QA guidance. As a result, USACE did not have reasonable assurance that contractors’ quality control programs were effective and the four MILCON projects met or would meet contract requirements.

What We Recommend

Among other recommendations, we recommend that the Commander, USACE TAN verify that project engineers develop supplemental project QA plans and approve contractor quality control plans before contractors begin construction; direct contracting officers to verify the performance of requirements in their designation memoranda; access the availability of technical specialists and verify the use of technical specialists to support the conduct of technical inspections; and conduct training for QA personnel on QA surveillance requirements in a contingency environment.

Management Comments and Our Response

Although the Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Transatlantic Division, disagreed with one aspect of the finding, he agreed with the recommendations, and the comments were responsive. No further comments are required.

This report is a result of Project No. D2012-D000JB-0071.000.