Report | March 8, 2013

Inadequate Contract Oversight of Military Construction Projects in Afghanistan Resulted in Increased Hazards to Life and Safety of Coalition Forces


What We Did

Our objective was to determine whether the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment (AFCEE) provided effective oversight of construction projects in Afghanistan. We selected a nonstatistical sample of 4 of the 19 military construction projects located at Camps Bastion/Leatherneck that met our criteria to determine whether AFCEE officials properly monitored contractor performance and adequately performed quality assurance oversight responsibilities during construction.

What We Found

AFCEE Contingency Construction Division officials did not provide effective oversight of military construction projects in Afghanistan. Specifically, AFCEE officials did not develop a formal process to monitor, assess, and document the quality of work performed by contractor personnel for four projects valued at $36.9 million. AFCEE officials stated that this occurred because they relied completely on the technical expertise of their contractor personnel. In addition, AFCEE officials stated the Federal Acquisition Regulation requirement for a quality assurance surveillance plan did not apply to architect-engineer services contracts.

As a result, AFCEE’s process for developing and reviewing contract requirements design was not adequate to prevent conflicting electrical standards from being cited in one contract’s Statement of Work and Statement of Requirement and incorrect fire protection standards from being cited in two contracts’ Statements of Requirement used during construction. In addition, AECOM personnel at Camps Bastion/Leatherneck did not identify significant deficient work performed. The deficiencies led to serious increased hazards to the life and safety of coalition forces who occupy two of the four facilities reviewed at Camps Bastion/Leatherneck, and contributed to over a6-month delay in government acceptance of one facility. We notified AFCEE officials of those deficiencies during a site visit to Afghanistan in May 2012 and again during meetings held in June 2012. According to Air Force Civil Engineer Center officials, all electrical deficiencies were corrected as of October 2012. In addition, Air Force Civil Engineer Center officials stated that additional strobe lights were installed in one facility on October 15, 2012 and the fire department conducted its official fire alarm and functionality test on that same date and found no issues. Air Force Civil Engineer Center officials also stated that they planned to install additional egress doors on the second floor of one facility; however, they did not plan to install a fire suppression system in either facility.

What We Recommend

The Director, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, should develop quality assurance surveillance plans for the Title I, Title II, and Global Engineering, Integration, and Technical Assistance contract task orders and develop procedures to verify contracting officer’s representatives conduct and document appropriate surveillance of contractors as called for in the quality assurance surveillance plan, to ensure that work performed is carried out in accordance with the task order requirements.

The Commander, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the Director should assess the life and safety hazards identified and determine the appropriate actions needed to correct the electrical hazards and fire safety and emergency egress deficiencies.

Management Comments and Our Response

The Director, Joint Programs Integration Office, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, agreed with the report recommendation directed to U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and his comments were responsive. The Director, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, did not comment on a draft of this report. We request additional comments by April 8, 2013.