Report | Nov. 25, 2013

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic District-North Needs To Improve Oversight of Construction Contractors in Afghanistan

DODIG-2014-010

Objective

This audit is one in a series of reports on military construction (MILCON) projects in Afghanistan. Our objective was to determine whether DoD provided effective oversight of MILCON projects in Afghanistan. Specifically, we determined whether U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) properly monitored contractor performance during construction and adequately performed quality assurance (QA) oversight responsibilities pertaining to two Special Operations Forces (SOF) MILCON projects at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.  

Finding

USACE Transatlantic District-North (USACE TAN) (Bagram Area Office) QA and contracting officials’ oversight of two SOF MILCON projects at Bagram Airfield, valued at $37.6 million, was not conducted in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation and USACE guidance. Since 2010, when the projects were initiated, area and resident engineers did not provide project engineers and construction representatives with a Statement of Understanding and Compliance; project engineers did not always follow contract oversight responsibilities, were working with incomplete contractors’ quality controls plans, did not prepare QA plans, and could not substantiate that contractors fully executed the three-phase inspection process; and USACE TAN technical inspections of contractors’ construction efforts were limited. This occurred because current QA officials did not always have critical QA documents available before their arrival and could not explain why QA requirements were not fully executed from the projects’ start. However, the area engineer stated that documenting the QA process was secondary and that completing the SOF MILCON projects was the top priority. As a result, there is an increased risk that, although the two SOF MILCON projects will get completed, the projects may not meet contract requirements.  

Recommendations

Among other recommendations, we recommend that the Commander, USACE, Transatlantic Division, provide oversight to the Commander, USACE TAN QA program in Afghanistan. We also recommend that the Commander, USACE TAN, require project engineers to approve contractors’ quality control plans and develop QA plans; require project engineers and construction representatives to maintain complete QA records; and verify that contractors are fully executing the three-phase inspection process and that technical inspections of contractors construction efforts are performed.  

Managment Comments and Our Response

Management comments partially addressed the recommendations. USACE agreed to complete Statements of Understanding and Compliance, approve contractors quality control plans, and maintain complete records in response to the recommendations. However, we request management provide additional comments to Recommendation 1 by December 20, 2013.