Our objective was to determine whether DoD was providing effective contract oversight at the Redistribution Property Assistance Team (RPAT) sites in Afghanistan. This audit is one in a series of audits on RPATs in Afghanistan.
Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and 401st Army Field Support Brigade (AFSB) officials did not provide effective contract oversight at the RPAT yards in Afghanistan. Specifically, DCMA and 401st AFSB officials who performed oversight of the wholesale RPAT contract did not agree on whether the contractor, AC First, performed contract services in accordance with performance work statement (PWS) requirements. The services included tasks to maintain property accountability and asset visibility, notify DoD of property losses, and conduct causative research on known property losses. This occurred because the Army Sustainment Command modified an existing PWS to include retrograde activities but did not clearly define roles and responsibilities, which resulted in conflicting interpretations of the contractor’s requirements.
In addition, 401st AFSB personnel did not follow applicable Army regulations to initiate property loss investigations. For example, in February 2014, AC First could not account for more than 400 pieces of nonrolling stock equipment including three drone systems, while 401st AFSB personnel did not report the property loss for almost 11 months.
This occurred because 401st AFSB officials used their resources to search for missing equipment rather than identify and initiate a timely property loss investigation.
As a result of these contract oversight challenges, throughout 2014 DoD could not account for at least $26.5 million in property at the RPATs in Afghanistan, including sensitive items. Furthermore, DCMA and 401st AFSB officials could not provide assurance that the property would be recovered or that the losses would not continue until the property losses are identified, notified, and investigated timely.
Management Actions Taken
During the audit, we observed and suggested many methods to improve contract oversight at the RPAT yards in Afghanistan and report property losses in a timely manner. The officials from 401st AFSB, Army Sustainment Command and Army Contracting Command–Rock Island initiated steps to improve the PWS for the next contract. Specifically, the 401st AFSB concluded that:
- the new PWS will require 100-percent accountability of sensitive items, 24 hour notification of the loss of sensitive items, and causative research to determine the reason for the loss; and
- for nonsensitive items, the contractor will be required to notify the 401st AFSB and research the cause of the loss, regardless of whether the critical metric was met.
Further, 401st AFSB updated its standard operating procedures and the Commander held a town hall meeting to emphasize the need to initiate property loss investigations within the timeframes required by Army Regulation 735-5. The Commander, 401st Army Field Support Brigade, improved the new PWS and emphasized the need to report property losses in a timely manner. The Commander addressed the concerns we identified; therefore, we did not make any recommendations.