The State Department recently issued a presolicitation for a contractor to provide Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services for the Baghdad Embassy Compound (BEC) in Iraq. The services required include but are not limited to:
Ø Electrical Generation and Distribution;
Ø Heating Air Conditioning and Ventilation (HVAC);
Ø Water Supply, Purification and Distribution;
Ø Fire Alarm and Suppression System;
Ø Complete Sanitary Sewer and Waste Water Treatment Plant;
Ø Elevator Maintenance;
Ø Fuel Storage and Distribution for generators and gas/diesel station;
Ø Refuse and HAZMAT removal;
Ø Grounds maintenance;
Ø Facilities maintenance;
Ø Swimming pool maintenance;
Ø Structural inspections and repairs.
The Baghdad Embassy Compound (BEC) is located in the heart of Baghdad, IRAQ adjacent to the Tigris River, within the International Zone (formerly known as the Green Zone). It consists of 38 buildings, one service station and 16 guard towers on approximately 104 acres with three primary sites as follows: 1) BEC, 2) Diplomatic Security Man Camp (Camp Condor), and 3) East End.
Related to this, the department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs is also conducting a Pre-Award Site Survey at the US Embassy Compound in Baghdad, Iraq. The notice posted at FedBiz says that contractors who are considering the submission of a proposal as the Prime Contractor for the Operations and Maintenance Support Services contract are strongly encouraged to make plans to attend this three day event as space is limited and the time required to apply for and receive a visa from the Government of Iraq may be extensive.
The notice also says:
The purpose of this visit is to provide specific information to interested companies on the work and living environment, the program scope and schedule, and the specific facilities, grounds, utilities and equipment requiring operations, upkeep, maintenance and repair.
Participation in the Site Survey is not a mandatory requirement for submission of a proposal or to be considered a qualified company in the evaluation of a proposal. However, this level of information sharing by DOS cannot be replicated in any other form.
Due to the requirement that a company either possess a Top Secret Facility Clearance or be able to obtain a Top Secret Facility Clearance, a Prime Contractor can only be a company based in the United States.
In an impromptu press briefing reported by The Cable last week, Deputy Secretary Tom Nides was quoted saying, “Contrary to some of the news reports, we are not reducing our operations by 50 percent… To be honest with you, I don’t know where the 50 percent number came from.” Apparently, the more “normalized” operation is focused on “switching from contractors to local hires and sourcing embassy goods from the local marketplace.”
But the embassy’s operation and maintenance services does not look like part of what they’re calling “normalized” operations; the presolicitation above excludes non-US based companies and requires the contractor to have a Top Secret Facility clearance.
In what might be a test of mettle for prospective American contractors, the State Department provides the following logistics information to assist potential contractors in planning their trip to Iraq for this site survey:
- Air Transportation – Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) is the airport within Baghdad, Iraq, and is serviced by numerous international airlines. Attendees are expected to make their own arrangements to arrive and depart from Baghdad.
- Housing – Attendees should make reservations to stay at the Parks Edge Inn, within the International Zone in Baghdad.
- Ground Transportation –. Attendees are responsible for arrangement and transportation from BIAP to lodging destination and back; and from lodging site to U.S. Embassy and back. U.S. Embassy staff will meet attendees at the main gate of US Embassy Compound each morning.
- Meals – Attendees will be allowed to take lunch and dinner at the Dining Facility (DFAC) at the Embassy Compound on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The lunches may be working lunches. Dinner starts at 5:00 pm. Please allow time for dinner before departure pick up.
- Status – Attendees will be visitors to the Embassy Compound and require escorting at all times.
- Schedule – The specific schedule of events will be provided to authorized attendees directly at a later date. Once daily time and schedule are released, attendees should begin planning to secure transportation accordingly that assure timely arrival and departure.
At least, potential contractors on this site visit are allowed lunch and dinner at the dining facility at the US Embassy compound. It would be interesting to see if Tony Stark of Stark Industries will show up at the main gate.
- A Look Inside the American Embassy in Baghdad (nytimes.com)
- U.S. planning to reduce the size of the Embassy Baghdad (mountainrunner.us)
- U.S. To Downsize Baghdad Embassy By Half (thinkprogress.org)
- US Embassy Iraq Staffing: To Slash or Not to Slash, That is the Question (diplopundit.net)
Having been there for a year with the US Army, I cannot think of a better way to waste more money. The wages for a Brown and Root bus driver within the Green Zone was just over $5k a month (when the “Surge” was happening) plus their meals/lodging were included. Imagine the costs to hire a team of maintenance folks who not only have Top Secret Clearances but are also educated/experienced to manage the operational systems in that environment? Those monthly paychecks will be far more than $5k and all of that will be a fraction of what the contractor gets. Every cent will be paid by the US Taxpayer just so we can have a presence in an area that has been unable to resolve their own differences since the beginning of time. Ludicrous! And, to top it off, folks have to find their OWN way there! I wonder how many will show up… I agree, Tony Stark would be able to “drop-in” and that about sums up the fantasy that anyone would want to pursue this contract except that it would make them a ton of money. Whoever the current contractor is (Brown and Root I suspect) will likely go unchallenged.
Victoria – I did not even think about GSOs, but you are absolutely right. All the services required are traditionally handled by a General Services Officer in other normal embassies. But Baghdad is not a normal ops — and I’m just thinking, if it uses GSOs on this facility, can you imagine how many posts worldwide won’t have GSOs at all? It already has about 200 RSOs and that’s not even enough.
Still trying to figure out this picture. Something is wrong. Oh yes, Although we spent Millions building a chicken processing plant (or was it cattle???) in Iraq. we couldn’t figure out how to get regular electricity in the country. So I guess we have to hire out for it. Hmmmmm. I think we used to call most of what is being contracted here GSO.