The following numbers and info from the July 30 SIGIR report:
As of early July, according to DoS, 15,007 personnel were supporting the U.S. Mission in Iraq:
- 1,235 U.S. government civilian employees (includes full-time and temporary government employees and personal-services contractors)
- 13,772 contractor personnel (U.S., Iraqi, and third-country nationals), 5,737 of whom were providing security services
In a change from its past reporting practice, DoS said that it obtained this quarter’s data on the number and role of contractors from the Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) database maintained by DoD. SIGIR also obtained data from the SPOT database that showed 12,477 employees of U.S.-funded contractors and grantees were working in Iraq as of July 2, 2012—1,295 fewer contractor personnel than reported by the Embassy. The data may have been accessed on different dates, but SIGIR does not know if that would completely account for the difference in reported number of contractor personnel.
Reconstruction Staff Down to 6, But Wait —
According to DoS, only 6 personnel—the number of staff in the Iraq Strategic Partnership Office—support “reconstruction activities.” DoS estimated that 67 contractors also support reconstruction programs. However, in its tally of reconstruction personnel, DoS excludes the entire staff of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I), which manages Iraq Security Forces Fund (ISFF) projects and the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs; DoS Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) personnel working on the Police Development Program (PDP); and personnel working on U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs.96 DoS contends that it excludes these individuals because they work on “traditional assistance programs (assistance programs that are found in embassies worldwide).” However, SIGIR takes the position that Economic Support Fund (ESF) and FMS, for example, are reconstruction programs in Iraq—a position supported in a March 31, 2011, letter by the Chairmen of the House Committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Foreign Affairs to the Secretary of State.
Less Expensive Staffing/Life-Support Options
DoS is working to reduce direct-hire staffing by 25%–30% by the end of 2013. Moreover, the Embassy is continuing to hire more Iraqis to fill direct-hire positions, reporting that 240 of the planned 400 were on board, as of June 28.
With regard to life-support contractors, DoS’s goal is for 50% of all life-support contractors to be Iraqis. As of late June, Iraqis made up about 24% of life-support contractors.
US Consulate Kirkuk Closes Today, Maybe…
The U.S. Consulate in Kirkuk—which has been operational, though not providing most traditional consular services, for about one year—has been scheduled to close by the end of July 2012. The consulate, which had been colocated with the OSC-I site on the grounds of an Iraqi Air Force base, will transfer most of its personnel to the Erbil Diplomatic Support Center (EDSC). To accommodate this move, the EDSC is preparing additional containerized housing-units that will serve as living quarters and office space for those personnel relocated from Kirkuk. About 30 private-security contractors will move from Kirkuk to Erbil as part of this plan. U.S. facilities in Kirkuk had been subject to regular indirect fire attacks since they opened. OSC-I will close its Kirkuk site by the end of September.
That’s a “maybe” because nowhere in US Mission Baghdad’s website or social media digs is there an announcement or an indication that the consulate in Kirkuk is about to close. In fact, the embassy’s lengthy job vacancy list, still has the following:
Jobs/Vacancies in Consulate General Kirkuk:
Political Assistant, FSN-8; FP-6* (PDF 93kb) Closing Date: Open until filled
An FSN-8 at $40,102 USD per year. Not bad for a local rate in a country where the average annual income is $3,500. But Iraqis may still not want their neighbors to know where they work. The job was originally published in February and republished in May.
- US Embassy Baghdad: SFRC Report Says Mission Cost May Be Its Death Knell (diplopundit.net)
- $200M wasted on Iraqi police training program, US audit says (foxnews.com)
- Iraq Reconstruction Effort Cost 719 Lives, Audit Finds – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Attacks Kill 91 Across Iraq (voanews.com)