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									                                                                                                                                                             insight| inspectors-general
David M. Verhey


Inspectors-General in Afghanistan:
Key Considerations for
Private Security Contractors
                                                                        The sun is setting on the era of lax oversight. Good. Photo: Jim Hinnant/U.S. Army

           ITH the recent increase of            can take to stay on the right side of the             companies to keep in mind:

                                                                                                                                                             journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009
           U.S. combat personnel in              law. But it is equally important to
           Afghanistan and a broadening          understand the consequences companies                 1. Understand the Power of the Office
of NATO's overall mission in Central             may face if they do not take heed.
Asia, the Obama Administration has                                                                     The role of the U.S. inspector general was
authorized nearly $4 billion of new              In June of 2003, United States Protection             first created in 1776 when then-General
construction – including barracks, training      and Investigations, LLC (USPI), a Texas-              George Washington employed a specially-
areas, and airfields – for this nation of        based company, was awarded an US$8.4                  appointed overseer to examine and
almost 33 million people.                        million contract to provide security                  manage the discipline and combat
                                                 services for the Kandahar-Kabul road                  readiness of the armed forces. Since that
With the expansion of contingency                construction project overseen by USAID.               time, Congress expanded the mission of
operations in Afghanistan and the                During the course of USPI's contract                  this office by establishing independent
potential that the Defense Department            performance, federal authorities began to             inspectors general within a number of
will soon establish a theater-wide contract      investigate the company's billing practices,          federal agencies, including the Depart-
for security services in that area, the role     and thereafter initiated a full-scale                 ment of Defense, Department of State,
of private security companies will become        investigation conducted by the USAID                  and USAID. It has also created special
even more central to U.S. and coalition          Inspector General, the FBI, and prosecu-              inspectors general for Iraq Reconstruction
reconstruction and humanitarian efforts          tors from the Justice Department. In                  and Afghanistan Reconstruction.
in Afghanistan. But even as that role            October of 2008, a federal Grand Jury
grows, the federal government is poised          charged that USPI, its two owners, and                Although all of the inspectors-general are
to impose much greater oversight of              two other contractors conspired to                    charged with somewhat different
security services through the work of            defraud the United States and committed               functions and priorities, they all share
inspectors-general at a number of key            major fraud and wire fraud by “defraud                broad statutory powers and three main
agencies, including the Department of            [ing] the United States in connection with            responsibilities:
Defense, the Department of State, United         the war and rebuilding efforts in Afghani-            1. to conduct audits and investigations of
States Agency for International Develop-         stan.” Specifically, the government                      government programs;
ment (USAID), and the Special Inspector          charged that USPI inflated expenses for               2. to promote economy, efficiency, and
General for Afghanistan Reconstruction           rental cars, fuel, and additional security               effectiveness in the administration of
(SIGAR).                                         personnel and submitted fraudulent                       government programs, and to prevent
                                                 invoices for payment. All defendants face                and detect fraud and abuse; and
It is important for companies to under-          a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.              3. to inform agency heads and Congress
stand the role of the inspectors-general                                                                  about problems and deficiencies
and what steps private security companies        There     are   four    considerations      for
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