Who is winning work in Iraq and Afghanistan? (page 1 of 3)
- Iraq: Tuesday, March 02 - 2004 at 11:35
The reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq is a multi-billion dollar business. A profile of the companies that are cashing in.
KBR doesn't just feed soldiers in Iraq, it also takes care of cleaning up afterwards, has built the military barracks and, according to KBR vice president Robert Hendon, has taken over "the entire in-country transportation mission."
Founded in 1919 as a paving company, KBR evolved into one of the world's leading constructors of facilities and infrastructure. It built the Melbourne Formula One stadium and a number of Olympic facilities in Sydney, while more recently it was the mastermind behind the prison system for Taliban fighters in Guantanamo Bay.
After the end of the Cold War, KBR diversified its activities by offering logistics and support to the US military. Ever since, wherever the US Army goes, KBR goes, too. It worked with the Army in Afghanistan, Croatia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. Former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney once said, "The first person to greet our soldiers as they arrive and the last to wave goodbye is one of our employees."
KBR is not the sole private actor on the Iraqi stage. In fact, the most important coalition partner of the United States is not the British, but an estimated 10,000-15,000 civilians who often perform tasks that used to be carried out by soldiers. Apart from feeding and transporting soldiers, they sweep for mines, operate unmanned Predator drones, maintain the B2 Stealth bombers, and secure the companies and people involved in the reconstruction of Iraq.
Even the top US official in Iraq, Paul Bremer, is guarded by a contingent of privately hired ex-commandos. One of the advantages of hiring civilians is that company employees who get killed in Iraq don't appear in government death toll, and the US Army isn't officially responsible if anything goes wrong.
According to a publication by the American Center for Public Integrity, over the last two years more than 70 American companies and individuals have won contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan worth $8 billion. A third of the contracts are for security and military assistance, and the rest is for reconstruction.
KBR tops the list, with contracts totaling $2.3 billion, a large part of which concerns military logistics. It doesn't come as a surprise, then, to learn that Halliburton, KBR's parent firm, reported a 39 percent increase in sales in the third quarter of 2003.
DynCorp, an American company founded by former Los Angeles police officers, won a contract worth $50 million to train the Iraqi police force. To facilitate the training, President Bush asked Congress to fund an $800 million training facility, which could very well be built by KBR. DynCorp is known for training Colombia's anti-drug squads. It also worked in Bosnia and takes care of the personal security of Afghanistan's President Karzai, for $130,000 a year.
Vinnell, a subsidiary of Northman Grumman, won a one-year contract to train the new Iraqi army for $48 million. The Virginia-based company is also one of four companies that is directly assisting the US military in the current war and has trained the Saudi army for the past 25 years. USA Environmental won a $65 million contract to collect and destroy enemy ammunition.
The American Center for Public Integrity warned that nearly all of the 10 biggest contracts have been won by companies with former government officials on the payroll or that are known for their contacts in the Pentagon, the State Department and USAID.
The information comprised in this section is not, nor is it held out to be, a solicitation of any person to take any form of investment decision. The content of the AMEinfo.com Web site does not constitute advice or a recommendation by Mediaquest FZ LLC and should not be relied upon in making (or refraining from making) any decision relating to investments or any other matter. You should consult your own independent financial adviser and obtain professional advice before exercising any investment decisions or choices based on information featured in this AMEinfo.com Web site.
Mediaquest FZ LLC can not be held liable or responsible in any way for any opinions, suggestions, recommendations or comments made by any of the contributors to the various columns on the AMEinfo.com Web site nor do opinions of contributors necessarily reflect those of Mediaquest FZ LLC.
In no event shall Mediaquest FZ LLC be liable for any damages whatsoever, including, without limitation, direct, special, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages, or damages for lost profits, loss of revenue, or loss of use, arising out of or related to the AMEinfo.com Web site or the information contained in it, whether such damages arise in contract, negligence, tort, under statute, in equity, at law or otherwise.