Improvised Explosive Devices: Unclear Whether Culvert Denial Systems to Protect Troops Are Functioning or Were Ever Installed

Improvised Explosive Devices: Unclear Whether Culvert Denial Systems to Protect Troops Are Functioning or Were Ever Installed (PDF)
Source: Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

Improvised explosive devices ( IEDs ) are the weapon of choice for threat networks , and there has been an increasing trend in the use of IEDs in Afghanistan. IED events in Afghanistan increased by 42 percent (9,300 to 16,000 ) from 2009 to 2011 , according to Department of Defense (DOD) testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. 1According to DOD officials , the number of IED events reportedly increased in 2012 to a total of over 17,000 incidents for the year. Culvert denial systems are designed to prevent access to roadway culverts by insurgents, who can use the culverts to emplace IEDs or other explosives. DOD has funded a number of contracts for the placement of culvert denial systems across Afghanistan.

In October 2012 , SIGAR issued a safety alert letter informing DOD of the results of our preliminary investigation, which found that Afghan contractors either had failed to properly install culvert denial systems, rendering those systems ineffective and susceptible to compromise by insurgents, or did not install them at all. Our preliminary investigation found that at least two Afghan contractors — with a total contract amount of nearly $1 million — in one Afghanistan province have committed fraud by billing the U.S. government for the installation of 250 culvert denial systems that were either never installed or incorrectly installed. The ongoing investigation is looking into whether this apparent failure to perform may have been a factor in the death or injury of several U.S. soldiers. To date, an Afghan contractor and his sub-contractor have both been arrested and charged with fraud and negligent homicide. Our investigators are working with the Afghan Attorney General’s Office to arrest the second contractor .

We initiated this review in response to the concerns identified in our safety alert letter. We sought to identify the universe of contracts awarded for culvert denial system installation, and the extent to which contract management and oversight w ere conducted . This report provides our findings on (1 ) the number of contracts that have been awarded by DOD for culvert denial systems and (2 ) the extent to which contract oversight was conducted by DOD .

To conduct this review, we relied on data and documents provided by U.S. Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR – A), U.S. Central Command’s Joint Theater Support Contracting Command ( C- JTSCC) including their subordinate Regional Contracting Commands (RCCs), Combined Joint Task Force – Paladin, Combined Joint Task Force – 1 (CJTF – 1) in Regional Command – East (RC – E), Combined Joint Task Force 3 (CJTF – 3) in Regional Command – South (RC – S) , and personnel at the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team (KPRT) . We al so conduct ed interviews of personnel from the commands listed above , and we reviewed and analyzed a sample of culvert denial system contract files in Afghanistan. This review did not include an assessment of culvert denial systems that were part of road pr ojects funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the U.S. Agency for International Development.