As troops head back to Iraq as ‘advisers,’ more contractors can’t be far behind


Displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community near the Syria-Iraq border (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

President Obama has ordered some 500 U.S. troops back to Iraq both to shore up security in Baghdad as ISIS fighters threaten the city and up to the north to assist Kurdish forces and help rescue some 30,000 Yazidis trapped on Mt. Sinjar.

And as the troops head back, non-boot-wearing federal contractors, performing similar advisory tasks, can’t be far behind. Indeed, our Wednesday “Fedbizopps” issue says the Army is looking for “interested vendors” who might be able to supply “Security Assistance Mentors and Advisors (SAMA) services in Iraq.”

The contractors are to assist the Office of Security Assistance – Iraq (OSC-I) to help the Iraqi government — which we trust will not be led by the disastrous Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — in the piece-of-cake “goal of reducing tensions between Arabs and Kurds, and Sunni and Shias.”

Okay, you might think achieving this could take a couple centuries and, yes, we’ve tried this before, but the notice indicates you should plan to do this in no more than three years. The notice  says that “the proposed contract. . . is for a period of performance of twelve (12) months and two (2) twelve-month option periods.”

The “key focus” is on things that  “involve, but are not limited to, administration, force development, procurement and acquisition, contracting, training management, public affairs, logistics, personnel management, professional development, communications. . . intelligence and executive development.” Certainly sounds tightly focused.

You need to submit your information by Aug. 25, so better get moving.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.



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