After years of building up the military’s presence in Afghanistan, some contractors are now helping the military move out.
Reston-based Serco Inc., a subsidiary of Serco Group, last week announced it has won a contract worth up to $57 million over three years to plan and document the dismantling of hundreds of military bases and camps, from the physical buildings and tents down to the computer equipment.
The initiative will draw on the company’s experience supporting base closures in Iraq, but the contractor also hopes it will also provide a window into more work related to the end of the wars.
Serco will provide 12 six-person teams — including construction engineers, property specialists and logistics experts — that will fan out through Afghanistan, helping the Army as it decides which bases should be taken down, what should be done with the equipment and consider potential environmental issues, said Bob Wood, the contractor’s vice president of logistics.
All of the work has to be documented to ensure the government knows where its equipment in Afghanistan ends up.
The scope of the work is vast; for instance, Wood said, the government has thousands of large tents — big enough to accommodate tanks or trucks — in Afghanistan to be evaluated.
Serco has already hired 72 employees for the contract, which Wood expects to begin next month.
The company previously supported base closure assistance teams in Iraq and helped develop a base closure “smartbook,” with guidance on some of the successful processes.
Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said contracts to bring troops and equipment back from Afghanistan won’t provide a lasting surge of awards.
Still, “there could be one last flurry of contracting activity in trying to wrap up all the loose ends in Afghanistan,” he said. “It will be short-lived.”
Other local companies have seen work related to the military’s transition out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Falls Church-based DynCorp International, for instance, has a contract to inspect vehicles being shipped out of Afghanistan.
The company has also received work to move military equipment to and from various sites in the Persian Gulf, according to a spokeswoman.
Wood said the contract in Afghanistan could help the company win work related to reset — or refurbishing equipment that will be brought back to the United States, such as tanks and trucks.
Some companies see it as a “decline of business,” said Wood of the military’s preparations to leave Afghanistan. “We see it as opportunity.”