Editor’s Note: This post, which originally appeared on Aug. 16, was altered on Aug. 19 to clarify the portion of the Army contract at issue.
The State Department is taking over some intelligence activities in Iraq.
With insurgent violence continuing in the country and all U.S. combat forces still scheduled to leave by the end of the year, State has taken over a $2 million element of a larger Army contact with L-3 Communications involving intelligence services to continue through the end of May 2012, five months after military personnel are expected to leave.
In a document justifying the the transfer to State, the Army has redacted the exact intelligence activities to be carried out, but it does say that L-3 will “assist in all aspect of intelligence support activities in order to provide timely and actionable intelligence information.”
The contract was not put up for open bid before the transfer. The reason, according to the Army: It was “in the [U.S.] government’s best interest to utilize current contracts rather than incur the delay and cost of re-competing as this transition is happening very quickly.”
One element of the contract will remain the same under State. According to the Army, money to pay for the contractor will “utilize fiscal year 2011 Operations and Maintenance Army funds,” and thus not come from the State Department’s more meager budget.
Under the original contract awarded in 2009 and begun in 2010, L-3 was to provide to the U.S.-led forces in Iraq with “intelligence operations support, locally employed persons screening, special security officers, human intelligence support teams, information operations support, and intelligence support;” according to the original statement of work.
Justifying the transfer to State, the Army said the current personnel are not only highly skilled technicians but also familiar with “current operations, the technical infrastructure, and the existing intelligence support missions.”
Bringing in a new contractor would take “at a minimum 45-90 days to mobilize into Iraq and get up to speed on understanding the integral systems being utilized,” according to the Army justification.