3.5-B Peso Contract Prolongs Mindanao Stay of US Forces


International think-tank bares: US military base construction unit awards P3.5 billion contract for work in Mindanao; award part of multi-billion peso contract lasting until 2012

MANILA – On the eve of a congressional inspection of US military facilities in Mindanao, Focus on the Global South, a Bangkok-based international research institute, today announced that the US Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded an additional $77-million (around P3.5 billion) for support services to the US Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) which has been stationed in Mindanao continuously since 2002.[i]

The new contracts have been posted in the DOD’s website: http://www.defenselink.mil/contracts/contract.aspx?contractid=3872

The two relevant entries read as follows:

DynCorp International LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded $44,259,606 which provides for exercise of the first option period under a cost-plus-award-fee contract with award options to provide support services for Philippines operations support in the Republic of the Philippines for the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines. The current total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $202,116,113. Work will be performed in the Republic of the Philippines, and work is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity (N62742-08-C-1115).

DynCorp International LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $34,154,949 cost-plus-award-fee modification to increase the maximum dollar value of a cost-plus-award-fee contract to provide support services for Philippines operations support in the Republic of the Philippines for the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines. Work will be performed in the Republic of the Philippines, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $655,223 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity (contract number N62742-08-C-1115).

As stated above, another $202-million (or around P9.3-billion) more appear to be part of the total contract, parts of which may eventually be awarded later. This amount is about one-fifth of the total 2008 budget of the Philippine military and is more than half of the Philippine’s Department of Health.

The announcement above indicates that the JSOTF-P – for which no exit date has been set – will stay on at least until September 2012.

The US military’s Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) was listed as the “contracting activity”.

According to its own website, the NAVFAC is the unit within the US military that is in charge of providing the US Navy with “operating, support, and training bases.” It “manages the planning, design, and construction and provides public works support for US Naval shore installations around the world.” Among their business lines are “bases development” and “contingency engineering.”

It cannot be immediately ascertained, whether the new contracts are part of or separate from the DOD contracts awarded last June 2007, which Focus on the Global South also publicized.

NAVFAC had then also awarded a six-month $14.4-million contract to a certain “Global Contingency Services LLC” of Irving, Texas for “operations support” for the JSOTF-P.

According to the contractor’s website, this will include “facility operations and maintenance; air operations; port operations; health care; supply and warehousing; galley; housing support; emergency services; security, fire, and rescue; vehicle equipment; and incidental construction.”[ii] Contingency Response Services LLC describes its work as encompassing “operating forces support,” “community support,” and “base support.”[iii] According to the Defense Industry Daily publication, the contract also includes “morale, welfare, and recreation support.”[iv]

In reaction to Focus’ publicizing of the contracts then, the US embassy admitted that the US military was building structures for “medical, logistical, and administrative services,” and facilities for US troops “to eat sleep and work.” The Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement Commission also admitted for the first time that the US maintains “living quarters” and stocks supplies in the Philippines.[v]

US troops themselves refer to their facility in Sulu as “Advance Operating Base 920.”[vi] They describe their mission in the South as “unconventional warfare” and “counterinsurgency.”[vii]

{REFERENCE: Herbert Docena, +63 917 887 4372, +63 2 433 0899, herbert@focusweb.org}

[i] US Department of Defense, “Contracts – September 29, 2008,” http://www.defenselink.mil/contracts/contract.aspx?contractid=3872

[ii] Press Release, “DynCorp International and JV Partners Win $450 million NAVFAC Contract,” DynCorp International, November 2, 2006, http://www.dyn-intl.com/subpage.aspx?id=197

[iii] “Contingency Response Services,” DynCorp International, http://www.dyn-intl.com/subpage.aspx?id=204

[iv] Defense Industry Daily, “$14.4M to help US SOCOM in the Philippines,” June 8, 2007, http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/?s=philippines; Ethan Butterfield, “DynCorp lands $450M Navy Contingency Services Deal,” Washington Technology, November 3, 2006; http://www.washingtontechnology.com/online/1_1/29650-1.htm

[v] “US denies building bases in Mindanao,” GMANews.tv, August 24, 2007; Veronica Uy, “VFACom Chief Denies US Bases in Mindanao,” Inquirer.net, August 24, 2007

[vi] T.D. Flack, “Special Operations Force aiding an important ally,” Stars and Stripes, March 10, 2007, http://stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=43138&archive=true

[vii] Col. David Maxwell, “Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines: What Would Sun-Tzu Say” Military Review, May-June 2005; Members of the 1st Special Forces Group, “The History of the 1st SF Group in the Philippines: 1957-2002,” Special Warfare, June 2002; C.H. Briscoe, “Why the Philippines: ARSOF’s Expanded Mission in the War on Terror’”, Special Warfare, September 2002 (PinoyPress)

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