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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Joint Contracting Command-Iraq and Afghanistan have terminated another reconstruction contract with Parsons Global Services Inc., this one for the building of a prison in Nasiriyah, military officials said Wednesday.

The decision was “based on failure to achieve critical completion dates resulting in increased cost, which would be unaffordable,” a news release issued by the Corps’ Gulf Region Division read.

Construction on the project will continue under a “bridge-contract” awarded to an Iraqi firm already working on the project, officials said.

“Construction of the Nasiriyah Correctional Facility will continue and be completed by Iraqi contractors with current program funds under the supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Division,” Col. Andrew Knapp, of the Army Corps of Engineers, was quoted as saying in the release. “We are deeply committed to completing this project. We firmly believe in the demonstrated capabilities of Iraqi construction companies and are executing more and more direct contracts with Iraqi firms across all of our sectors.”

Last month, military officials canceled a Parsons contract for the Khan Bani Saad prison. That project was more than two years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget.

According to the company’s Web site, Parsons’ contracts in Iraq approached $4 billion. Company representatives could not be reached on Wednesday.

In late June, the Pentagon ordered a streamlining of the process of awarding contracts, hoping to accelerate reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

In a memo dated June 22, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England wrote that the creation of the new Iraqi government provides “a short window of opportunity to accelerate stabilization and reconstruction operations.”

England ordered the creation of a task force within the Business Transformation Agency to review DOD contracting procedures, the memo says.

According to the Corps, 4,177 projects worth $7.32 billion have been planned by the Gulf Region Division. As of July 7, they said, 721 projects valued at $2.53 billion are under construction and 2,909 projects valued at $2.99 billion have been completed.

Paul Brinkley, who heads the Business Transformation Agency task force, said last week “unequivocally” that the task force was not prompted by the cancellation of the Parsons contracts.

“This is not addressing any specific issue with any particular contract, but it’s to ensure that both now and in the future for contingency operations, we’re providing our workforce with a set of systems and processes that best align to the mission at hand,” Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of defense for business transformation, said in a phone interview with Stripes.


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