Hunting for the Halliburton contract: the details

One thing that reporters have not mentioned when discussing the disputed contract to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root is the official contract number. This might facilitate finding
whatever information has been made public about the contract (which should be in the public record). I’ve tried to find it two ways: one, by proceeding from what I know about DOD contracting, and two, by just hitting the usual suspects with some help from Google.

From first principles

The DFARS specifies the format that should be used to number DOD contracts in its Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS), section 204.70. The general form of the contract number should look like DAxxxx-03-x-xxxx, where the DAxxxx is the six-digit unit identification code (UIC) of the procurement office that issued the contract; 03 is the fiscal year; -x- represents the contract type (this letter is called the Procurement Instrument Code or PIC, and is specified in section 204.7003(a)(3)); and the final four digits are a sequential serial number. Getting more specific than that is tricky, though, because we don’t know from which office the contract was issued (other than that it came from the Army Corps of Engineers), and we don’t know whether the contract was a regular contract or an indefinite delivery contract (meaning the scope and specific expenditures are specified in separate orders).

On the second part, the FAQ page for this work on Halliburton’s web site mentions an IDIQ (indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity) contract, under which the Corps of Engineers can issue specific task orders. This doesn’t answer whether the contract that was announced this week is the same as that IDIQ contract or whether this was a task order issued against the 2001 contract discussed in the FAQ. However, it confirms that the PIC code should be “D” rather than “C.” It does complicate matters, though, because it means the actual contract number might either show fiscal year 01, 02 (if issued after September 30, 2001), or 03, and if it is a task order it will have an additional four position alphanumeric serial code appended to the basic contract number.

For the UIC, we don’t know which Corps of Engineers office issued the contract, but based on the data in Appendix G of the DFARS the UIC should look like DACAxx or DACWxx. There are therefore several candidates for the contract number:

  • DACAxx-01-D-xxxx-xxxx
  • DACWxx-01-D-xxxx-xxxx
  • DACAxx-02-D-xxxx-xxxx
  • DACWxx-02-D-xxxx-xxxx
  • DACAxx-03-D-xxxx
  • DACWxx-03-D-xxxx

Unfortunately, searching on these numbers (and variants without dashes) in Google yields nothing. So I tried a different path, with more success.

Going in through the front door

The DOD News Office releases information about any contract awarded by the DOD that is valued at more than $5 million (there’s a whole science to determining contract value for some of the more complicated contract structures, but that’s a different story). Looking at the current month’s reports, I saw no mention of contracts awarded to Kellogg Brown and Root, meaning that either reporting has been delayed or the value of the order is less than $5 million. But looking at the archive for December 2001, when the FAQ says the LOGCAPIII contract was awarded, we find details in the December 14, 2001 contract newsletter:

Brown and Root Services, a Division of Kellogg Brown and Root, Inc. of Arlington, Va., is being awarded an unlimited firm-fixed-price/cost-plus-award-fee/cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) to use civilian contractors to provide the Army with an additional means to adequately support the force by performing selected services in wartime and other operations. Work will be performed in Houston, Texas and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2012 with nine, one-year options. Bids were electronically posted and three bids received. The contracting activity is the Operations Support Command, Rock Island, Ill., (DAAA09-02-D-0007).

(Note: This isn’t either a DACA or DACW number. The contract was actually issued by another part of the Army. So much for proceeding from first principles!)

So slugging this contract number into Google, we find a bunch of records related to orders against this base contract living on a server in Ogden. But we still don’t have a record of the actual order that was cut. The FAQ on Halliburton’s site says that it’s an order for a contingency plan to extinguish the oil well fires in Iraq. So how much is it worth? It has to be less than $5 million, unless the DOD is changing its communications policy about how it reports contracts over that threshold, or it would have been in the contracts newsletter. For a contingency plan, it’s probably under $100,000 (based on nothing but gut instinct).

But this delivery order isn’t the one to watch; this one just gets them in the game. Unless Kellogg Brown and Root really screw it up, they’ll get the follow-on award to execute on putting out the oil fires. And someone has to rebuild the Iraqi oil business. And them’s real bux.

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