Windfalls of War

Published — October 30, 2003

Anatomy of a contract

A closer look at Science Applications International Corp’s deal


The Pentagon has awarded seven contracts to San Diego-based Science Applications International Corp. to oversee much of the massive jobs of building a new government and mass media in post-war Iraq. Although the Defense Department and SAIC have chosen to keep much of the contract information secret—including the cost—the Center for Public Integrity has been able to glean some interesting details about the deals, which were all awarded in February 2003. The contracts all appear to last for one year and call for all of the work to be directed by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith. Feith’s top deputy at the Pentagon is Christopher “Ryan” Henry. Henry was a senior vice president at SAIC until October 2002.

One contract calls for SAIC to hire 150 so-called “Subject Matter Experts” who have been identified by the U.S. government as having “demonstrated an understanding of government operations required in (Iraq); language, cultural and geographic issues; and local recruitment requirements in (Iraq).” Specifically, the contract says the SMEs will, among other tasks, “identify, contact and recruit individuals in the exile and captive Iraqi community who are willing to devote themselves to the reconstruction and stability of Iraq.” The contract requires SAIC to lease apartments, cover living expenses and provide support staff and services for the SMEs. Much of the work is to be done in Arlington, Va., but the contract does require the SMEs to deploy to Iraq for no fewer than 30 days. Although most of the dollar figures in the contracts were removed by the Pentagon in copies supplied to the Center for Public Integrity, one section indicates that, for certain “executive management consultants,” the company will be paid $209 per hour.

One contract calls for SAIC to staff, train and equip a team to rebuild Iraq’s mass media system. The contract says the team “shall quickly establish a free and independent indigenous media network consisting of radio, television, and print media components.” The contract says the team “of approximately 40 people will include the SAIC program manager, Arabic linguists, public information specialists, Iraqi expatriate journalists, logisticians and operations personnel.” Specifically, the contract calls for SAIC to establish three major media bureaus in Baghdad, Basra and Arbil, including transmitters and satellite facilities. The bureaus “will ultimately have their own broadcast studios for TV and radio, run their own team of locally hired reporters, and contribute to the production of the national newspaper” to be published six days a week, with a circulation of approximately 300,000. The contract also calls for SAIC to provide on-the-job training for “indigenous journalists” and to “make maximum use of local labor to the extent feasible.” The contract mentions a “senior executive management consultant” to be paid $273 per hour, as well as several “executive management consultants” to be paid $200+ per hour.

One contract calls for SAIC to hire three specific SMEs—Shaha Rizza, Ahmad Dabous and Owen Kirby—to “assist in facilitating the political transformation of post-conflict Iraq into a free and democratic nation.” The top pay mentioned is $209 an hour for an “executive management consultant.”

One contract calls for SAIC to hire one SME—Dr. Richard Wilcox—to provide “analysis, advice and recommendations on United Nations coordination, oil-for-food coordination, sanctions, non-government organization coordination, humanitarian aid financing, peacekeeping support coordination, human rights and police reform.” Once again, the top pay mentioned is $209 an hour for an “executive management consultant.”

A similar contract calls for SAIC to hire an SME to provide “advice, analysis and recommendations for energy industry related issues for the re-build and management of the oil infrastructure within Iraq.” Top pay: $209 per hour.

Another contract calls for SAIC to hire a specific SME—Timothy M. Carney—to be an advisor to Iraq’s Ministry of Industry. Top pay is $209 an hour. It appears that SAIC would have to hire a substantial support staff for Carney as well.

The final contract calls for SAIC to hire another specific SME—Terry H. Sullivan—to provide intelligence analysis and technical services advice related to the “re-build and management of the various Iraqi Ministries.” Once again, top pay is $209 an hour and it appears SAIC will provide substantial support staff.

Updated Dec. 22, 2003

“After the release of our report, the Center received unredacted copies of the SAIC orders, which have a total value of nearly $23.5 million. These new copies of the task orders are in the Contracts and Reports page. However, congressional sources place the value of the media contract at $38 million in year one and say it could go up to more than $90 million in 2004. Therefore, the total value of the company’s contracts in Iraq could not be definitively ascertained.”

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