PMC and Sex Crimes

Perhaps we should subtitle the DOD Inspector General's report the crime that dare not speak its name, as it deals with a topic that most private military contractors generally don't talk about publicly.
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On April 16 the Department of Defense Inspector General released a report that nobody has been talking about. Allow me to be the first. Perhaps we should subtitle it the crime that dare not speak its name, as it deals with a topic that most private military contractors (PMC) generally don't talk about publicly.

My first thought is how is it that some contractors can't seem to keep it in their pants? This is an issue that seems to keep happening over the years; from the days when DynCorp contractors were involved in a sex trafficking scandal in Bosnia when employees and supervisors engaged in sex with 12 to 15 year old children, and sold them to each other as slaves to the gang-rape of Jamie Leigh Jones a former KBR employee who claimed that seven KBR employees drugged and gang-raped her on July 28, 2005 at Camp Hope, Baghdad, Iraq.

For those who like to dismiss such things as isolated occurrences just head on over to the "Rape, Hazing, Discrimination & Harassment" section of Ms, Sparky's blog and you will be promptly disabused of such a notion.

In fact the situation is serious enough that the sexual assault of employees of U.S. military contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan will be tracked by the Pentagon under a system it is setting up.

Evidently the fact that the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) declares that sexual assault committed by the Armed Forces and DOD civilians and contractors accompanying Armed Forces in contingency operations is a criminal offense that is punishable by court-martial is not enough to keep assaults from happening.

The IG report reviewed contracts that support Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom for language in clauses that address the prevention of sexual assault or harassment of or by contractor personnel. It also determined whether DOD and/or DOD contractors provided sexual assault/harassment prevention and response training to contractor employees prior to deployment.

What it found was:

That of the 10 DOD contractors reviewed, 8 did not have policies or training requirements for sexual assault prevention and response. This condition occurred because contractual requirements were not established to ensure that contractors were aware of DOD's definition of sexual assault or that contractors should report sexual assault complaints to Military law enforcement during contingency operations. In addition, sexual assault prevention and response policy was not applied to contractors and contractors were not required to complete such training as part of theater-specific individual requirements training.

The Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, and Air Force contracting officers did not provide adequate oversight of contractor deployment training for sexual assault prevention and response. This condition occurred because the Kellogg, Brown, and Root Services, Inc. Continental United States Replacement Center (CRC) and Fluor Corporation CRC operations were inappropriately approved, despite the contractors' sexual assault awareness and reporting training not meeting the minimum training requirements. Further, contractor employees were processed through pre-deployment sites without ensuring that sexual assault prevention and response training was completed.

One can't help wondering what the world is coming to when men have to go through training to understand that no means no.

Indeed, the report found that most contractors had problems even defining sexual assault. The report noted:

We determined that 8 of 10 contractors reviewed did not establish an adequate corporate definition of sexual assault or promote awareness to contractor employees assigned to DOD projects in Iraq and Afghanistan. Specifically, five contractors misclassified sexual assault, a violent felony, as an act of sexual harassment, a civil offense, which is reported internally within the companies instead of externally to Military law enforcement; one contractor developed a definition that was inconsistent with DOD's definition and established internal company reporting procedures; and the remaining two contractors did not provide any definition of sexual assault. The remaining 2 of 10 contractors developed a definition of sexual assault that was consistent with DOD's definition, but only 1 of the 2 contractors established external reporting to Military law enforcement.

Sexual assault is not just a problem for private contractors; it also is a problem for regular military forces. On February 5, 2004, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum, "Department of Defense Care for Victims of Sexual Assaults," that expressed concern with the increasing numbers of reports alleging sexual assaults involving Service members deployed to Iraq and Kuwait and directed a review of how DOD handled the treatment and care for victims of sexual assault in theater. On February 10, 2004, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness [USD(P&R)] directed the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Health, Protection, and Readiness to establish and lead a task force to review the reporting of sexual assaults and consider the necessity of training for Service members. In April 2004, the task force issued the "Task Force Report on Care for Victims of Sexual Assault," which found that DOD did not have a policy or program aimed at preventing sexual assault, particularly in joint combat environments.

The companies that the report looked at were. AECOM; Environmental Chemical Corporation (ECC); Fluor Corporation (Fluor); ITT Corporation, Systems Division (ITT); Innovative Technical Solutions, Inc.(ITSI); Kellogg, Brown, and Root Services, Inc. (KBR); L-3 Communications; Parsons Corporation (Parsons); Readiness Management Support, LC (RMS); and Tetra Tech, Inc.

These ten contractors were selected based on the following criteria: U.S.-based companies; contracting actions awarded in FY 2006 and FY 2007; and combined FY 2006 and FY 2007 contracting actions equal to or exceeding $250 million. As is often the case with PMC issues the government shares the blame for the problem. The report noted:

Although the 10 DOD contractors reviewed have policies and training requirements in place to comply with the intent of Equal Employment Opportunity laws regarding sexual harassment, the contractors did not establish similar policies and training requirements for sexual assault awareness, prevention, and reporting for DOD contractor employees. This occurred because the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics [USD(AT&L)] did not establish requirements in DOD contracts to ensure:

• contractors are made aware of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) definition of sexual assault; and • contractor employees report sexual assault complaints to Military law enforcement during contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness [USD(P&R)]: • established sexual assault prevention, reporting, and response policies that excluded DOD contractors; and • did not ensure that combatant commanders established minimum pre-deployment training requirements to include sexual assault prevention and response training for contractors who accompany U.S. Armed Forces in contingency operations.

As a result, contractor employees who were alleged victims or witnesses may not have known how to report sexual assault crimes to the appropriate Military law enforcement officials while in Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF) areas of operation. Additionally, DOD contractors, a supporting component of the DOD total force, may have been unaware of the severity of sexual assault as a criminal offense under the UCMJ, thereby increasing the risk of sexual assault occurrences that threaten contractor productivity in support of DOD contingency operations.

In terms of policies the report found:

We determined that KBR and Parsons were the only two contractors that developed company policies for their employees that addressed sexual assault prevention and response, but that the KBR and Parsons policies were limited. The KBR sexual assault policy, issued in October 2007, applied to only KBR employees who supported the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) and excluded KBR employees performing work on other contracts supporting contingency operations; provided a definition of sexual assault that considered any nonconsensual sexual act or contact to be sexual assault; and established reporting procedures for its LOGCAP employees to report sexual assault crimes internally to KBR human resources representatives, employee relations representatives, its ethics hotline, or legal counsel, and did not mention local law enforcement. Parsons' workplace violence policy prohibited physical assault, which included sexual assault; however, the Parsons' policy was inadequate because it did not provide the defining elements of sexual assault. Additionally, the Parsons' policy provided internal company reporting procedures for its employees to contact Parsons supervisors, security, and emergency hotline, and did not mention local law enforcement.

In terms of training the report found:

RMS and Fluor were the only two DOD contractors that developed and implemented sexual assault prevention and response training that classified sexual assault as a crime characterized by nonconsensual and threatening physical contact causing bodily harm, including rape. The RMS training module, implemented in June 2007, was the only sexual assault training that appropriately instructed employees to report sexual assault crimes to law enforcement authorities as well as to internal company management, human resources managers, and the RMS ethics hotline. However, the Fluor sexual assault prevention and response training, implemented in June 2009, inappropriately instructed employees to report sexual assault crimes internally to Fluor supervisors and managers.

The IG report recommends that the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics develop contractual requirements to ensure that DOD contractors are aware of the DOD definition of sexual assault and require contractors to report sexual assaults to Military law enforcement.

Of course, there are many private military contractors working for places other than the Defense Department. One can't fault the IG report for that; it can only address its own department. But one hopes that someone in government will ensure the recommendations apply government wide and not just to Pentagon contractors.

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