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Sié Chéou-Kang CenterPrivate Security Monitor

Guarding a water station.

U.S. Government Research & Oversight

USAID Office of Inspector General

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. To carry out its mission, USAID often operates in countries recovering from conflicts or disasters, and contracts with other U.S. agencies, international organizations, and the private sector to provide assistance and aid. These entities, called "implementing partners" by the USAID, often procure security services from private companies to assist with operations in complex environments. Thus, USAID does not usually maintain any direct contracts with PMSCs, and implementing partners have primary oversight responsibilities for their security providers. Nevertheless, in managing its contracts and grant agreements, USAID has some degree of oversight and authority over private security activities. 

Because most of USAID's development programs are implemented by external actors, one of the most important forms of oversight occurs after security services have been rendered. This is done through surveys, audits, and reviews conducted by the USAID Office of Inspector General (USAID OIG). It is the responsibility of the USAID OIG to detect and prevent fraud and violations of law and to promote efficiency and effectiveness in USAID operations. While the USAID OIG staff conducts performance audits, it contracts with the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) to conduct financial audits of USAID activities implemented by U.S. contractors.

In addition to publishing its audit and investigatory findings, the USAID OIG also testifies before Congress about its work.

Surveys, Audits, and Reviews

Audit of USAID’s Compliance with Federal Regulations in Awarding the Contract to Kroll Security Services Inc. (A-267-05-005-P

Author: USAID OIG
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This audit was to determine whether USAID complied with federal regulations in awarding a contract for security services in Iraq.  The audit found that USAID:  (1) did not adequately document the use of less than full and open competition or explain its contractor choice, (2) obtained security services using a letter contract that did not meet Federal Acquisition Regulation requirements, (3) incurred multiple potential funds control violations, and (4) purchased armored vehicles that did not meet U.S. Government armoring standards. 

Survey of Security Incidents Reported by Private Security Contractors of USAID/Iraq’s Contractors and Grantees (E-267-11-001-S)

Author: USAID OIG
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The purpose of this survey was (1) to determine the number of serious security incidents involving private security contractors that occurred between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2009, and (2) to follow up on the effectiveness of the USAID mission’s and implementing partners’ actions in implementing March 2009 audit report recommendations.  The survey found that USAID/Iraq’s implementing partners did not establish procedures to monitor reporting of serious security incidents and did not consistently report incidents as required by the prior audit recommendations.

Audit of USAID/Afghanistan’s Oversight of Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan (5-306-10-009-P)

Author: USAID OIG
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This audit was conducted to determine: (1) what types of serious security incidents have been reported by private security firms contracted with USAID/Afghanistan’s implementing partners; (2) whether USAID/Afghanistan ensured that its implementing partners subcontracted with responsible private security firms; and (3) how much has been spent by USAID/Afghanistan’s implementing partners for private security services.

Survey of USAID/Iraq‘s Awards and Subawards

Author: USAID OIG
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This survey of USAID's portfolio of contracts in Iraq provides a programmatic and company based breakdown of all USAID awards. The survey includes the amount spent on subcontractors for tasks such as security. 

Comprehensive Oversight Plan for Southwest Asia - FY 2015

Author: USAID
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This is a joint report from the Department of Defense, the Department of State, USAID, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, and the Army, Navy, and Air Force Audit Agencies.  The audit also includes oversight efforts by the US Government Accountability Office related to Southwest Asia.  Section I contains the FY 2015 Joint Strategic Oversight plan for Afghanistan and related projects.  Projects include capacity building, administration of reconstruction contracts, and property management.  Section II details projects outside of Southwest Asia.

Joint Strategic Oversight Plan for Afghanistan Reconstruction FY 2013

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A joint product of Department of Defense, Department of State, USAID and the Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction, this report defines a 13 point plan for the future of reconstruction in Afghanistan. Of note is Issue 13, which discusses the plans for improving contractor oversight and efficiency in Afghanistan. The report also briefly discusses the contractors overseeing the Afghan police and military training. 

Review of USAID/Iraq’s Contractors Compliance With the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (E-267-11-002-S)

Author: USAID OIG
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This review assessed whether (1) USAID/Iraq and its contractors have established sufficient controls to prevent trafficking in persons and (2) USAID/Iraq’s contractors and subcontractors engaged in trafficking-in-persons practices.  The review focused on USAID/Iraq’s two support contracts that employed low-skilled, low-wage third-country nationals to provide food service, housekeeping, and maintenance, and there was no indication that those contractors engaged in trafficking. 

Review of Security Costs Charged to USAID Projects in Afghanistan (5-306-10-002-S)

Author: USAID OIG
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The objective of this review was to determine whether there has been any indication that Edinburgh International misused USAID funds to pay the Taliban or others in exchange for protection. The review covered the period from January 1 to December 31, 2009. The review found no indication that Edinburgh International had misused USAID funds to pay the Taliban or others in exchange for protection. However, there were indications that Afghan subcontractors working on the project had paid insurgents for protection in remote and insecure areas of Afghanistan. The payments were allegedly made as part of a security arrangement with local communities that very likely included the Taliban or groups that support them. 

Survey of USAID/Iraq’s Awards and Subawards (E-267-12-001-S)

Author: USAID OIG
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USAID OIG conducted this survey to compile data on USAID/Iraq’s prime awards and subcontracts and determine whether implementers complied with audit requirements for their subcontractors. The report did not include any recommendations but did show that contracts outnumbered cooperative agreements and democracy and governance programs predominated.

Comprehensive Oversight Plan for Southwest Asia - FY 2014

Author: USAID
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This is a joint report issued by the Department of Defense, Department of State, USAID, Army, Navy and Air Force Audit Agencies, as well as the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).  Section I contains the Joint Strategic Oversight Plan for Afghanistan with objectives and goals for oversight of reconstruction and "other than reconstruction" programs.  Detailed programs include building capacity of Afghan National Security Forces, building governance capacity, and administration of reconstruction contracts.  Section II concerns projects in Southwest Asia outside of Afghanistan.

Audit of USAID/Iraq’s Oversight of Private Security Contractors in Iraq (E-267-09-002-P)

Author: USAID OIG
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This audit was conducted to determine whether USAID/Iraq had managed its contracts and grant agreements with implementing partners to ensure that the partners provided adequate oversight over their private security contractors. The audit found that USAID’s implementing partners were not adequately overseeing the private security contractors’ reporting of serious incidents to ensure that such incidents were reported properly. 

Audit of Internal Controls over USAID Relief Commodities at the Port of Freetown in Sierra Leone (7-636-00-008-P)

Author: USAID OIG
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Thus audit of the internal controls over USAID relief commodities at the Freetown port in Sierra Leone revealed that inadequate controls led to significant losses from one shipment, and prompted the USAID OIG to recommending implementing the use of private security personnel contracted by the cooperating sponsors to escort/guard the discharge of U.S. Government relief commodities from the ship to the cooperating sponsors’ warehouses.