Members Request Investigation of Multibillion Dollar Pentagon Contract

August 5, 2020 by Reece Nations
The number of known military installations with water sources contaminated by cancer-linked firefighting foam is likely to rise, Pentagon officials said Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (Dreamstime/TNS)

WASHINGTON – Two members of Congress have penned letters requesting a probe into the Pentagon’s decision to grant a multibillion dollar moving contract to American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier Group Inc.

The three-year, $7.2 billion contract would privately outsource the management of service members’ household goods, according to Marine Corps Times. If all options on the contract are exercised, the contract could be worth as much as $20 billion over nine years.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., submitted letters questioning the Pentagon’s decisions to Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord, and the House Armed Services Committee, respectively.

The initial contract was originally awarded to ARC April 30. However, two companies who lost their bids for the contract filed complaints with the Government Accountability Office in May.

The companies’ protests centered around ARC’s failure to disclose its Norwegian parent company with a criminal history and the fact that the bid’s price tag was $2 billion higher than other qualified proposals. ARC is the American subsidiary of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Group, whose other subsidiaries pleaded guilty to price-fixing in the U.S. and “criminal cartel conduct” in Australia.

“Failure to accurately disclose corporate ownership or criminal history on the official U.S. government websites should automatically render a bidder as ineligible for the award,” the text of McKinley’s letter read. “Further, trusting a company with a checkered history to handle the valuables of our service men and women is irresponsible. Considering the significance of this contract to our national security, an independent investigation is imperative.”

DoD officials reconsidered the department’s decision at first, but eventually re-awarded the contract to ARC after a review by the U.S. Transportation Command determined a clerical error was the reason for misidentifying the group’s parent company.

TRANSCOM concluded ARC mistakenly designated sibling-company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, instead of Wallenius Wilhelmsen ASA, as its parent company in its filings.

“The Department of Justice confirmed ARC and its parent company, Wallenius Wilhelmsen ASA, were not part of the 2016 conviction for Sherman Anti-Trust violations,” TRANSCOM said in a statement. “A separate company with a similar name, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS, was convicted.”

TRANSCOM’s ruling failed to account for the discrepancy between the cost of ARC’s contract and competing bids from other companies, Tillis’ letter noted. Additionally, Tillis contended that the contract lacked any “consideration for broader improvements to the household moving system.”

Further, Tillis asserted in his letter, ARC has no prior experience or streams of revenue in the military moving market. As a result of the move to re-award the contract to ARC, a 30-day deadline for justification from TRANSCOM to the GAO has been triggered.

HomeSafe CEO Al Thompson said in a statement, “We are confident GAO will agree that errors have been made on a major contract that touches every member of the armed forces and their families.” 

Congress

Social Media Executives Advocate Against More Government Regulation
Social Media
Social Media Executives Advocate Against More Government Regulation
October 29, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The chief executive officers of the world’s largest social media companies assured a skeptical U.S. Senate committee Wednesday they try to remain neutral in deciding which Internet content they block. They also advocated against government regulation that could interfere with free speech on the... Read More

Counties Outline Priorities While Awaiting Infrastructure Bill
County News
Counties Outline Priorities While Awaiting Infrastructure Bill
October 27, 2020
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — Americans rely on public infrastructure like buildings, roads, bridges, and power supply lines every day. Some of the groundworks needed to operate society are handled by the federal government, some maintained by states, and a large portion owned and operated by the nation’s 3,141... Read More

Pelosi, White House Say Each 'Moving the Goalposts' on Stimulus
Economy
Pelosi, White House Say Each 'Moving the Goalposts' on Stimulus

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the chamber could pass a pandemic relief plan this week, though a deal with the White House remains elusive and the Republican-led Senate might not act before the Nov. 3 U.S. election. Pelosi and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows accused each other of "moving the goalposts" on stimulus legislation in back-to-back... Read More

Murphy and Waltz Request Briefing from FBI Over Election Interference
2020 Elections
Murphy and Waltz Request Briefing from FBI Over Election Interference
October 23, 2020
by Sara Wilkerson

Yesterday, Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla., sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe and Attorney General Bill Barr requesting an official briefing on Russian and Iranian interference in the 2020 election. The request... Read More

Bipartisan Policy Center Hosts MOCs on Rural Broadband, Telehealth Discussion
Congress
Bipartisan Policy Center Hosts MOCs on Rural Broadband, Telehealth Discussion
October 23, 2020
by Sara Wilkerson

This week, the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank based in Washington, D.C, hosted Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. and Dave Joyce, R-Ohio,  for a discussion of rural broadband access in connection with telehealth and education. The discussion was part of the American Congressional Exchange Program from... Read More

Coronavirus Relief Package Might Not Get Done Before Election Day, Pelosi Suggests
Congress
Coronavirus Relief Package Might Not Get Done Before Election Day, Pelosi Suggests

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raised doubts Thursday about getting a coronavirus aid bill passed before the Nov. 3 elections, even if a bipartisan deal is reached in the coming days. While talks continue, she said it would take time to get a comprehensive bill written and reviewed by budget... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top