According to a recent Washington Post news report, KBR and Halliburton required its contract employees in Iraq and Afghanistan to not report fraud or waste. They required contract employees to sign confidentiality agreements. To any veteran of the two wars, that requirement is offensive. We received many of our support services from KBR (owned by Halliburton at the time). As the report mentions, such confidentiality agreements violate the Federal False Claims Act, which require persons to report allegation of fraud, waste and abuse. See Washington Post report.
KBR responds that the confidentiality agreements are not intended to cover up waste, but to ensure the integrity of the internal review process. Many false claims are filed and KBR has a system in place to ensure only credible claims are forwarded to the authorities. … I am so sure. Those of us who had to endure slipshod wiring, showers that could electrocute the users, those few little electrical fires, are not so sure. Halliburton formerly owned KBR during the two wars.
I always had my doubts about contracting out essential Army services, such as wiring, and washing clothes, serving food, etc. To this day, I am amazed that the Army accepted a major change to an ancient practice: no pot of coffee available in the mess hall (at least during the winter months) anytime of the day. KBR dining facilities did not honor this ancient practice. Is nothing sacred?
The profit motive can sometimes overtake quality, safe services. Yes, there was at least one case of a soldier dying from electrocution during his shower. In my own unit in Iraq, our First Sergeant had to trade something, I forget what, to get a generator that worked. Without a working generator, we would not have had any electricity. The False Claims Act was passed in response to rampant fraud by contractors during the Civil War. Apparently, we have learned little since then regarding how the profit motive can affect the quality of services for our folks in uniform.