Part II: DBA Clauses Missing In Action
The first part of this series traced how the lack of adequate insurance coverage impacted families already suffering the deaths or uncertainty surrounding the status of their family members serving in Iraq or Afghanistan as civilian contractors. Part II concentrates on how the appropriate Defense Base Act contract clauses that could have made a difference went "missing in action."
Missing in Action
For those writing and administering contracts, whether or not to include the appropriate Defense Base Act (DBA) clauses requiring insurance protection for civilian contractors is left to individual contracting officers. At best when the appropriate clauses are missing, the contract was mistakenly assumed to be exempt. At worst, the clause was overlooked or never considered.
Department of Defense contracts are generally divided into three types: services, supplies, and construction.
Both "services" and "construction" contracts require DBA clauses. But civilian contractors who provide "supplies" on or near the battlefield are generally exempt from carrying DBA insurance. However, in some instances, contractors who provide supplies where the contract requires work on site -- known as "service incidental to supply" -- are not exempt. 1
Current language within Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 2 is ambiguous and may appear to waive the requirement of DBA coverage by creating grey zones for service incidental to supply. These grey zones leave each contingency contracting officer to interpret FAR to the best of his or her ability and to determine when and where they should include DBA clauses.
The Defense Base Act clause is a mandatory clause that must be included in appropriately designated contracts awarded by any federal agency for overseas performance. It should be included in the "check list " provided to government contracting officers with responsibility for soliciting and awarding contingency (and any other) type of contracts for overseas performance. -- Alan Chvotkin of the Professional Services Council 3
One can argue that the work of Ultra Services and its employees, Kirk von Ackermann and Ryan Manelick, may have fallen outside of "service incidental to supply." That is, the contracts they worked under were exempt from DBA because they supplied US forces with prefabricated Containerized Housing Units (CHUs) and their work was not sufficient to warrant DBA coverage.
FAR 28.310SB2 Contract clause for work on a Government installation.
For more information on FARS, please see the endnote section.
The administration's own numbers illustrate how dramatically the warrior is becoming privatized.
With their increased presence, more civilian contractors, such as Ultra Services' von Ackermann and Manelick, face the possibility of injury, kidnapping and death. Accordingly, the Department of Defense and the Department of Labor have a responsibility to ensure broad implementation and uniform dissemination of DBA contract clauses.
ePluribus Media Contributors: rba, newton snookers, cho, intranets, steven reich, wanderindiana, standingup, roxy