Former Halliburton executive tied to poor treatment of injured vets
5 March 2007
WASHINGTON, March 5 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- A private military contractor headed by a former senior Halliburton executive is providing poor and decrepit hospital conditions for injured war veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a congressional committee has found. ###
In a previously undisclosed memo provided to the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, a garrison commander at the Walter Reed facility criticized the military's outsourcing of patient care to Florida-based IAP Worldwide Services, headed by former Halliburton executive Al Neffgen.
The commander said the army's decision to outsource Walter Reed's patient care services to Neffgen's company has caused an exodus of "highly skilled and experienced personnel." The memo concluded that "patient care services are at risk of mission failure."
The management of Walter Reed has recently come under intense congressional scrutiny because a Washington Post investigation found poor conditions and neglect at the 98-year old hospital most notorious for its medical treatment of American war veterans.
Neffgen was previously employed as the chief operating officer for KBR Government Operations, a subsidiary of Halliburton that handles the company's military contracts in Iraq. "We have performed, and performed well, for our soldiers and our country," he told a congressional committee investigating Halliburton's oil price rip-offs in 2004. "While we have undoubtedly made some mistakes, we are confident that KBR has delivered and accomplished its mission at a fair and reasonable cost," he said.
Neffgen was a senior executive with Halliburton when it was serving contaminated food at military dining halls and providing the troops in Iraq with bathing water soiled with human fecal matter. Nevertheless, in January 2006, the army gave Neffgen's company a $120 million "cost-plus" contract for support services and facilities management at Walter Reed hospital.
After the award of the contract to Neffgen's company, the number of federal employees involved in support services at Walter Reed dropped from 300 to 60. But Neffgen eventually replaced those 60 workers with 50 IAP Worldwide workers.
In a letter to Walter Reed officials, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) said, "It would be reprehensible if the deplorable conditions were caused or aggravated by an ideological commitment to privatize government services regardless of the costs to taxpayers and the consequences for wounded soldiers." He said qualified federal technicians and support personnel "were departing Walter Reed at an alarming rate, taking early retirement, or leaving for positions elsewhere in anticipation of losing their jobs to the private contractor." Waxman based this conclusion on "an internal memo obtained by top Walter Reed officials." As the number of personnel was declining, the workload for the hospital was increasing because of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Waxman concluded that, "It appears that one of the factors that may have caused or contributed to the abysmal conditions at Walter Reed was the push to outsource base support services to [Neffgen's company] IAP."
UPDATE: IAP WorldWide employees who previously worked for Halliburton are David Roh, director of IAP's global strategy, previously Director of KBR's Operations for supporting the provision of engineering and logistics services to U.S. forces deployed overseas; David B. Warhol, IAP Vice President of Human Resources, previously Halliburton's Director for Americas Region Staffing and Resource Development; Craig Peterson, IAP's Senior Vice President for Major Programs (including bidding for LogCap work), formerly Vice President of KBR's Contingency and Homeland Operations; and David Swindle, IAP president, previously vice president of business acquisition and national security programs for KBR.
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