Some of the apparently indispensable projects include a environmental public murals in Hebron and Jericho along with similarly themed summer camps and field trips for Palestinian children, alternative energy outings to Turkey, and assistance to mango growers and hotel operators in Pakistan.
The U.S. Agency for International Development said in a public notice that “due to the failure of Congress to reach a deal on balanced deficit reduction to avoid sequestration, the president on March 1, 2013, as required by law, issued a sequestration order canceling approximately $85 billion in budgetary resources across the federal government for the remainder of the federal fiscal year.”
USAID recently advised vendors that the agency “is taking every step to mitigate the effects of these cuts, but … it is likely that your company’s workforce, revenue, and planning processes may be affected.”
But that is not stopping USAID from reaching out to contractors to carry out its new $700 million global “ecological-governance” program.
The primary goal of the agency’s Restoring the Environment through Prosperity, Livelihoods and Conserving Ecosystems, or REPLACE, program is to strengthen the ability of governments and non-governmental organizations around the globe to provide climate-change mitigation and adaptation, seascape and landscape management, and other environmental and economic interventions.
Numerous other federal entities issued similar warnings via the FedBizOpps contractor database.
Despite the advisories, new projects continue to emerge while existing programs undergo expansion, from the seemingly inconsequential – such as a $79,000 U.S. Trade & Development Agency grant to send U.S. railway representatives on an exploratory mission to India – to initiatives on a multi-billion-dollar scale.
Most notable is the Department of Defense’s extended outsourcing of global counter-narcotics functions through its Counter Narco-Terrorism Program Office, or CNTPO, a potential $15 billion contract vehicle that has enriched – and will continue to enrich – Blackwater Lodge & Training Center Inc.; Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems; ARINC Engineering Services LLC; Raytheon Technical Service Company; and Northrop Grumman/TASC Inc.
The report "DoD Prepares Follow-Up to $15 Billion Global Counterdrug Contracts" continues to be one of the Monitor's most regulalry visited articles, generating consistent visits and Google search hits nearly twenty months later.
The following list of federal procurement actions represents an additional snapshot of recent contracts, requests for proposals and other solicitations, both large and small. This nation-by-nation compilation is by no means comprehensive but is designed to enlighten U.S. taxpayers about how the federal government is spending – or intends to spend – their money.
The creation of environmental-themed public murals, conducting student field-trips to “environmentally important sites” in Hebron and Jericho and holding environmental summer camps for Palestinian children are among programs that the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service intends to fund. And the USFS is procuring the services of the Palestinian Association for Child Arts and Culture to carry out these tasks for youth in the city of Hebron. The agency did not disclose the estimated cost.
Helping the Palestinian Authority to “build more effective and competent public institutions that are accountable to the public and respond to citizens’ needs” will cost $20.5 million under a contract that USAID awarded to Development Alternatives Inc.
U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor founder Steve Peacock initially broke the story on the project’s unveiling last April for WND.com.
Current efforts to improve the competitiveness of small- and medium businesses in Pakistan have been extended another 20 months, now that USAID has raised Chemonics International’s contract ceiling to $93 million. The current contract for the Pakistan Firms Project was slated to end April 15, but with a $2.5 million increase, Chemonics will continue to provide technology upgrades, skill development and other assistance to hotels, mango growers, knitted-garment manufacturers and other Pakistani enterprises through December 31, 2014.
Alternative-energy industry representatives are getting free hotel rooms and airfare to Turkey to explore ways to capitalize on the nation’s energy boom. The U.S. Trade & Development Agency is offering a $537,000 grant to carry out the Smart Grid Upgrades to the Teias Electricity Transmission Network Feasibility Study. According to the agency, “Turkey is facing a rapidly rising demand in the midst of its bustling economic growth. The Turkish government is consequently making a concentrated effort to explore alternative sources of energy, such as wind, hydro and geothermal power as a way of meeting this shortfall.”
Consequently, the Obama administration has decided that U.S. taxpayers should shoulder the burden of that trip to Ankara.
Under its Adult Education and Immigrant Integration project, the U.S. Department of Education awarded a $1.3 million contract to World Education Inc. of Boston to design an initiative to “reduce linguistic, academic, and employment barriers for skilled and low-skilled immigrants and refugees, and to integrate them into the U.S. workforce and professions.”
A similar version of this article first appeared via WND.com on March 18, 2013. Under agreement with WND, rights have reverted back to the author, Steve Peacock.