The ambitious two-month procurement schedule Pentagon officials announced in November to award $18.6 billion in Iraq reconstruction contracts might be a little too ambitious.
For the second time since the final solicitations were slated to be posted on Dec. 5, the Pentagons Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Office announced a delayuntil Dec. 9. On Dec. 10, a notice on the IIRO Web site (www.iraq-rebuilding.net), said there was another "temporary delay" in issuing the formal requests for proposals for 26 contracts. "Additional information will be provided as soon as possible," the notice stated, but gave no indication of a new posting date. A Defense Dept. spokesman said the RFPs would be issued "as soon as possible," but that it might not be until next week.
Additionally, the IIRO said that the pre-proposal conference scheduled for Dec. 11 has been changed to Dec. 19. The conference location and time is to be provided "not later" than Dec. 12.
It is unclear if the delays will push back the previously announced Feb. 1 deadline for awarding the contracts.
On Dec. 9 the Pentagon published a Dec. 5 policy statement that said only firms from U.S. coalition partners or "force contributing nations" could compete for the prime contracts. Contractors from 63 countries can compete for the awards, but firms from Germany, France and Russia are excluded. There are no restrictions on which firms can bid from thousands of expected subcontracts.
U.S. allies who opposed the war in Iraq and are now excluded from reconstruction contracts were sharply critical of the decision. The European Union said it would study whether global trade rules had been violated, Canada threatened to stop sending aid to Baghdad, and Russia indicated it might not hekp restructure Iraq's debt. the Associated Press reported.