With Congress on the verge of approving an $87-billion emergency supplemental spending bill for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq, a new Defense Dept. unit to oversee construction contracts there is gearing up to accelerate the bid process for the rebuilding effort.


Retired Admiral David Nash, former head of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, will head the new office from Baghdad, supported by staff in Washington, D.C. “My job is to make sure the supplemental money is appropriately contracted for,” Nash said from Washington in an Oct. 29 interview with ENR.

Nash and his staff in the Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Office are finalizing details of an expedited procurement process so that more than 20 potential contracts will be “ready to execute” as soon as the funds from the supplemental spending bill become available.

Nash also plans two "industry days" in November--one meeting will be in Washington, D.C., and the other in London–-to get the word out to potential bidders about the scope of work. The meetings were expected to be in mid-November, but Nash hadn't set a specific date as of Oct. 29.

House and Senate negotiators approved the spending plan on Oct. 29, including about $13 billion for actual reconstruction work. The full House was expected to vote on the bill late on Oct. 30 with Senate action to follow soon after that. President Bush is expected to sign the legislation.