Prospects are improving for firms angling for U.S. government funded Iraq reconstruction work. On Jan. 12, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers selected 10 contractor teams to compete for forthcoming U.S. Central Command task orders that could total $10 billion over the next five years.

The Corps also expects to award by Jan. 17 two fllow-on contracts for Iraqi oil-sector infrastructure repair. The contracts, designed to replace an existing agreement with Houston-based Halliburton KBR, are expected to be worth approximately $2 billion, according to a Corps spokesperson.

President George W. Bush also indicated a change in direction. At a trade summit breakfast meeting Jan. 13 with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, Bush said Canada would be welcome to bid on a $6-billion work package expected to be issued within six months. The request for proposals will be for "non-major construction contracts," a Pentagon spokesman said later.

CENTCOM reaches from the Horn of Africa to Central Asia. Recent task orders have included electrical repair work in Iraq and military construction in Afghanistan. The military wants to have "as much flexibility as possible with these [indefinite quantity/indefinite delivery] contracts," says a spokesperson. Task orders are expected to be defined and competed by March or April. Work in Iraq will be administered from the Corps’ new Mideast Division.


"We’ve completed $344 million worth of work on our current contract, most of it in electrical work in central Iraq," says Jack Herrman, spokesman for Washington Group International. The contractor added Kansas City-based Black & Veatch to its team "because of their design capability in water and wastewater and to increase our construction management capacity," Herrman adds.

On Jan. 7, the Defense Dept. issued requests for proposals for some $5 billion worth of Iraqi reconstruction jobs. They will be administered through the Coalition Provisional Authority and Program Management Office in Baghdad. PMO will issue one comprehensive contract that will coordinate with CPA and the provisional Iraq government.

The next tier will consist of six sector contracts. Ten design-build contracts within the electrical, water-wastewater, security, transportation-communication and building-housing and health sectors comprise the third tier. Tasks are organized to mesh with Iraqi ministries and are divided by geography and sector.