Nation Building: The Fine Print

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Air Force 1st Lt. Holly Hess, Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team

Afghan contractors lay fresh asphalt on the main road through Panjshir Province in the eastern part of the country.

Sometimes it tough to understand the scope of what the U.S. and its allies are trying to do in Afghanistan. Then the latest batch of contract solicitations in Federal Business Opportunities rolls in and makes it tough to ignore.

While the federal government was shut down on Monday – Columbus Day, you know – there was a string of Afghan contracting opps published over the three-day weekend. Reading them – and wading through all the attachments, blueprints and schematics included – offers some sense of the task that still remains.

The U.S. has spent more than $70 billion trying to cobble together a functioning state in Afghanistan, outfitting security forces as well as for non-military development efforts. Here are excerpts from the opportunities posted online just this past weekend:

— The United States Government, represented by the U.S. Agency for International Development Mission to Afghanistan (USAID/Afghanistan), intends to develop a list of suitably qualified Contractors with the necessary experience, capabilities and financial resources to provide road operation and maintenance for 83 km of the Salang Highway from Jabal-Seraj to Khenjaan.

— Kajaki Dam — Irrigation Tunnel Works at Helmand Province, Afghanistan: Contractor shall provide Interim and Final Design Services for components of the Irrigation Tunnel Works including intake structure, three emergency closure valves and three flow regulating valves and their ancillary equipment/structures; refurbish the three 84-inch Irrigation Emergency Closure Valves (a.k.a ROTO VALVES), and replace the three 84-inch Flow Regulating Valves (a.k.a HOLLOW JET VALVES); replace valve actuators, and ancillary equipment; install a new electric powered actuator system and controls for the jet valves; replace the hydraulic system for the actuators on the roto valves; design and evaluate the existing electrical systems associated with the controls for the valves; replace the two valve house sump pumps that serve the powerhouse waste system and a third sump that drains the valve pit, provide and install a new Standby Generator for the Irrigation Intake Structure.

— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Transatlantic District- North intends to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) W5J9JE-13-R-0003 for Afghanistan National Army (ANA), 2/1/209th Kandak Shibirghan, Shibirghan District, Jowzjan Province, Afghanistan. This project consists of the construction of remaining required facilities and all associated appurtenances for the 2/1/209st Infantry Kandak of the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) in Shirbirghan District, Jowzjan Province, Afghanistan. The project is defined as providing site-adaption of standard designs, materials, labor, and equipment to construct buildings, parking, utilities and other infrastructure necessary to reach the capacity to support a design population of 650 personnel.

— Construction of Approximately 25KMs of the Gardez to Khost Road: The United States Government, represented by the U.S. Agency for International Development Mission to Afghanistan (USAID/Afghanistan), intends to develop a list of qualified local Afghan Construction Companies with the necessary experience, capabilities and financial resources to perform the construction of the remaining 25KMs of the Gardez to Khost Road in Paktiya Province, Afghanistan.

— Generator Repair / Replacement Services (GRRS), Various Locations, Southern and Western Afghanistan: The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Transatlantic South (TAS) District is publishing this sources sought notice to solicit responses from firms interested in and capable of providing the following services throughout the USACE area of record (AOR) in Southern and Western Afghanistan:

1) Comprehensive generator operability assessment and diagnostics.

2) Complete generator engine overhaul and rebuild.

3) Top-end (only) generator engine overhaul and re-build.

4) New Generator replacement, to include installation of automatic transfer switches and synchronizing panels, as required for full operability of plant.

5) Able to Synchronize new or used generators to existing generators.

Construction of the Utility Infrastructure Upgrade for an Afghan National Army – Regional Military Training Center (RMTC), Camp Shorabak, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan: The project is defined as providing the engineering, material, labor, and equipment to tie the electrical and waste water infrastructure of the RMTC into the Garrison’s utility infrastructure for a design-end population of approximately 3,000 ANA personnel.

— Construction of UP District HQ located in Various locations in Afghanistan: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District (NWK), in conjunction with the Transatlantic Division (TAN), intends to issue a solicitation for Design-Bid-Build Site-Adapt construction services of multiple Austere Border Police Stations located in remote and potentially dangerous locations for various UP District Headquarters located in Afghanistan.

The construction scope includes the design and build of simple protected shelters for the Border Police to include an administration room, barracks, a training room, storage and support buildings, dining facilities, perimeter wall with guard towers, Entry Control Point (ECP) with Guard House, and all utilities and related infrastructure to serve a population of approximately 20 or 60 personnel, varying by location and unit. Interested contractors are challenged to consider logistics such as the use of commercial heavy lift helicopters to transport and assemble quick modular or panelized structures on site. Austere standards will be used, sanitation will rely on outdoor toilets without plumbing, installation of water wells and/or bladders as required for potable water, simple ceiling fans and minimal lighting supported by minimal power requirements.

Like many help-wanted ads, some notices insist contractors seek more information in writing: “No phone calls,” they admonish, “will be accepted.”