No (Safe) Room at the Inn

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Just like Wednesday’s post featuring nervous questions from companies seeking to bid on a contract to fly Afghan troops around their country, here’s one posted the same day by the Defense Logistics Agency. It’s seeking housing for four “contracting officer representatives” – CORs — in Kabul and Helmand for six months until a new contract begins.

That works out to $5,600 a month per head – nearly $200 a night — for a nation the U.S has been trying to fix for more than a decade. You’d think these folks would be able to stay in hotels for far less…but you would be wrong, according to the Army.

Here’s some of DLA’s justification for the expense:

The Supreme Food Service facilities in Kabul and Helmand Regional Distribution Center are the assigned Official Duty Stations of the CORs and are the only facilities in Afghanistan able to provide the required life support, while mitigating risk to U.S. personnel. Due to CENTCOM Force Protection requirements for road travel, it is not feasible for employees to be housed at a neighboring U.S. military facility with Bagram Air Force Base being approximately 35 miles away from Kabul and Camp Leatherneck, while only approximately 5 miles distance from Helmand Regional Distribution Center, is in a continuously volatile area.

The CORs would be required to drive with escorted government vehicle from the military facility to Kabul or Helmand Regional Distribution Center and return seven days a week…

It is not practical to house the COR’s at a local civilian hotel in Kabul or Helmand Province, as they would still require a daily military escort to and from their duty assignment due to CENTCOM Force Protections for Road Travel. Hotels in these areas have also historically been targets for terrorist attacks which would put the CORs in additional and unnecessary danger…

The requirement of Life Support for the CORs assigned to the Supreme Food Service Contract include but are not limited to Housing – a fully equipped single room with air conditioning and heating, Refrigerator, Desk, Chair, Bed, Mattress, Wall Locker, Internet Access, Television and DVD Player and a private bathroom along with linens, towels and blankets. Subsistence- three meals per day and bottled water at all times, Workspace and all required supplies, communication devices, weekly laundry services, a recreation area and two secure parking spaces.