Sunday, September 14, 2014

SAMA Contract for Advisors and Trainers in Iraq

With the newly declared commitment on the part of President Obama to form a coalition to fight the Islamic State there is widespread speculation among the civilian firms providing services and support to the Department of Defense on the possibility of lucrative contracts in Iraq and the Middle East in general. The fight against the Islamic State (also referred to as ISIL and ISIS) will likely last for a number of years. The President has said (in a September 2014 nationwide speech) that the U.S. (and the coalition) will degrade, defeat and destroy the Islamic State. Hmmmm. Degrade maybe. Defeat a slight maybe. Destroy? Very unlikely. At any rate, the fight may go on for years and defense contracts in support of the effort are likely to be forthcoming.

One of the first contracts may be to provide advisory and training services to the Iraq ministries of defense and interior. The use of experienced civilian advisors would lessen the need for military advisors to operate in Baghdad - decreasing the overall number of U.S. military in Iraq.

In fact, the defense department has already sent out a "solicitation" for " . . . interested vendors with the capability of performing Security Assistance Mentors and Advisors (SAMA) services in Iraq."

The contracted firm would provide personnel to support the Government of Iraq (GoI) in ". . . administration, force development, procurement and acquisition, contracting, training management, public affairs, logistics, personnel management, professional development, communications, planning and operations, infrastructure management, intelligence and executive development". The advisors would be working at the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS).

U.S. special operations forces (SOF) previously provided advisors and trainers to the CTS and its subordinate units in the fight against al-Qaida in Iraq but these were significantly reduced towards the end of 2011. In early 2013 the President directed the CIA to provide assistance to the CTS in an effort to fight al-Qaida affiliates backing Islamic militant groups in Syria.

The advising mission will likely be similar to the Security Forces Assistance advisory effort that will be in place during the Resolute Support mission that will start in January 2015 in Afghanistan. The SAMA solicitation (W560MY-14-R-0004) was posted on August 11, 2014 on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website. You can read the solicitation online at this link.

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