Air Force suspends three firms for bad, unfinished work

The IT companies are accused of walking off the job, doing shoddy work and not helping their customer fix the problems.

Air Force officials have suspended three IT companies after they left their work unfinished on two buildings at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and have been unwilling to provide information on source-code data so officials can fix their work, according to a government document.

The suspended companies are Advanced C4 Solutions, Inc., a Florida-based company, which was the prime contractor, and two subcontractors, Superior Communications Solutions Inc., based on Georgia, and Iron Bow Technologies, based in Virginia.

Air Force officials are also considering debarring the companies from doing business with the government any longer, according to the Air Force report from Oct. 24 on the proposed debarments. The three companies have been listed on the Excluded Parties List System since then.

None of the companies returned calls and emails today for comment. Representatives from Iron Bow Technologies have said they are working to resolve the problems.

The suspensions, and possible debarments, stem largely from unfinished work.

In June 2010, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Systems Center Atlantic awarded Advanced C4 Solutions with a multi-million dollar task order associated with a major IT and furnishing project for the Jones and Smart Buildings, which are at Andrews, according the document.

Advanced C4 Solutions, and the two subcontractors, were supposed to provide mission-critical IT to more than 2,200 personnel within the first two months after the buildings reopened. They failed to meet the requirements of the task order, according to the Air Force. The IT that was installed didn’t work well.

During a review, an unaffiliated contractor discovered 14 critical findings, 19 major findings and seven minor findings that affected the overall security and the access to the technology systems.

There were also more than 145 customer-generated trouble tickets, identifying incorrectly configured network equipment, bad installation work, and a disregard for regulations on critical network security and information protection, the Air Force said.

Despite all of that, the companies stopped their work and left the job site without finishing the job. Since then, they have been unwilling to provide operational manuals or source-code data, so Air Force officials can begin to fix the work. For example, the audio-visual and teleconference systems are not working because of the IT installation work isn’t done, the Air Force said.

There was also a conflict of interest among the companies. Executives from the three companies assisted in developing requirements and cost estimates for the project. They participated in conducting market research. The law doesn’t allow that, the document states.

“Even though [the companies] improperly developed their own contract requirements, the subjects failed to meet their own requirements,” the document states.

In all, it's caused substantial harm to the Air Force, according to the document.

“This failure provides a basis for each of their debarments,” Steven Shaw, deputy general counsel at the Air Force, wrote in the document.

Even more so, these companies have histories of failing to do their work, and their performance on other contracts has not been good. Shaw wrote that it’s more evidence for possible debarments.

An Air Force spokesman today said this is a pending administrative action and therefore limited in providing further details.

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