Solicitation and Seed Project
The solicitation, originally posted on July 22, 2008, for PSYOP and IO services for MNF-I, contained a seed project designed to be a sample task order that the Government would use to conduct a detailed price evaluation and comparison of proposals. An MNF-I official confirmed that the seed project was exclusively for PA. Specifically, the seed project was based on a statement of work (SOW) for a strategic communications management services contract that MNF-I awarded to the Lincoln Group in 2006. The strategic communications management services contract SOW was provided to JCC-I/A as the seed project for the PSYOP/IO procurement, bringing PSYOP and PA together under one vehicle. A second version of the solicitation, posted on July 28, 2008, added additional PA tasks to the seed project.
In August 2008, PA officials from U.S. Central Command and MNF-I expressed reservations about the use of a PSYOP contract to conduct PA. To alleviate these concerns, the final version of the solicitation, posted on August 21, 2008, broadened the focus of the procurement. Specifically, the title of the solicitation was changed from “Psychological Operations/Information Operations Services” to “media services,” and the language of the SOW was changed to remove nearly all references to PSYOP.
The contracts awarded on September 23, 2008, did not differentiate between the intended audiences for PSYOP and PA. Joint doctrine for PA (Joint Publication 3-61) states that PA can be disseminated to both U.S. and foreign audiences; however, joint doctrine for PSYOP (Joint Publication 3-53) states that PSYOP can only be disseminated to a foreign audience.
The SOW for the multiple-award contracts stated that:
it is essential to the success of the new Iraqi Government and the
Coalition mission that both communicate effectively with our strategic audiences (i.e., Iraqi, pan-Arabic, international, and U.S. audiences) to gain widespread acceptance of their core themes and messages.
Further, the SOW noted that: “The establishment of multiple-award Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contracts will ensure effective communication of GOI [Government of Iraq] and Coalition themes and messages.” The SOW also listed PSYOP doctrine, guidance publications, and Fragmentary Orders as publications governing the media services objectives.
Although the SOW later stated that media products were intended for dissemination to Iraqis; nevertheless, the inclusion of the U.S. as a strategic audience and PSYOP publications as guidance may create the appearance that PSYOP were associated with a U.S. audience. During the audit we did not obtain any evidence that PSYOP were intended for a U.S. audience; however, the contract language did not adequately differentiate the intended audiences for PA and PSYOP.