- KBR (company)
Infobox_Company | company_name = KBR, Inc. | company_type = Public | company_| foundation = 1998 | key_people =
Bill Utt Jerry L. Winchester
| location =
Houston, Texas| industry = Engineering Construction Private military contractor
| num_employees = 50,000
homepage = [http://www.kbr.com/ http://www.kbr.com/]
KBR, Inc. (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root) nyse|KBR is an American engineering and construction company, formerly a subsidiary of
Halliburton, based in Houston. After Halliburton acquired Dresser Industriesin 1998, Dresser's engineering subsidiary, The M. W. Kellogg Co., was merged with Halliburton's construction subsidiary, Brown & Root, to form Kellogg Brown & Root. KBR and its predecessors have won many contracts with the U.S. militaryduring the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as well as during World War IIand the Vietnam War.
KBR is the largest non-union construction company in the United States. [ [http://uoig.uoregon.edu/research/reports/2007-2008/Fall/20071005-HAL.pdf] uoig.uoregon.edu/research/reports/2007-2008/Fall/20071005-HAL.pdf "
UNIVERSITY OF OREGON INVESTMENT GROUP", February 22, 2008.]
April 15, 2006, Halliburton filed a registration statement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commissionto sell up to 20 percent of its KBR stock on the New York Stock Exchange(NYSE). On November 16, 2006, KBR shares were offered for the public in an Initial Public Offeringwith shares priced at $17. The shares closed on the first day up more than 22 percent to $20.75 a share. [ [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aiiAdkFc6I9U&refer=home Bloomberg.com: Worldwide ] ] Halliburton announced on April 5 2007that it had finally broken ties with KBR, which has been its contracting, engineering and construction unit as a part of the company for 44 years. [Clanton, Brett. " [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/4692561.html KBR is officially out on its own.] " " Houston Chronicle", April 5, 2007.]
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In 1901 Morris Kellogg founded The M. W. Kellogg Company in
New York City. The company was incorporated in 1905 and its headquarters was moved to Jersey City, New Jersey. Initially Kellogg’s main business was power plant construction and fabrication of power plant components, but the development of hammer forge weldingtechniques helped ready the company to move into refining as the petroleum industry developed.
Kellogg’s entry into process engineering initially focused on the Fleming cracking process, but in the 1920s Kellogg partnered with The Texas Company (
Texaco) and Standard Oil of Indianato purchase the Cross thermal crackingprocess. Kellogg set up one of the first petroleum laboratories in the country in 1926 to commercialize and then license the technology. This led to Kellogg building some 130 units in the US and abroad.
In the 1930s and '40s Kellogg worked with leading refiners on various technologies. For the war effort, these developments led to the construction of six hydroreformer units twenty
fluid catalytic crackingunits and the only complete refinerybuilt during World War II. Even bigger than the refining work was the gaseous diffusionplant at Oak Ridge, Tennesseebuilt as part of the Manhattan project. This period also included the development of the Benedict-Webb-Rubin(BWR) equation of state which has since become an industry mainstay and provided the basis for Kellogg’s lead in cryogenics.
The 1950s Kellogg technology expanded into steam
pyrolysis, Orthoflow fluid catalytic cracking, phenol-from- cumeneand coal-to-synthetic fuels technologies and the '60s saw the growth in heliumrecovery, ethyleneand the development of Kellogg’s ammoniaprocess.
In 1970 Kellogg moved from
New York Cityto Houston, Texasand in 1975, they completed the move by relocating the research and development lab as well. The '70s saw Kellogg become the first American contractor to receive contracts from the People’s Republic of China. Kellogg’s international work expanded with the major ammonia complexes in China, Indonesiaand Mexicoas well as LNGliquefaction plant in Algeriaand 2 receiving terminals in the U.S., the world’s largest LPGplant in Kuwaitand four fluid catalytic crackingunits in Mexico. The '80s saw continuation of global activity in LNGand ethylenewith millisecond furnaces starting up in the U.S.
Brown & Root
Brown & Root was founded in
Texasin 1919 by two brothers, George R. Brownand Herman Brown with money from their brother-in-law, Dan Root. The company began its operations by building roads in Texas.
One of its first large-scale projects, according to the book "
Cadillac Desert", was to build a dam on the TexasColorado River near Austin during the Depressionyears. For assistance in federal payments, the company turned to the local Congressman, Lyndon B. Johnson. Brown & Root was the principal source of campaign funds for Johnson's initial run for Congress in 1937 in return for persuading the Bureau of Reclamation to change its rules against paying for a dam on land the federal government did not own, a decision that had to go all the way to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, according to Robert A. Caro's book " The Path to Power". After other very profitable construction projects for the federal government, such as building the Corpus Christi Naval Station, Brown & Root gave massive sums of cash for Johnson's first run for the U.S. Senate in 1941. Brown and Root violated IRSrules over campaign contributions, largely in charging off its donations as deductible company expenses, again according to Robert Caro. A subsequent IRS investigation threatened to bring criminal charges of illegal campaign donations against Brown & Root as well as Johnson and others. It was not quashed until Roosevelt himself told the IRS to back off and allowed Brown and Root to settle for pennies on the dollar.
During World War II, Brown & Root built the
Naval Air Station Corpus Christiand its subsidiary Brown Shipbuildingproduced a series of warshipsfor the U.S. Government.
In 1947, Brown & Root built one of the world's first offshore
Tracy Kidder's Pulitzer Prize-winning book " Mountains Beyond Mountains", Brown & Root was a contractor in the Péligre Dam project. The project was designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineersand financed by the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
Following the death of Herman Brown,
Halliburton Energy Servicesacquired Brown & Root in December 1962. According to Dan Briody, who wrote a book on the subject, the company became part of a consortium of four companies that built about 85 percent of the infrastructureneeded by the Army during the Vietnam War. At the height of the anti-warmovement of the 1960s, Brown & Root was derided as "Burn & Loot" by protesters.
The extent of their services included a vast array of logistical operations, historically under the jurisdiction of the military. Such operations included laundry services, meal services (
Burger King, Subway, Papa John's Pizza), entertainment ( Internetand cable access), and recreation (basketball courts and gym equipment).
From 1995-2002, Halliburton KBR has been awarded at least $2.5 billion to construct and run military bases, some in secret locations, as part of the Army's Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (
LOGCAP).cite news|last=Yeoman|first=Barry|title=Soldiers of Good Fortune|publisher=Mother Jones|date= 2003-06-01|url=http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2003/05/ma_365_01.html|accessdate=2007-05-08]
In September 2005, under a competitive bid contract it won in July 2005 to provide debris removal and other emergency work associated with natural disasters, KBR started assessment of the cleanup and reconstruction of Gulf Coast Marine and Navy facilities damaged in the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina. The facilities include: Naval Station Pascagoula, Naval Station Gulfport, the John C. Stennis Space Centerin Mississippi, two smaller U.S. Navy facilities in New Orleans, Louisianaand others in the Gulf Coast region. KBR has had similar contracts for more than 15 years.
May 7, 2008the company announced that it would acquire Birmingham, Alabama-based engineering and construction firm BE&Kfor $550 million. BE&K plans to remain headquartered in Birmingham.cite news|last=Cooper|first=Lauren B.|title=Houston company to buy Birmingham's BE&K|publisher=Birmingham Business Journal|date= 2008-05-07|url=http://www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/stories/2008/05/05/daily21.html|accessdate=2008-05-07]
New headquarters facility
In 2008 the firm announced that a new headquarters would appear at the intersection of the
Grand Parkwayand Interstate 10in unincorporated Harris County, Texas, between Houston and Katy; this would replace the Clinton Drive facility. [ [http://houston.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2008/04/07/story1.html KBR plans HQ campus - Houston Business Journal: ] ]
In 1996, President
Bill Clintonawarded Brown & Root a contract to support U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) troops as part of the SFORoperation in the Balkanregion. This contract was extended to also include KFOR operations in Kosovostarting in 1999. Camp Bondsteelin Kosovowas constructed by the 94th Engineer Construction Battalion together with the private Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers. KBR is also the prime contractor for the operation of the camp. The camp is built mainly of wooden, semi permanent SEA (South East Asia) huts and is surrounded by a 2.5 meter high earthen wall. To construct the base two hills were lopped off and the valley between them was filled with the resulting material.
Activities in Afghanistan
KBR was awarded a $100 million contract in 2002 to build a new U.S. embassy in
Kabul, Afghanistan, from the State Department.
KBR has also been awarded 15 Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (
LOGCAP) task orders worth more than $216 million for work under Operation Enduring Freedom, the military name for operations in Afghanistan. These include establishing base camps at Kandaharand Bagram Air Baseand training foreign troops from the Republic of Georgia.
Activities in Iraq
KBR employs more American private contractors and holds a larger contract with the
U.S. governmentthan does any other firm in Iraq. The company's roughly 14,000 U.S. employees in Iraq provide logistical support to the U.S. armed forces. [ [http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/07/04/2284/ "Private contractors outnumber U.S. troops in Iraq"] " Los Angeles Times" 4 July 2007]
The United States Army hired KBR to provide housing for approximately 100,000 soldiers in Iraq in a contract worth $200 million, based on a long-term contract signed in December 2001 under the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (
LOGCAP). Other LOGCAPorders have included a pre-invasion order to repair oil facilities in Iraq; $28.2 million to build POW camps; and $40.8 million to accommodate the Iraqi Survey Group, which was deployed after the invasion to find weapons of mass destruction.
The Army's actions came under fire from
CaliforniaCongressman Henry Waxman, who, along with MichiganCongressman John Dingell, asked the General Accounting Officeto investigate whether the U.S. Agency for International Developmentand The Pentagonwere circumventing government contracting procedures and favoring companies with ties to the Bush administration. They also accused KBR of inflating prices for importing gasoline into Iraq. [http://www.forbes.com/markets/newswire/2003/10/15/rtr1110073.html ] [ [http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov/story.asp?ID=273&Issue=Iraq+Reconstruction Industry Experts Call Halliburton Gasoline Prices "Highway Robbery" :: Committee on Oversight and Government Reform :: United States House of Representatives ] ] In June 2003, the Army announced that it would replace KBR's oil- infrastructurecontract with two public-bid contracts worth a maximum total of $1 billion, to be awarded in October. However, the Army announced in October it would expand the contract ceiling to $2 billion and the solicitation period to December. As of October 16, 2003, KBR had performed nearly $1.6 billion worth of work. In the meantime, KBR has subcontracted with two companies to work on the project: Boots & Coots, an oil field emergency response firm that Halliburton works in partnership with (CEO Jerry L. Winchester was a former Halliburton manager) and Wild Well Control. Both firms are based in Texas. [ [http://www.halliburton.com/news/archive/2003/kbrnws_032403.jsp 2003 Press Releases ] ]
KBR's maintenance work in Iraq has been criticized after reports of soldiers electrocuted from faulty wiring. [cite news |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/world/middleeast/04electrocute.html?hp|title=Despite Alert, Flawed Wiring Still Kills G.I.’s|work=
New York Times|accessdate=2008-05-07|date= 2008-05-04] Specifically, KBR has been charged by the Army for improper installation of electrical units in bathrooms throughout US bases. CNN reported that an Army Special Forces soldier, Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth, died by electrocution in his shower stall on January 2, 2008. Army documents showed that KBR inspected the building and found serious electrical problems a full 11 months before his death. KBR noted "several safety issues concerning the improper grounding of electrical devices." But KBR's contract did not cover "fixing potential hazards;" It covered repairing items only after they broke down. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/28/soldier.electrocutions/index.html?iref=newssearch Green Beret electrocuted in shower on Iraq base - CNN.com ] ] Maseth's family has sued KBR. [http://www.standardspeaker.com/articles/2008/08/07/editorial/hz_standspeak.20080807.a.pg10.hz07edi_troops_s1.1861533_edi.txt]
February 9, 2007, 98 American KBR employees and subcontractors have been killed, and more than 430 have been wounded by hostile action while performing services under the company's government contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. [ [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/energy/4208605.html] Dead link|date=March 2008]
KBR is currently alleged to have covered up a
gang rapeof Jamie Leigh Jones, one of its contractors, by several other KBR employees in Iraq in July, 2005. Jones was allegedly drugged and raped by her coworkers, then confined to a security container without food, water, or medical treatment for a full day before a guard allowed her to call her father. Jones' father then contacted Representative Ted Poe, who approached the State Departmentregarding the matter. Because of contractual restrictions, Jones is barred from suing her employer.cite news | first=Brian | last=Ross | authorlink=Brian Ross (journalist) | title=Victim: Gang-Rape Cover-Up by U.S., Halliburton/KBR | date= 2007-12-10| url =http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=3977702&page=1 | work = ABC News| accessdate = 2007-12-11 ]
Recently, KBR has come under the spotlight when several female employees in Iraq purportedly have been raped by co-workers. One of the women, identified by the pseudonym “Lisa Smith,” says two colleagues raped her at a southern Iraqi military base in January. She says a supervisor told her to “keep quiet” or face danger. Karen Houppert broke the story of Lisa Smith’s rape allegations for The Nation magazine. The article is called “Another KBR Rape Case."
Human Trafficking Lawsuit
As of Aug.28, 2008, Defense contractor KBR Inc. and a Jordanian subcontractor are accused of human trafficking in a federal lawsuit filed in Los Angeles. [Associated Press [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jmOzaTXaMkCsqiqqmIK6gc_rpg1g] Nepalese man sues KBR on human trafficking charges] . The suit alleges 12 Nepali men were being transported to Iraq against their will when they were killed in an insurgent attack. The lawsuit filed Wednesday by an attack survivor and family members of victims claims subcontractor Daoud & Partners recruited the men in Nepal to work in hotels and restaurants in Jordan. The company allegedly seized their passports when they arrived in Jordan in 2004 and had them sent to Iraq to work on a U.S. air base.
Political connections and controversy
Brown and Root had a well-documented relationship with U.S. President
Lyndon Johnson, which began when he used his position as a Texas congressman to assist them in landing a lucrative dam contract. In return they gave him the funds for his 1948 Senate race against Coke R. Stevenson. [Bryce, Robert. " [http://weeklywire.com/ww/08-28-00/austin_pols_feature2.html The Candidate from Brown and Root. (reprint)] " " Texas Observer", October 6, 2000.] The relationship continued for years, with Johnson awarding military construction contracts to B&R.
Following the end of the first
Gulf War, the Pentagon, led by then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, paid Halliburton subsidiary Brown & Root Services over $8.5 million to study the use of private military forces with American soldiers in combat zones.
chairmanand chief executive officerof Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. He has been accused of providing work to KBR under contingency contracts to financially benefit himself and his business associates.
However, the Army contract which has been so controversial —
LOGCAP— has, since its inception, been issued under competitive solicitations; of the three LOGCAPcontracts, KBR won the first, DynCorpthe second, KBR the third, and also the current one, dubbed " LOGCAPIV". LOGCAPis a contingency-based contract which is invoked at the convenience of the US Army as needed; the "Task Orders" under the contract are not competitively bid as the overall contract is.
Although DynCorp had won
LOGCAPII in 1994, [Defenselink News " [http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL32229.pdf FAQ About Contracting] ",] Clinton instead chose KBR, and thus the Balkans Support Contract was created for and awarded to KBR in February 1999. [Defenselink News " [http://www.defenselink.mil/Contracts/Contract.aspx?ContractID=1463 Contracts Awarded] " " DAAA09-99-C-0016", February 19, 1999.] Even though the LOGCAPprogram is specifically for contingency operations such as the Balkans, there was little media coverage about KBR picking up that contract; the Balkans work is sometimes mistakenly mentioned as being part of LOGCAP, however.Fact|date=July 2007
Most media controversy involves the
LOGCAPIII contract which KBR successfully, and competitively, bid for and won in 2001. Fact|date=February 2008 While it is by far the most profitable of their contracts, the functions of that contract are often mixed with the RIO contract in which KBR was given in a no-bid process. RIO, or Restore Iraqi Oil, was awarded to KBR when the United States Department of Defensedetermined that KBR was "the only contractor that could satisfy the requirement for immediate execution of the plan". [USACE " [http://www.hq.usace.army.mil/cepa/iraq/faq.htm USACE Information sheet on RIO] "] As of September 2006, hearings are still being conducted into the RIO project over possible billing, management, and procurement violations.
One common theme is to use the term
LOGCAPwhile using the dollar amounts from RIO, which "was" using LOGCAPfunding for the initial staging and startup, "(see reference #4)." Jamie Leigh Jones, a 23-year-old former employee of KBR, testified at a Congressional hearing in December that she had been gang-raped by up to as many as seven co-workers in Iraq in 2005. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/world/middleeast/13contractors.html?_r=1&bl&ex=1203051600&en=bf8812ecc5524a95&ei=5087%0A&oref=slogin New York Times] ]
Another prime topic of interest is the
Defense Contract Audit Agency(DCAA) report on billing-methods for meals. The auditors knew about, but disregarded, the Army's requirement, whereas KBR was directed to have varying amounts of meals prepared at certain locations regardless of how many people actually used the service. Although KBR was paying for the food, the DCAA did not believe they should be able to charge the DoD for meals prepared but not served. [Halliburton response" [http://www.halliburton.com/news/archive/2004/neffgen_072204.pdf Halliburton statement] " ]
In June 2008, Charles M. Smith, the senior civilian Defense Department official overseeing the government's multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the early stages of the war in Iraq said he was forced out of his job in 2004 for refusing to approve $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR. Smith refused to approve the payments because Army auditors determined that KBR lacked credible records to support more than $1 billion in spending. Smith stated, "They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn’t justify." He said that following his action he was suddenly dismissed and according to media "his successors — after taking the unusual step of hiring an outside contractor to consider KBR’s claims — approved most of the payments he had tried to block." [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/washington/17contractor.html?hp "Army Overseer Tells of Ouster Over KBR Stir"] , The New York Times, 17 June 2008]
Shell companies in Cayman Islands
In March 2008, the "Boston Globe" reported that KBR had avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through
shell companiesbased in the tax havenof the Cayman Islands. More than 21,000 people working for KBR in Iraq - including about 10,500 Americans - are listed as employees of two companies, Service Employers International Inc., and Overseas Administrative Services, which exist on the island only in computer filesin an office. KBR acknowledged that the companies were set up "in order to allow us to reduce certain tax obligations of the company and its employees." But KBR does claim the workers as its own with regards to the legal immunity extended to employers working in Iraq. [Farah Stockman, [http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2008/03/06/top_iraq_contractor_skirts_us_taxes_offshore/ "Top Iraq contractor skirts US taxes offshore: Shell companies in Cayman Islands allow KBR to avoid Medicare, Social Security deductions"] , "Boston Globe", March 6, 2008] A new piece of legislation may halt KBR's use of the Cayman subsidiaries [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/5797584.html]
Legacy in Houston
Houston's convention center was named after company founder and namesake George R. Brown. Rice University's Brown College is also named for members of Brown's family, who have made significant monetary contributions to Rice and other Houston schools.
* [http://www.kbr.com/ Company website]
* [http://www.archive.org/details/sglGreatSpeechesandInterviews_CalPERSurgedtodivestfromKBR CalPERS urged to divest from KBR]
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