Battle Space & Contingency Operations Contracting

Steptoe represents clients that directly support on-going US government contingency operations, counterterrorism operations, and reconstruction and humanitarian relief efforts. We advise clients on procurement, criminal, humanitarian, and international laws and regulations applicable to contractors and their employees operating in overseas locations in support of those operations. We also advise clients regarding FCPA, ITAR, US economic sanctions, and anti-boycott issues that are common to contingency operations support contracts. In addition, we have counseled clients regarding potential claims and bid protests relating to contracts in support of contingency operations.

Our team includes attorneys with on the ground experience in these areas and military experience that enables them to cut-through the logistical challenges to assess and resolve key issues for our clients.  Our team has experience and credibility with key agencies involved in reconstruction efforts, including the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), and various military commands within the US Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR).  Our attorneys have been recognized as leaders in this area and have written and spoken about battle space and contingency operations contracting.

Representative Matters

  • Conducted successful defense of our long-time client, CACI, against legal actions filed by Iraqi nationals in federal courts asserting various claims, including the Alien Tort Statue and common law tort claims, arising out of CACI’s provision of interrogators to support the US military in Iraq.  Steptoe successfully litigated a variety of issues arising from this work, including immunity, the political question doctrine, the combatant activities exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act, preemption under  Boyle v. United Technologies Corp., 487 U.S. 500 (1988), and other issues affecting potential liability for battle space and contingency operations contractors.
  • Provided advice to contractors regarding the interpretation and application of status of forces agreements, exchanges of notes between the United States and other countries, and other international agreements regarding the status of US government contractors and their employees working for the United States military and other agencies in contingency operations areas and other hostile areas overseas.
  • Conducted a sensitive internal investigation in Iraq and Kuwait for a major US defense contractor with respect to issues associated with its work on a US base in Baghdad, including interviewing several dozen contractor employees on-site.
  • Conducted legal risk mitigation reviews for clients operating outside major US bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Conducted an internal investigation for a consulting firm relating to its cost accounting practices on a contract performed in Afghanistan.  Steptoe assisted the client in making a disclosure to the agency under the FAR’s Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct regulations (including FAR 52.203-13).
  • Advised clients regarding Defense Base Act insurance requirements, informed consent agreements with employees and subcontractors, and risk mitigation strategies.

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