A database for multi-million-dollar Pentagon contracts is geographically challenged, and has repeatedly confused the Central Asian petro-state of Turkmenistan for the American petro-state of Texas.
Hundreds of Pentagon contracts appear to have been wrongly categorized in the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS), the central statistical database of all US government contracts. Defense spending specialists now say there are “significant concerns” about the reliability of Pentagon contracts in the FPDS and warn that “bad data” can mislead decision makers.
According to the FPDS, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on contracts where the Place of Performance (PoP) is listed as Turkmenistan. But an investigation by EurasiaNet.org revealed that a large number of these contracts were actually for work carried out in the US state of Texas, not Turkmenistan.
The error came to light after the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report in May, titled “Department of Defense Contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq: Background and Analysis.”
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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.