Some members of Congress are questioning the ability of an aviation contractor to carry out its mission to transport diplomats, representatives and cabinet members into and around areas of conflict.
Several have written letters to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking for a review of the Worldwide Aviation Support Services contract that tasked AAR Airlift Group with ferrying VIPs into and around Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas where security is paramount.
It was awarded the 11-year, $10 billion contract in 2015, defeating Dyncorp, which protested repeatedly to the U.S. Government Accountability Office and other agencies, and has sued, so far unsuccessfully. While the disputes are ongoing, Dyncorp continues to carry out the mission under modifications to the contract.
This week, the Daily Caller reported that AAR is barred by air traffic controllers from using an undisclosed airfield in Afghanistan because of safety violations. The report was based on filings linked to a lawsuit filed by AAR against another company, though not Dyncorp.
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) did not immediately return requests for comment.
In letters to Tillerson, representatives questioned the process that led to AAR being given the contract.
Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) asked the secretary to review the “WASS solicitation process.”
“Given the vital mission to provide safe and secure aviation transport for the Cabinet, Members of Congress, diplomats and other leaders in Afghanistan, Iraq and other contingency environments Congress must know that the competition was conducted in an accountable and transparent manner without the appearance of misconduct,” Granger wrote in the letter to Tillerson.
According to the Daily Caller, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) also expressed concerns.
“I am especially interested in your assurance that any WASS [Worldwide Aviation Support Services] contractor has a proven track record of safely performing flight operations in Afghanistan,” Hunter wrote in a Sept. 14 letter to Tillerson, according to the Daily Caller.