COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY BRIEFING WITH
ADMIRAL DAVID NASH, DIRECTOR, CPA PROGRAM MANAGEMENT OFFICE
LOCATION: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
DATE: MONDAY, JANUARY 19, 2004
STAFF: If you wish to contact me for additional information, I would encourage
you to do that. There will be slides, a copy of all the slides available that we
show on the screen, and we have a press release and some other materials in
English and Arabic that will be available afterwards on the desk. And I will be
sticking around here with my team from Admiral Nash's office to help clear up
So, without further ado, here is Admiral Nash.
ADM. NASH: Good morning. On behalf of Ambassador Bremer and the American people,
and all the countries of the coalition, I am pleased to announce we have
received authority to begin our construction program. We will soon award -- we
have awarded some contracts, and we will soon award more. That way we'll create
50,000-plus jobs by July.
I'm David Nash. I'm the director of the Coalition Provisional Authority's
program management office in Baghdad. As the director of that office, I'm
expected to see that projects are carried out as a part of the reconstruction of
I'm charged to make sure that those projects were the ones that were authorized
by Congress, to see that the projects are carried out quickly and with high
quality, and to ensure that the costs are reasonable. This requires systemic
review to ensure that the necessary costs occasioned by security and speed do
not cross the line into waste, fraud and abuse.
To these tasks I bring my experience in the Navy in facilities, and what I
learned in the past five years in the private sector directing large design and
construction projects with many firms in the United States.
Our overarching purpose is to help rebuild your country, to assist you in taking
your rightful place among the nations of the world. One third of the $18.4
billion we will spend will go for non-construction goods and services. These
include training, equipment and other items. The remaining two thirds will go to
some 2,300 construction projects in electricity, water, oil, health,
transportation and public buildings, as well as facilities needed to assure
security and justice.
Here is a map showing the total number of sector projects per governate. These
projects will of course produce bricks and mortar, power plants, schools and
water and sewer works. But they will also put Iraqi men and women back to work,
providing decent, honorable jobs for all. These jobs will bring the dignity of
honest earnings to Iraqi families, while providing tangible improvements in the
quality of life for all Iraqi families.
For Iraqi workers and professionals, the jobs created bring more than salaries.
Those who design, build and manage and maintain these projects will gain new
experience and master new skills and management and production.
The success of these reconstruction efforts depends largely on the Iraqi people.
It is one thing to restore and rebuild the country's infrastructure. But it is
another thing to sustain, to operate and to maintain it after the construction
has been completed. Part of our strategy will be to give our prime contractors
incentives to hire Iraqi workers and managers. These contracts contain
provisions that award contractors who train and integrate Iraqi men and women
into their projects. Prime contractors are encouraged to procure as much as they
can from Iraqi suppliers.
Much of the success of the economic development of Iraq depends on these
projects. That is because infrastructure is that, the girding of an economic
structure and more and more Iraqis get electricity and running water, jobs will
be created and Iraqis will become more productive in their work and live more
normal lives at home.
Additionally, we hope that the polls in which Iraqis say that job creation is
the best way to diminish violence is correct. These programs will create more
and better jobs than Iraqis have seen in decades. Let me be clear: security must
be an essential part of the entire program. Without site security, the work will
be made more difficult. If we cannot contain the violence, some qualified
workers will be afraid to apply for jobs that they need. We hope that those who
want the jobs, who want the electricity and water, will do what they can to
deter the sabotage and the terrorism.
In the end, our measure of effectiveness should not be measured in cubic meters
of concrete or additional megawatts of electricity, although those necessary --
indeed essential. Enduring effectiveness will be measured in the strengthened
ability of the Iraqi people to sustain and expand these improvements of their
I believe that we, the Iraqis and the partners of the coalition will have passed
the effectiveness test that years from now Iraq will still be progressing as
prosperous, a democratic country at peace with itself and its neighbors. This
work is indispensable. It stands at the prime level of importance among the
security and democracy. All are necessary, none is by itself sufficient. Each
merits the absolute best effort from all of us.
Many ask me why I've put my career on hold and moved to Iraq, taking on what is
admittedly a difficult task. I always tell them the same thing: it's the right
thing to do. I want to be a part of the effort to create a stable and successful
Iraq, where peace, democracy and the chance of an honest income honestly earned
are within the reach of every Iraqi. Thank you very much. I will take your
Q (In Arabic, not translated.)
ADM. NASH: First, on your question of who will be my assistant, we have just
about selected an Iraqi deputy, and that should be announced probably within the
next -- by the end of this month. And we will also have many Iraqis throughout
our organization working as professionals -- engineers, designers, program
managers, project managers.
In terms of how will people learn about what we're doing, how will the Iraqis
know what is going on, first of all we have a website that we have right now.
It's www -- you've got it? -- .rebuilding-Iraq.net.
Also, we have been participating, or I have been participating in forums around
the town, and there will be more. And I am trying to d o my best to get the word
out to all the Iraqi contractors, and to make sure that everybody knows what
we're doing and when we're doing it.
This program will last over three years, so there will be opportunity from now
over those three to five years -- however long it takes to do the construction.
Q (Arabic not translated.)
ADM. NASH: It is www --
Q (Arabic not translated.)
ADM. NASH: It is www.rebuilding - R-E-B-U-I-L-D-I-N-G -- dash-Iraq -- dot-net --
very important, dot-net.
Q Thank you.
ADM. NASH: The e-mail is on the website, so you will see that on the website.
Q (Arabic not translated.)
ADM. NASH: There will be two sources of training and help. First of all, the
contractors and the people that we bring to the country, part of their job is to
help train. Also, we have made contact with many professional societies in the
world -- engineering and architectural societies in the world, and they have all
volunteered to help us bring new technology, new ideas and new concepts to Iraq,
to help to build the capacity for the future.
We had a question in the back. Yes, sir?
Q How many -- can you give us a sense of how many bids you've received for the
prime contracts, and a little bit of where they're from? For example, are any
from companies in Iraq? And then, are you at all planning to rethink the banning
of certain countries for some of the prime contracts, or is that set now?
ADM. NASH: First of all, they tell me that how many contractors have proposed
and everything is still sensitive because they are just in the middle of all
that. But let me say there's been a lot of interest. And all of those who have
applied have been within the bounds of what we set out in terms of Iraqi and
In terms of the additional work, I think you can see that the president and
others have been talking about this and making statements. So, you know, I would
really think they'd be probably better to talk about that.
We do have $4 billion in reserve, and that's certainly one opportunity.
Also, I would mention that the sub-contracts are open to all, as we said many
times, as are the non-construction items, that one third that I talked about.
Other questions? Yes, ma'am?
Q (Arabic not translated.)
ADM. NASH: We are starting now. You probably won't see the results for a little
while. It takes a while to get going. But the money is beginning to flow. The
AID, USAID contract has been awarded, and they are being assigned projects, so
you will begin to see it right away, and it will build as we put more
contractors in place. You will see more and more employment occurring, and you
will see more and more construction going.
If based on how things go, it is my estimation by midsummer there will be lots
of activity -- there will be much activity in Iraq, much construction activity
throughout Iraq. So it's going to build up as we go.
Any other questions? Yes, sir?
Q (Arabic not translated.)
ADM. NASH: I believe that we are -- you will begin to see that those promises
will be made good as we begin to put more and more contracts in place. And I
think you will see over the next few months that we will be moving forward.
Information will always be available, so you can tell where we are and what
we're doing. One of the directions that I've received from our leadership is to
be totally transparent in what we are doing, and I intend to do that. So, we
will begin to make good on those promises that we made you in terms of jobs.
Q The 50,000 jobs by July is certainly a lot of jobs. As you know, there's a
serious unemployment problem here with millions of unemployed. Can you carry
those figures out at all by the end of -- you know, by within a year or within a
couple of years? Do you know overall how many jobs you hope to create? And when
do you think the work on all these things will be completed, on all these
ADM. NASH: I don't want to hazard a guess, because that's something that --
that's for economists to do, not engineers. So I'll pass on that. But there's
lots of other people who have made guestimates on what the total employment
And your second question?
Q When do you think all the contracts will be awarded, and then when do you
think all the work -- when do you hope all the work will be completed?
ADM. NASH: We will have all of our contracts in place in March. There are some
now that are already in place, and the rest will be in March. And completion is
hard to say, but large projects like thermo-power plants take several years to
do. So my guess is around three to four years to finish everything. A lot of the
work will execute very quickly -- road work, the bridge work, the work in the
port. Those kind of things tend to move a little faster than heavy power plants.
So my guess is somewhere in the four-to-five-year range, with the last of it
being some of the big heavy power plants.
Anything else? Yes, sir?
Q Are you frustrated at all about the pace? You had hoped to move -- in December
you hoped to move much faster.
ADM. NASH: Well, at my age I always worry that I'll have enough time left to do
this all, but I'm anxious, because I see a need and I want to move ahead.
We had to think about a lot of things to make sure we got it right, particularly
with the events on the horizon in terms of the shift to that we see in July. So
I think we are all through that now, and we've got to proceed as rapidly as we
can to move forward. And if I was frustrated, I certainly am over that, and I
can't wait to get started, and I can't wait to start delivering construction and
those jobs that we talked about.
Anything -- yes?
Q Hi, can you tell us how much the projects are going to be worth altogether?
ADM. NASH: Yes. The construction will be in the neighborhood of $12.4 billion.
And that's 2,300 projects. And a project is a power plant, or a section of road,
or a set of schools, or those kinds of things.
Q And can you tell us about the geographical spread of the projects, the
proportion that will be in Baghdad and the rest of the country?
ADM. NASH: In terms of the geographical spread, we basically looked at the
urgency in terms of rebuilding the infrastructure. The World Bank says that it
will take $55 billion to rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq, so even though we
have $18.6 billion, that isn't going to do it all. So we tried to find, working
with the ministries and working with the governates and others, we tried to find
the right set of priorities to work on. So as we did that, then we look at how
it's spread across the country.
I think in one of the charts in your press kit you'll see the project layout
over the country. Now, I would caution you that over time that may change. We
may decide that we corporately, all of us together, the ministries and everybody
else will decide maybe there's an important need here, or a more important need
there. So it will be very fluid as we move forward. But essentially that lay-out
will give you an idea of where all the projects are. There are some in every
governate, and it's spread across the country.
STAFF: Well, thank you very, very much. And I'll be here with some other members
of the team to answer any of your question. And the admiral now prepares for
another conference. So -- (inaudible) -- and I appreciate you being here.
ADM. NASH: And I want to thank you all. Appreciate it.