A USACE spokeswoman says the RFP could result in the award of up to five contracts each with a guaranteed minimum value of $500,000 and a maximum value of $100 million.

The RFP indicates that funds for the contracts were not currently available. However, the spokeswoman says USACE expects to award the contracts by the end of March. The deadline for proposals is 11 March.

It is understood that other companies could be added to the list, including non-US firms.

‘The way the contract acquisition is set up is for indefinite delivery and quantity. We anticipate that this will support a variety of requirements yet to be specified. They could be for the US military, US government agencies or other governments,’ said the spokeswoman. ‘We try to put contracts in place that respond to US Central Command action as it happens. The procurement process can take typically 150 days between issue of the RFP and the contract award. Here there is a much more compressed schedule.’

The UK government confirms that a number of British companies have contacted its export arm Trade Partners UK (TPUK) over reconstruction work in a post-Saddam Iraq.

‘We have given them general advice. And we are constantly in touch with aid and development agencies that are responsible for this kind of reconstruction work,’ says a TPUK spokesman.