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AECOM is an American multinational engineering firm that provides design, consulting, construction, and management services to a range of clients worldwide, including the defence sector.


AECOM employs around 95,000 people and was ranked number 156 on the 2016 Fortune 500 list. It claims to be 'a global network of experts working with clients, communities and colleagues to develop and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most complex challenges.'

According to its promotional material, its field of expertise includes 'delivering clean water and energy. Building iconic skyscrapers. Planning new cities. Restoring damaged environments. Connecting people and economies with roads, bridges, tunnels and transit systems. Designing parks where children play. Helping governments maintain stability and security.'

AECOM also claim to 'connect expertise across services, markets, and geographies to deliver transformative outcomes. Worldwide, we design, build, finance, operate and manage projects and programs that unlock opportunities, protect our environment and improve people’s lives.' [1]

AECOM bought URS Corporation in July 2014.

Report on security risks of shale gas exploitation

FrackWell.png This article is part of the Spinwatch Fracking Portal and project

AECOM published a report on shale gas in Scotland entitled 'Decommissioning, site restoration and aftercare – obligations and treatment of financial liabilities' in November 2016.

Their full summary:

'The aims of this project was to better understand the steps that can be taken to ensure decommissioning, site restoration and aftercare of any potential unconventional oil and gas development can be undertaken in a way that minimises impacts on communities and the environment, and identify different models of financial guarantee that provide robust security against liabilities. The research finds that international and UK experience shows that the risk of leakage from abandoned UOG wells is likely to be low provided best practice is implemented during well construction and abandonment operations under a strong regulatory regime. There is a residual risk that a small proportion of wells may fail, and leaks may occur from these wells under certain circumstances. However, with appropriate regulatory oversight and monitoring, it is considered that, with minor modification to licensing powers, Scotland’s regulatory framework is sufficiently robust to manage risks of well leakage consistent with the aim of providing suitable protection for communities and the environment. The research also finds that, taking lessons from opencast coal mining, there are financial guarantees available which can minimise the risk of operators failing to honour their commitment to decommissioning and the risk of the costs of repair of leaking orphaned wells falling on the public purse.' [2]

However, a fracking literature review published by Andrew Watterson and William Dinan concluded that:

'Although several reports and papers, including some from the UK government and its agencies, state fracking would be safe assuming there is or will be industry best practice and ‘robust’ regulation, the evidence base for such statements is remarkably sparse [...].
There are multiple serious challenges surrounding location, scale, monitoring and data deficits facing regulators overseeing onshore UGE and fracking in the UK;
The evidence from peer-reviewed papers suggests fracking in the UK will not be effectively regulated. It is highly likely that regulatory agencies may lack the staffing and resources necessary to monitor and enforce effective regulation of the industry;
US and UK peer-reviewed analyses and EU law identify both the precautionary principle and prevention as keys to dealing with fracking. This is underpinned by findings from the peer-reviewed public health literature that already identifies significant hazards and major potential risks from the industry.'[3]

Lucrative UK Ministry of Defence contract

'In partnership with Capita and PA Consulting, AECOM has entered into a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to manage the UK’s national and international defence estate portfolio. The overall contract has a value of approximately £400 million, or $670 million, to the partnership over the ten-year base period. As the strategic business partner for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), the partnership is responsible for strategic disposal of sites, allocation of assets and construction and maintenance of estate infrastructure in the UK and abroad. This includes military bases, accommodation for service personnel and their families and training facilities. Functions delivered by the team include hard and soft facilities management, workforce planning and transformation, utilities management, project and programme delivery and strategic asset management.

Revolving door people

  • Kevin Tebbit senior VP (defence and procurement), adviser to the chairman (circa 2016)
  • Steve Morriss, AECOM’s chief executive of Europe, Middle East, India and Africa and an Honorary Colonel in the Royal Engineers, who served for 16 years in the military both as an Officer in the Royal Engineers and as a Royal Marine Reservist. [4]



  1. AECOM: about, AECOM, first accessed 15 December 2015, last accessed 22 March 2018
  2. Unconventional oil and gas research published, Wired Gov, 09 November 2016. Accessed 15 December 2016.
  4. Ministry of Defence recognises AECOM for its support for the Armed Forces with Gold Award, AECOM, 4 August 2016, accessed 21 March 2018