Publications: Nigeria’s Private Army–A Perception Study of PMSC’s in the War Against Boko Haram

As soon as I found this, I had to share. I have never seen anyone do an analysis like this about our industry and it needs to be put out there for consumption. These folks attempted to get actual public perception about PMSC’s fighting Boko Haram in Nigeria. And even though they do not mention STTEP specifically, this is the company they are absolutely talking about.

It should be noted though that the study had none of the pertinent links to the reportage done on STTEP in Nigeria. Specifically the excellent articles by SOFREP and their interview with Eeben Barlow, the chairman of STTEP. After all, they are the only site that Eeben gave an interview too in regards to this contract. Eeben also gave plenty of information about what STTEP did on his blog, so it was odd to not see any links to those sources in the footnotes.

For whatever reason, they decided to keep the report free from those sources, and focus solely on doing their survey of Nigerians and their perceptions of PMSC’s in Nigeria. Specifically, PMSC’s and their role in countering Boko Haram.

Below I have posted their findings, and I was kind of shocked. Overall, there was very high support for using private military contractors against Boko Haram. 75 percent of respondents in telephone surveys supported groups like STTEP fighting Boko Haram. On social media it was 62 percent! That is incredible.

The reasons for supporting companies like STTEP are pretty simple. They could care less who they used to defeat Boko Haram, just as long as they were defeated. As for those that opposed using PMSC’s, they expressed that Nigeria should do this themselves.

Very cool and this will go into the archive here for anyone needing to come back to it. You can find a copy of this report at Remote Control’s website, and this is the pdf for it. I posted the findings below, but please check out the rest of the report to dig into how they conducted the survey or check out their website to learn more about the group. –Matt

 

 

Commissioned by the Remote Control project, the Nigeria Security Network carried out a perception study into the use of private military contractors. The study suggests that the majority of Nigerians support using private military contractors to fight Boko Haram. However, within the minority that oppose their use, some expressed opinions that could be vulnerable to manipulation by Boko Haram, due to their similar emphasis on western meddling in Nigerian affairs. The research suggests that opposition to PMSCs is strongest when they are engaged in combat roles, and that their potential for carrying out human rights abuses with impunity was of particular concern. The report concludes with a series of recommendations.

Level of support

Our study found that the majority of Nigerians are in favour of using private military contractors against Boko Haram. 75 percent of respondents to our telephone survey said they support using foreign mercenaries. 23 percent, meanwhile, said they oppose with only 3 per cent not having a view.
There was a significant difference in responses between men and women, with 80 percent of women saying they support using mercenaries compared to 69 percent of men. Conversely, 17 percent of women opposed using mercenaries while 23 percent of men opposed them. The reasons for this fall outside the re mit of this study, but may be an indication of heightened fear among female segments of the population following large numbers of abductions of women and girls by Boko Haram.
There was a little regional variation beyond the margin of error, with opposition significantly stronger than average in the South East and weaker in North Central. This is notable since the North Central region, including the city of Kano, is an area that has been significantly affected by Boko Haram’s violence. The higher than average support for mercenaries may be due to the region’s heightened experiences of violence. Conversely, the South East is one of the least affected regions. However, respondents in the most affected region – Nigeria’s North East – answered much closer to the average, making it difficult to draw conclusions about these regional variations.
On social media, of our sample 62 percent supported the use of private military contractors, with 36 percent opposing and 2 percent expressing a mixed opinion.
Reasons for supporting
Reasons for supporting private military contractors varied. The most popular reason was that people did not care what method was used to defeat Boko Haram, as long as they are defeated. 42 percent of support- ers argued this. Meanwhile, 27 percent suggested the contractors could offer better capabilities, while 20 percent said the Nigerian army is not effective enough to stop Boko Haram by itself. 6 percent said Nigeria can benefit from using foreign fighters since Boko Haram does the same.
These reasons were also reflected in our social media analysis. The most common reason was again that the method of defeating Boko Haram shouldn’t matter, with 47 per cent of those in favour arguing this.
Other common reasons included a feeling that Nigeria was being singled out for using private contractors when it is normal for other countries to do so, and a belief that contractors would be more effective.
Reasons for opposing
Of those telephone survey respondents opposed to using foreign mercenaries to fight Boko Haram, most (51 percent) expressed opposition to private military contractors on the grounds that Nigeria should have the capabilities to defeat Boko Haram without outside help. A further 27 percent of respondents cited reasons that could be interpreted as aligning with the insurgency’s messages or that could be manipulated by the insurgency to gain support. Within this group, 12 percent said foreign mercenaries are more likely than Nigerian troops to hurt civilians or commit human rights violations, 9 per cent said foreign mercenaries are trying to control or colonise Nigeria, and 6 per cent said they are trying to impose Western ideas on Nigeria.
16 percent gave “other” reasons for opposing contractors that were not anticipated, for example that the Nigerian army knows the terrain better.
Like with the telephone survey results, our social media analysis revealed that the largest number (46 percent) of tweeters who opposed private military contractors did so on the grounds that the Nigerian army should be able to defeat Boko Haram itself. Other, less common reasons included the perception that mercenaries were trying to advance a colonial agenda, that using them may back re, and that the Nigerian state should not re- cruit soldiers associated with the Apartheid era in South Africa.
Switchers
To determine whether perceptions of private military contractors changed according to their role, we asked respondents their views of contractors if they were restricted to a training role versus a combat role.
This variable made a small but perceptible difference. If used only in a training role, 78 percent of respondents supported using the private contractors, whereas if used in a combat role 71 percent supported their use. Similarly, if used in a training role, 21 percent opposed their use, while 27 percent opposed their use if used in a combat role.
7 and 6 percent respectively may seem like a small amount. However, when considering the population of Borno state alone, which is likely to be around 4.5 million, 6 percent represents 270,000 people. Even if a tiny fraction of these were so angered by the use of private military contractors that they were tempted to support Boko Haram, this could result in thousands of new supporters.
This switcher group is especially important because those who switched were mostly the same people who were concerned about private military contractors imposing Western values or colonialism on Nigeria,
or abusing human rights, rather than simply opposing them because they think the Nigerian Army should not need such assistance. In total, there were 18 respondents in the former category. Of these 18, 16 switched their opinion if private contractors take only a training role. This suggests a restricted role for private military contractors could mitigate the perceptual backlash and reduce the risk of Boko Haram gaining support as a result. However, it must be noted that because the group expressing negative opinions for these reasons was so small, further research would be needed to ensure these ndings are not a statistical anomaly.

Read the rest of the report here.

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Funny Stuff: Abu Hajaar–The Carl Of The Middle East

I had to put this one out there because here on FJ, I have a history of sharing memes and other material that mocks the enemies of the world…. Emo Osama was a classic…. So let me introduce to you Abu Hajaar, the Carl of Daesh. Or according to one of my readers, the name translates into ‘father of rock/mountain’…. You can’t make this stuff up. lol

This video posted by Vice is an attack that Daesh or ISIS did on a Peshmerga position back in December of 2015. Daesh did not do well that day, and Peshmerga destroyed them. For an excellent analysis of that attack and it’s failings, read this post from the Oryx Blog.

What I wanted to highlight though is how idiotic these attackers were. And get this, on Facebook and Twitter, this video has gone viral. The star of the show is none other than Abu Hajaar, or the proverbial Carl of this motley crew of Daesh. Carl is a popular Meme going around the internet either derived from the show The Walking Dead or from the movie Sling Blade. Either way, Carl has come to signify ‘that guy’ that just never get’s it right…

On Twitter, the hashtag #AbuHajaar is actually gaining traction. Unfortunately though, the hilarity of combat videos like this are really not appreciated by civilians because they do not know what is going on tactically. It’s just guys in the middle of an intense fire fight, that meet their doom on the battlefield.

Now if you go to youtube, folks are actually modifying the original video. I was laughing after watching this version, complete with a live studio audience.

For veterans who know better and have actually been shot at, this is wildly hilarious for all of the dumb stuff these morons were doing. The fools certainly paid the price for their idiocy. –Matt

 

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Maritime Security: SAMI Announces Voluntary Liquidation

The CEO of SAMI, Peter Cook said, “There has not been a successful hijacking of a commercial vessel in the High Risk Area since May 2012 and this is principally due to the increasing competence and professionalism of the private maritime security industry. This is the task SAMI set out to achieve and we have done it.”

Big news in the MarSec industry. SAMI or the Security Association for the Maritime Industry is liquidating. Like the article mentioned below, it is because of a huge decline in membership.

Although, there are some grumblings out there about SAMI being ineffective. Like for example, for the Seaman Guard Ohio incident, SAMI has not been able to do much for those men and the company, and you hear that amongst the community out there.

Either way, I still think SAMI has been pretty useful for getting everyone together and figuring out what needs to happen for regulating this industry. I mean the maritime security industry was the first PMSC group to have an ISO, so that is pretty cool.

Five years ago, piracy was pretty bad and numerous companies came onto the scene to answer the call. Some were good, and some were bad, and others had no business being involved with this stuff. But at the end of the day, PMSC’s saved the day out on the high seas.

It was groups like SAMI who decided to get organized and point the industry in the right direction with their voice, backed up by a membership of companies and insurance groups interested in the same thing. So for that, I thank SAMI and Peter Cook for putting in the effort.

As the readership knows, I actually dedicated a page to SAMI companies, just so folks had a resource to go to for finding MarSec companies. I will keep the page up until the SAMI website is gone. The companies that continue to provide MarSec will still be around. –Matt

 

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Peter Cook, CEO of SAMI.

SAMI Voluntary Liquidation
APRIL 18, 2016

“The Security Association for the Maritime Industry Ltd Announcement of Voluntary Liquidation”
After 5 distinguished years of representing the private maritime security industry the Directors of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry Ltd (SAMI) have made the decision to put the company into voluntary liquidation.
SAMI was formed when piracy and hijackings off the coast of Somalia prevailed, but since the first members joined in April 2011 much has changed. The CEO of SAMI, Peter Cook said, “There has not been a successful hijacking of a commercial vessel in the High Risk Area since May 2012 and this is principally due to the increasing competence and professionalism of the private maritime security industry. This is the task SAMI set out to achieve and we have done it.”
The industry has also evolved and consolidated significantly; our membership has fallen from its peak of 180 to less than half that figure. Consequently the Association is no longer financially sustainable in its current configuration.
The SAMI Secretariat has worked tirelessly, on behalf of its membership, to represent them in as many influential forums as possible around the world and to establish an effective regulatory structure for the use of armed guards on board ships in the pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean.
It is globally recognised that SAMI has had a very positive influence on the development of the use of armed guards on board ships in the North-West IndianOcean. As noted by a former commander of the naval task force EUNAVFOR, the private maritime security industry “has a 100% rate of success”, thereby, protecting many thousands of seafarers from pirate attacks and the horrors and deprivations of being held hostage. SAMI has also reassured ship owners, charterers and marine insurers of a high standard of professionalism from the Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) providing a measured and proportionate response to deter pirates from attacking ships transiting the High Risk Area.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Industry Talk: Sterling Global Changes Name To Janus Global Operations After Three Acquisitions

“Our rebranding to Janus Global Operations is part of our business plan to increase our global scalability and ensure a fully integrated capability for our clients,” said Dale Allen, vice president, commercial programs. Janus Global Operations is poised for unprecedented growth and expansion as the “go-to” multi-national leader that commercial organizations and governments can rely on to get the job done.”
“Driven by regional instability and violent extremism growing around the world, Janus Global Operations understands the new complexities and is capable of delivering solutions to meet the global operational demands of any client” said Alan Weakley, president and chief operating officer.
Janus Global Operations’ integrated capabilities are already at work around the world helping to protect clients and their critical assets and making the world a safer place for some of the most at risk communities.

Big news here. If you remember, EODT merged with Sterling Operations back in 2012 to form Sterling Global Operations. That merger made Sterling Global Operations into a mega mine and munitions clearance company. Which is important if you want to be competitive for EOD type contracts in a crowded, post war years environment. Although, business must be good because now they have merged into something way bigger.

The three companies they merged with are Janus Security International, SNE Special Projects and Tundra Security Afghanistan. Here is a quick run down of each company and what they bring to the table.

For Janus Security International from LinkedIn:

JSI is a specialist security and risk management provider, offering a full range of operational security services to commercial and government clients. JSI have operations in Iraq, Somalia and Mozambique. As a result of recent acquisitions and strategic partnering we now have capability in Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Libya, and Egypt.

We have been an Iraq-based company since 2003, staffed by predominately ex-military personnel. JSI is fully registered, licensed and insured, in compliance with current Government of Iraq (GOI) legislation, with offices in Erbil, Baghdad and Basrah and projects across the country.

JSI set up operations in Somalia in 2012 and have established a villa/office in Mogadishu town and office and an office and client accommodation in the Mogadishu International Airport area. Operations include airport meet and greet, life support, security management, remote area security management, consultancy and secure journey management inc B6 PSD teams.

In 2014 Janus Security established an operation in Maputo, Mozambique and via our partner, an operation in Libya.

JSI’s aim has always been to provide an alternative offering to those organisations requiring professional corporate and personal security services and consultancy. The founding principle of the company is to offer bespoke security solutions forged through our extensive knowledge and experience – using maximum local manpower and intelligence.

Services include:Protective Security
• Personal
• Logistics
• Facilities
• Offshore

Managed Services
• Incident management
• Secure accommodation
• Embedded Security Managers
• Secure fleet and journey management

Consultancy and Training
• Security consultancy and solution design
• Risk management, analysis and reports
• Crisis and Emergency Management training and simulation exercises (team to corporate)
• Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT)
• Technical Security Solutions
Specialties
Protective Security Solutions, Managed Services, Consultancy and Training, Security Technology Solutions
Company Size 1001-5000 employees
Founded 2003

For SNE Special Projects on LinkedIn:

SNE Special Projects is an independent United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates based Risk Management Consultancy Company owned and run by former members of the UK Armed Forces. Providing specialist international security and support services to both private and corporate clients.

What makes SNE Special Projects different from other security companies?
“Simply the calibre of the operators we deploy on the ground, aligned with the bespoke personal service our management team provides to each and every one of our clients”

We carry out assignments focusing on tailoring levels of protection and security to mitigate risk by meticulous planning, intelligence and sound management. We are particularly adept and experienced of operating within the Middle East and North Africa where we have been successfully supporting our clients and offer the kind of capabilities that only a premium security firm can provide.

SNE specialise in operating within Libya where we work closely with our Libya partners Aldroop Alamena with our primary aim being to support international business back into the Libyan business sector. As one of the first security companies to establish a permanent presence in Libya post-revolution we are in a stronger position than any other to achieve this through our full turnkey range of bespoke risk management and transportation services. Our dedicated country management team based in Tripoli and Benghazi provide full time management oversight of our commercial client’s contracts as well as providing ad-hoc services to a growing number of NGOs in all areas of Libya. With our extensive experience and full country coverage we are the market leader in Libya with unparalleled capabilities.
Type Self Owned
Company Size 1-10 employees

And for Tundra Security Afghanistan (Tundra SCA?). They did not have a website or LinkedIn.

Tundra Security Consulting Afghanistan (SCA)· is an “Afghan-owned security company” that provides physical security services to local and foreign government organizations throughout Afghanistan. Tundra SCA is a sister company of Canadian Tundra Strategies and is “licensed to operate as an armed security provider by the Afghan Ministry of Interior”. Tundra SCA stands on guard for the Defence Department outside Canadian military forward operating bases and has collected more than $5.3 million. A· U.S. Senate report included Tundra on a list of companies that poach staff from Afghan security forces, angering President Hamid Karzai. Tundra is among those 45 PSCs which had not to be dissolved, due to cleverly used good connections to ARG Palace and and influential people within the Afghan Government setup.

Background:
Tundra SCA combines Afghan ownership with a Canadian senior management team to provide professional security services throughout the country.· Supported by satellite offices in Mezar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad, and fully staffed compounds in Kabul and Kandahar, Tundra SCA is currently providing security services to Foreign Governments and organizations involved in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.With operations that run country-wide, Tundra SCA is a leading and preferred risk mitigation and physical security provider in Afghanistan.· Tundra SCA is strategically positioned to provide physical security services, security consulting and incident response to Government Agencies, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Non-Government Agencies and private corporations.

Tundra provides a wide spectrum of operational expertise through uniquely qualified special operations personnel, intelligence professionals and industry leading experts who enable us to provide a wide range of consulting, security and intelligence services.

Tundra· employees and consultants are experts in their respective fields and are strategically located around North America and Asia so Tundra can physically and efficiently respond to any enquiry anywhere in the world. We take pride in our ingenuity, expertise, past performance and ability to execute security and mission support operations anywhere in the world.

In April 2010 a Tundra employee, (to remain unnamed), recently received special recognition from the Canadian Battle Group in Kandahar in the form of a Commanding Officers Coin. The Tundra employee has been the PSC commander for Task Force 3-09 at Patrol Base Sperwan Ghar (PBSG) since September 2009. During this time, his accomplishments were noted as being “truly outstanding” in the training and management of the Armed Afghan Guard Force located at PBSG.

Tundra Information Management Systems (TIMS) is a division of Tundra Group, which is specifically dedicated to both the gathering and analyzing of intelligence and information from both open and confidential sources. TIMS has the capability to provide organizations and interested parties with a range of· products allowing insights into past, current, and future events. This is achieved by utilizing long established connections with various Afghan government departments, local sources, international military forces, private corporations and Non-Government Agencies.

TIMS also uses human intelligence and other sources combined with powerful analysis to produce penetrating explanations of Afghan events. This independent, non-ideological content enables users not only to better understand country-wide based events, but also to reduce risks and identify opportunities in the region.

A·team of Afghan-based security analysts gather and analyze information from throughout Afghanistan to give an overview of the security situation in Afghanistan as well as its immediate geographical and strategic neighbors, thus allowing individuals to make informed decisions or be able to refer to documentation for the purpose of further research.

Tundra provides intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination to corporate and government clients in many different environments. These capabilities assist organizations in creating and sharing the “actionable” and “real time” intelligence required to make timely and informed decisions.

Tundra· gathers intelligence using a variety of methods, including both technical surveillance and human intelligence. We have extensive experience in managing gathered information and coordinating and integrating it into collaborative planning.

And to add to the data, I found a quote from Sterling Global’s older website about how many folks they had. Although this is the exact same number listed on the new website.

Sterling Global Operations is an employee-owned stability operations company employing approximately 7000 professionals worldwide. The company serves customers with munitions response; intelligence support; logistics; risk management and other services in some of the world’s most austere and hostile environments.

So what does it all mean? Well, JSI was all about Iraq, Somalia and Mozambique. SNE is all about Libya and Africa. And Tundra SCA gives them a license to operate in Afghanistan. The Sterling package brings in their EOD contracts, and having these connections globally allows them to provide total package solutions. Security, logistics, mine clearance, that type of thing.

In the press release below, they give a run down of exactly what all of this gives them and in the quote up top, the various officers of the company give their input. This is more of that merger and acquisition trend in the industry and it clearly shows that the companies are doing what they can to get an edge and secure their place with contracts worldwide. We saw this with the Constellis merger or the GardaWorld merger. The industry is definitely consolidating.

Now what is interesting is that Pentagon has expressed interest in trying to block some of these M and A’s amongst the larger defense companies. They claim it is a national security issue and could ‘lead to higher costs, decreased innovation and less competition‘. To the companies, it is called survival in a post war environment. –Matt

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SGO, international stability operations and risk management leader, announces major commercial & government market expansion; rebrands to Janus Global Operations

Apr 4, 2016

Sterling Global Operations (SGO), an integrated stability operations company with clients in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and North America, is rebranding following mergers and acquisitions of risk management and security service providers Janus Security International, SNE Special Projects, and Tundra Security Afghanistan. The new enterprise, Janus Global Operations, builds on the company’s 28 year history of stability operations and expands the company’s global footprint and ability to scale in some of the world’s most austere locations.
The combined company, Janus Global Operations, possesses unparalleled access, localized licensing, and infrastructure to provide munitions response; demining; intelligence support; logistics; life support; risk management; and communications solutions to government and large multi-national corporations around the world. The newly integrated risk management capability enables immediate access to strategic regions in North Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, and Southwest Asia.
“Our rebranding to Janus Global Operations is part of our business plan to increase our global scalability and ensure a fully integrated capability for our clients,” said Dale Allen, vice president, commercial programs. Janus Global Operations is poised for unprecedented growth and expansion as the “go-to” multi-national leader that commercial organizations and governments can rely on to get the job done.”
“Driven by regional instability and violent extremism growing around the world, Janus Global Operations understands the new complexities and is capable of delivering solutions to meet the global operational demands of any client” said Alan Weakley, president and chief operating officer.
Janus Global Operations’ integrated capabilities are already at work around the world helping to protect clients and their critical assets and making the world a safer place for some of the most at risk communities.
“We are tremendously excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for Janus. Our aligned and fully integrated enterprise will offer our clients a more comprehensive solution to their stability operations requirements while fully aligning with our clients’ goals of social responsibility and corporate citizenship.” said Weakley.
Sagent Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to Sterling Global Operations on its combination with Janus Security International.
About Janus:
Janus Global Operations is a stability operations company with more than 7,000 employees serving clients in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Janus’ services include munitions response; demining; intelligence support; logistics; life support; risk management; communications; and other services in some of the world’s most challenging and hostile environments.

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Film: War Dogs

Oh yeah, this looks good. If anyone remembers the company AEY Inc. and their fraudulent contracts with the government, here is their story in the form of a comedy. The government absolutely dropped the ball when it came to it’s contracting procedures, and sleazeball dorks like these guys took advantage. Here is a backgrounder on it via wikipedia.

Efraim Diveroli is a former American arms dealer. His company, AEY Inc., was a weapons contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense. Convicted in January 2011 of fraud, he was sentenced to four years in federal prison.

On March 27, 2008, the U.S. government suspended AEY Inc. for infringing upon the terms of its contract; in violation of a pre-existing arms embargo, the company was accused of supplying ammunition manufactured in China to the Afghan National Army and police. United States Army documents showed that the company totaled more than $200 million in contracts to supply ammunition, assault rifles, and other weapons in 2007. As a result of publicity surrounding the contract, the United States Army began a review of its contracting procedures.

A company Diveroli owns, Ammoworks, continued selling arms while he awaited trial for conspiracy.  In late August 2008, he pled guilty on one count of conspiracy, and was sentenced to four years in prison on January 4, 2011. He was further sentenced for possessing a weapon while out on bond.

His former employee, David Packouz, was sentenced to seven month’s house arrest. Packouz later went on to invent a guitar pedal drum machine, the BeatBuddy.

After his release from prison, Diveroli was sued in Florida State court by his cousin, Joseph Wachtel, for extortion.

The story of Diveroli and Packouz is the subject of an upcoming Todd Phillips comedy film, War Dogs, starring Jonah Hill as Diveroli and Miles Teller as Packouz. The film is due for release on August 19, 2016.

Actually, there is a lot more of these types of stories that could be done. Lots of material.

You could classify movies like this as the new Pentagon Wars… lol –Matt

War Dogs website here.

War Dogs Facebook here.

 

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David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli of AEY Inc.

 

War Dogs (previously known as Arms and the Dudes) is an upcoming American biographical criminal comedy film directed by Todd Phillips and written by Phillips, Jason Smilovic and Stephen Chin, based on the Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson. Lawson has since written a book titled Arms and the Dudes detailing the story. The film follows two arms dealers, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who get a government contract to supply weapons for US troops in Afghanistan. The film stars Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, Ana de Armas and J. B. Blanc. Filming began on March 2, 2015 in Romania. The film is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on August 19, 2016.
Two arms dealers, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, secure a $300 million government contract to supply weapons for US allies in Afghanistan. They soon find themselves in danger abroad and in trouble back home.

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Year In Review: 2015 Google Analytics Report For Feral Jundi

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Well, it is good to be back home from my contract and diving back into the blogging game again.

I wanted to knock out my annual report for Feral Jundi and make sure that it is on the record. The numbers are smaller this year, and with work, my blogging has decreased. But I still have some good data to share.

My overall stats for the blog for 2015 is 100,621 visits and 137,639 page views. That brings my total life time visits to 1,650,139 and page view total at 2,501,277 (January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2015). My first post for the blog was on January 22, 2008.

So it has been eight years of blogging and getting the word out. I am pretty proud of what I have accomplished with the site and I plan on continuing the effort. I am still very passionate about the profession and communicating to the masses out there about what it is we do and where this industry is going.

With that said, lets check out some of the statistics from last year. The 2014 review, I focused on total lifetime stats, and this time I will focus specifically on 2015.

For demographics in 2015, here you go:

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The trend is obvious, and I found this out last year. Millennials make up a big part of my readership and a good proportion of men and women read the blog. I see the trend at Facebook as well, and I am seeing interest in the industry from all quarters.

This last year was the first time the military opened up the combat arms field to females. This is huge and will have impact on this industry. Most of the jobs require a combat arms background, and as more women obtain that kind of experience, they will be competitive.

So will we see more women working in this field? I have yet to see it on contracts, but I know there are women out there working security contracts overseas. They are definitely working in the non-combat arms type contract jobs but they are few and far between for the gun jobs. Time will tell and I will keep my eye out for it.

The top ten countries that have visited the site, and in this order are the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, Germany, France, South Africa, Turkey, and Iraq. Some other mentions would be Afghanistan, UAE, India, Kenya and Russia. I did a few posts that involved some of these countries, and specifically Russia, and it is cool to see more interest from those areas.

I am getting a lot of new visitors still, thanks to good SEO. I am at 85,763 new visitors to 14,858 old visitors in 2015. The average page session is 1.37 pages per visit, with a about a minute on site. Which happens when I am not able to blog as much and there is not as much new content to consume.

As for the software side of things, most folks are visiting using Chrome, Safari, and Firefox browsers. For hardware, 57,538 visitors used their desktop to visit, 34,318 used their mobile phone and 8,765 used a tablet. So having a web site optimized for all three is pretty important. I use WPtouch Pro as a plugin to optimize the site for mobile and tablet. iPhone, iPad and Samsung Galaxy products are the top devices.

Now onto content. For 2015, my top post was Job Tips: How To Get Into Security Contracting Without a Military Or Police Background but for posts that were written in 2015, my Industry Talk: GardaWorld Buys Aegis Group For Expansion Into Africa and ME was tops. News like this and the Olive Group and Constellis Group merger were of big interest because of how that stuff impacts the job. With the contraction of the industry and the winding down of the wars, companies are having to resort to mergers and partnerships to survive. I have only commented about the security contracting related companies out there that have merged, but overall, we are seeing the same thing in other areas of defense.

The readership out there is still hungry for job news and I continue to get interest via emails from all over the world on how to get into this industry. That Job Tips post is pretty old, but still doing it’s thing.

The second best post was Leadership: The Proud Prussian Tradition of ‘Disobedience’. This last year, I have been completely absorbed with all things Mission Command and EBFAS. These are some ideas and concepts that are applicable to this industry and I would love to see them catch on. So writing posts about the Prussians and their influence on war fighting and leadership is helpful to bigger conversation.

Leadership has been a passion of mine at this blog, and I am constantly focused on trying to find the good stuff that will help companies and my fellow contractors develop their process and cultures.

The Russian contractor stuff and the UAE Australian chief post were big hits as well. Former members of the Slavonic Corps, went on to form PMC Wagner in Syria, and they took casualties last year as well.

Still, my favorite post last year was about STTEP in Nigeria. I think this was a huge deal and they had a major impact on the war, all the way up until they had to leave because of new leadership in Nigeria.

On the legal front, there were the Raven 23 guys or Blackwater Nisur Square folks that were imprisoned after a long and drawn out legal battle. Their families and friends are still fighting for appeals.

We also have the Seaman Guard Ohio contractors that have been imprisoned in India who are fighting an intense legal battle there. I was hoping they would be freed before Christmas, but that did not happen. Instead they were sentenced to 5 years hard labor! Horrible news….

And finally, the top Call to Action was the Support The Glen Anthony Doherty Overseas Security Personnel Fairness Act. What happened in Benghazi was a tragedy and there is much to learn from that incident.

As for ISIS and Al Qaeda, the effort is still ongoing. AQ has made big gains in Yemen, and ISIS has been making big moves in Libya and holding the territory they got. Boko Haram was extremely active and dangerous last year and Al Shabab is still active in Somalia. So the jihadist front is not diminished at all. I suspect we will see more of the same this year, to include Paris-like attacks and more territory gains by jihadist groups.

We are also seeing more contractor involvement in places like Iraq. As the troops surge in, so do the contractors.

Afghanistan is not looking good. The Taliban have taken back quite a few districts last year, so they are taking territory like nobody’s business. I suspect you will see them continue to press the fight this spring and summer and gain even more territory. The Afghans are lacking in so many areas, to include an inability to pay salaries because of corruption, that I just do not see things getting better.

On a cool note, we have seen an interesting cultural shift of sorts. The presentation of security contractors as ‘heroes’ in a major motion picture film! I am talking about the 13 Hours film, directed by Michael Bay. It did pretty good considering the topic. This is an election year and the movie brings attention to an incident that happened under the watch of one of the candidates. Politics tends to bleed over into the entertainment world and their view of things–especially in reviews of movies that could help or hurt their favorite candidate. There is that, plus security contractors have never been viewed as hero subjects in movies–because of the politics of the subject. Although I do not think the film was intentionally political and it is a great supplement to the book if folks want to learn more about the incident.

Predictions for this new year? More of the same as last year. I think work will still be there for folks if they want it, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Contractors will be pretty important because of the limited military presence in those countries and because of the support these military and various aid/investment groups will need. I also see more mergers and consolidations happening within the industry.

Personally, I will continue to blog as much as I can and you can also find me hanging out over at Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I have been very active at FB when I can and FB is still my goto place for getting a good feel for what is going on out there. Here is to another year of contracting! –Matt

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