Congrats to TC, but I have to say that I am not too interested in promoting their job for this. For the simple reason that the pay is too low and the leave schedule sucks. As it stands now, you have to work 344 days in order to get the bonus. That’s if the contract is still in place after a year. Who knows what will happen in Afghanistan a year out?

The other thing is burn out. Work is nice, but if you are working 12 hour days for 344 days out of the year, then that is a horrible schedule. For that reason, I think TC is going to have a tough time keeping this thing staffed. What I could see happening with this  is that guys use this contract as a ‘stepping stone’ contract in order to get into a better paying/better leave schedule job. Especially for those guys that have families.

In my opinion, I think this is a poorly constructed contract if these are the terms. The industry standard (in my opinion) for pay in a war zone like Afghanistan or Iraq should be more in the neighborhood $400 to $600 a day for static, to reflect the various management positions and seniority of contractors within the company. I should also note that such contracts like WPS is an excellent model for an ‘industry standard’ for pay. That is what this contract should have been modeled after, and DoS’s WPS program get’s it right in that department.

The industry standard for leave should be more around 2 to 3 months on, and about 1 month off. That is a great leave schedule, and the contract should allow some flexibility within that leave schedule to allow for emergencies and contractor personal choice. Requiring a contractor to work 344 days in a war zone is a recipe for disaster. Guys will burn out and their families will hate them for being away that long. I doubt that you will even see guys complete the contract to get the bonus, just because they will jump on the first gig that comes up with better pay and a better leave schedule. I know that is what I would do.

Even the hours worked is dumb. In my personal opinion, an 8 hour shift, working 6 days a week with one day ‘off’, is far better than a 12 hour shift 6 days a week. (especially if you are wearing kit all day long and working 344 days a year) I will also say that if this contract does lose guys because they burn out, that those left on the contract will be working a lot of hours without any days off. Just ask the AGNA guys what that is like when contractors bail ship because the company sucks or there are better gigs elsewhere. The guys that are left are the ones having to make up for a lack of manpower.

It is also a threat to the security readiness of a base, and could lead to a default on contract if there is a high attrition rate. Staffing a contract is serious business, and if folks are jumping ship because it sucks, then that has all sorts of consequence. Now imagine low staffing and low morale throughout a guard force because of being over worked, mixed with a high enemy threat or even enemy attacks?  We are not talking about security at some mall in Sandusky Ohio, we are talking about the protection of FOB’s filled with military and civilians in an active war zone, all depending upon that contracted guard force and it’s abilities.

In other words, this contract will have issues. That’s too bad, because I thought the Marines would have been smarter about this, and especially when they had more choice in the formation of this ‘best value’ contract. They should have asked this community what an appropriate contract would look like, and it just seems to me like they created another TWISS-like contract. Too bad…

The other thing I was curious about is if Triple Canopy gets paid for every guy they train?  Meaning when they train a contractor for this gig, they bill the government all the relevant costs. Why this matters is if the contract sucks and is set up to be a revolving door contract for guys, then TC will have to train up more contractors to keep it staffed. So what is TC’s incentive for training these guys and keeping them on the contract in Afghanistan? If anything, they benefit from a contract where contractors ‘don’t’ stick around so they can keep charging the government for training.

Which brings up another crucial point. When you set up a revolving door contract like this, then you lose something that is absolutely vital to organizations and security in war zones. Unit cohesion. Imagine being on a contract where no one sticks around? Where a new contractor shows up every week, or the management jumps ship every other week? Talk about instability. lol So basically you will have a contract where folks are constantly adjusting to new people, and all along you will have the security of a FOB to focus on. How can you trust the guy to the left and right of you, if A. you don’t know who they are and don’t know if they will be there from week to week.

Unit cohesion is so hard to create in a company anyways, but if the contract itself does not lend itself towards making contractors happy and keeping them on the gig, then you can kiss any kind of unit cohesion good bye. And actually, that will be a cause of internal problems. I dare any military unit to try the same thing in a war zone, and see what the end result becomes. And this is what you want protecting these bases?

I sometimes wonder if the military should be setting up these contracts in the first place. How is it that the federal government understands how to set up these things (like WPS), but the military does not?  Could it be that the military purposely constructs poor contracts because contractors are the competition? What incentive do the Marines have in constructing a contract where a company that comes in to replace their Marine force, does a better job than that Marine force– because the contract lends itself to success?  Why would they want that company to be successful, and ‘show them up’?  Food for thought when it comes to the public versus private discussion about this industry, and when it comes to the principal-agent problem.

Finally, it is very simple to understand the game here. You find the industry standard within that war zone, and you stick to that standard. If you want to lose people and could care less about the quality of the contract/services, then by all means set up your contract below that industry standard. Go cheap, pay peanuts, and get your monkey’s.

On the other hand, if you want to attract the best of the best within an industry, then you need to offer incentives that are ‘better’ than the industry standard. And if you want a best value contract that has some degree of stability, then match what the industry standard is, choose a good reputable company, and manage it well. That is my thoughts on the matter. –Matt


Triple Canopy Awarded $159.9m for Afghanistan Security Services
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Triple Canopy, Reston, Va., was awarded a $159,972,048 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the security services in Afghanistan. Work will be performed in Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 26, 2017. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with eight bids received.  The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W560MY-12-C-0002).
Link to news here.
From thread at SOCNET Forum
@camp leatherneck
$200 daily
6-12 hr days a week with the possibility for more hours
(1) 21 day leave period
12k bonus for contract completion
2 week train up on TC site followed by deployment @camp lejune
From Triple Canopy’s Career section–Afghan Guard, Afghanistan
Position Responsibilities
-Act as armed security officer
-Responsible for internal security shift
-Perform unarmed screener duties by searching visitors, their vehicles and their belongings. Screeners will be proficient utilizing hand-held metal detectors, walk-through metal detectors and High throughput personnel inspection systems.
-Possess the capacity to acquire a good working knowledge of all aspects of contract security
-Must satisfactorily complete all Government required (and supplied) training and certifications prior to employment
Essential Skills and Experience
-US Citizen
-Must have a valid US Driver’s License and US Tourist Passport
-Honorable discharge from the military (if applicable)
-Able and willing to DEPLOY for one (1) year with one (1) 21-day R&R rotation
-Posses or be able to obtain a DOD Secret Level Clearance.
-Be at least 25 years of age
-Posses one (1) year of Military/ Police experience to include the use of personnel and vehicle security screening devices.
-Preferred security experience in the Middle East region.
-Possess a certificate of successful completion of a basic or advanced security guard training and certification program administered or recognized by the Government or professional organizations
-Must have no felony or domestic violence conviction. Record of recent recurring misdemeanors may adversely impact candidate’s suitability rating
-Employment with Triple Canopy is contingent upon a favorable background check to Include no serious financial problems in the past seven (7) years
Physical Demands and Work Environment
Able to perform internal security guard services, at any potential internal security posting, for 12 hours, while donning all required personal protective gear.