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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
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.

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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Industry Talk: ACADEMI And Triple Canopy Merge Under Constellis Holdings!

After being away for awhile, and coming back into the blogging and social media scene, I had to choose what story I wanted to talk about that is the most interesting to the community. There is so much going on out there that it is kind of overwhelming to find an entry point back into the mix. With that said, this site is dedicated to PMSC news and I believe this merger story is pretty damn interesting. Enter ‘Triple Academi’… lol

This is big news. A merger between Triple Canopy and ACADEMI, along with other companies that were part of the Constellis Group package, are now all gathered under the Constellis Holdings, Inc. umbrella. The list of companies in the form of a graphic is posted below, complements of Danger Zone Jobs.

So the first thing to go over, seeing how I am coming in late on this story, is to see what has been said. Over at Soldier Systems, they posted the news and the comments are telling. Some fear that pay will drop now that the companies are consolidating. Especially when TC and ACADEMI are running contracts that mirror each other in Afghanistan, like the Leatherneck and Dwyer gigs, and yet both companies have different pay schemes. I suspect that the current contracts signed by independent contractors will remain in place. But for future contracts signed by IC’s, will the pay be the same now that both companies are under the same ownership? Who knows?…

The other fear is that one company’s culture might clash with the other company’s culture and the way they do business. There is always the perception with competing companies, that the other guy doesn’t know what they are doing or are poor service providers or have a terrible culture/system in place. My guess is that the companies will still do their own thing and any changes will be minor. But you never know, and there might be plans to ‘change’ things around.

The changes that were announced were the consolidation of training at ACADEMI’s training facility, which will be a huge savings. Triple Canopy has a portion of the WPS contract as well, and to be able to tap into a world class training facility at Moyoc, will absolutely lead to savings. Hopefully those savings will help all companies involved realize that salaries should not be messed with, especially since IC’s and employees will know of these savings.

To get a feel for what the WPS guys and other contractors are saying about this merger’s impact on the WPS program, go over to SOCNET and follow their thread. The pay is the big issue.

Another change that was announced in the press release was to have all companies answer to one CEO, and that would be Craig Nixon of ACADEMI. The quote below says it all.

The combined ownership group will employ more than 6,000 of the industry’s most experienced and best-trained employees and will be led by CEO Craig Nixon.

That is like being in command of a brigade, and seeing how Mr. Nixon was actually a Brigadier General in the US Army, he should be somewhat familiar with the size and scope of leading such a large group. Although running a private company versus a military unit has it’s own set of unique challenges and he also has a board of directors to answer too. He can also tap into an excellent sounding board for ideas over at the McChrystal Group. Perhaps even fire up a management school at ACADEMI and implement some CrossLead or something like that for it’s leaders? Or better yet, contract the services of Adaptive Leader LLC… Just saying.
The other big news with this is that by proxy, Blackwater or ACADEMI, is now back in Iraq! lol With the merger of TC, which has WPS contracts in Iraq, by proxy, ACADEMI now has some ‘family’ in Iraq. It is ironic as well, that TC was the company that took over the WPS contracts from BW back in the day after the whole Nisour Square fallout.
Triple Canopy is also holding the line at the US Embassy in Baghdad, along with the Marines and Army that have been sent to protect. TC also has WPS contracts in the south of Iraq. To get a feel for what they are doing there, here is an OIG report from March of 2013 that details that stuff. (the numbers of security contractors have probably changed since the report, but they referenced the company’s muster list as 1200 contractors dedicated to the Embassy and the INL-Iraq program)

As to how this merger impacts TC’s ESOP program, I have no clue. Will this mega merger form an ESOP that everyone can participate in, who knows?

One suggestion to the companies is to communicate clearly with everyone in your chain, exactly what changes will happen. I imagine they are already doing this, but I can’t stress enough how important this is for the sake of those guys working out in the field and making things happen for these companies. Keep your people informed and a part of the process!
My final point, is for contract bids in the future. The companies within this merger have strength in numbers. They can bid lower, now that they have resources within the group of companies. Especially with training or personnel management. So Constellis Holdings will be a big player when it comes to bidding on contracts and they will leverage their advantage big time.
Well, this is all the commentary I have on the subject right now. I will make edits as information comes in and I invite the companies to make any announcements through this site if they wish. Mergers and Acquisitions in this industry are not new and I have written about it in the past and how this was predicted as the wars wind down. So the question is, who will merge next? –Matt


The current list of companies within the Constellis Holdings Inc merger. Photo by Danger Zones Jobs.

Constellis Holdings, Inc. Acquires Constellis Group, Inc.
June 06, 2014
Constellis Holdings, Inc. has agreed to acquire Constellis Group, Inc., a leading provider of security, support and advisory services to government, multinational corporations and international organizations operating in challenging environments around the world. Constellis Holdings was formed by the founders of Triple Canopy and the private equity investors who formed ACADEMI.
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Industry Talk: The Slavonic Corps–A Russian PMSC In Syria

“A large field between Lattakia and Tartous, surrounded by barbed wire. That is where our battalion and the Syrian reservists were stationed. It used to be a racecourse. We were housed in the former stables. By October there were 267 people from the ‘Slavonic Corps’, split into two companies. One company was made up of Kuban Cossacks, the other had people from all over Russia; there were 10 or 12 men from Petersburg. The bosses said that the numbers of the corps in Syria was expected to reach up to 2,000 men.”
In addition to assault rifles, the battalion received machine guns and grenade launchers. They had anti-aircraft guns, 1939 models. The mortars were from 1943. Crews were formed for the four T-72 tanks and some BMP (infantry fighting vehicles). The question of how appropriate the weapons were, for the task of protecting “facilities,” came up quickly, even from the most gullible, and was addressed. “Did you come to fight or to guard? Whoever guards is on eternal kitchen patrol.” Those were the words of the commander’s reply. The manager of the project was Vadim Gusev, known to many as the deputy director of Moran Security Group.

This is a unique story that I wanted to get out there for folks to check out. My post about Assad approving the use of PMSC’s was a record post on FJ, and stories like this are very interesting to the community. I also wanted to put this out so that those who were involved with this contract in Syria can respond. The last couple of weeks I have been asking around on FB and nothing has come up. I suspect that it is mostly a language deal and that Russians have not been hanging on English based FB groups. So hopefully this post will get their attention via Google Search.

Basically, this company was contracted to guard ‘and’ do other things in Syria, for the Assad side. Apparently the contractors recruited by this company were victim to the whole bait and switch game, and as soon as they got on the ground, the company changed the contract to a more kinetic operation . So the company I believe is at fault for not being honest in their recruitment from the get go, and not preparing their people for this kind of contract. As  a result, the Slavonic Corps had a poor showing in Syria, it was poorly led and managed, and the contract signed with the client was poorly written. The result was a company running out of Syria with it’s tale between it’s legs, and creating a bunch of unpaid and pissed off contractors. Here is a quote about recruitment:

This was never understood. “When they spoke to us in Russia, they explained that we were going on a contract with the Syrian government, they convinced us that everything was legal and in order. Like, our government and the FSB were on board and involved in the project. When we arrived there, it turned out that we were sent as gladiators, under a contract with some Syrian or other, who may or may not have a relationship with the government… That meant that we were the private army of a local kingpin. But there was no turning back. As they said, a return ticket costs money, and we’ll work it off, whether we like it or not.” As they told the Slavonic Corps troops, the job came down to maintaining control over the centre of the oil industry, in the town of Deir ez-Zor. In order to be in control of it, we had to reach it. More than 500 kilometres across territory occupied by government troops, by the opposition or by completely unknown forces.

Crazy, but this sounds way too familiar from my experience in contracting. But I am not going to let the contractors that signed up for this off that easy. These guys did not do their due diligence before accepting the contract. It sounded like the recruiters attracted a lot of desperate and naive folks who really wanted to believe this was a good deal. I wonder if the Russians have a forum or Facebook group to go to, so they can ask questions to their community about companies like the Slavonic Corps or the Moran Security Group? Because if they would have had a SOCNET or a Feral Jundi or an Eeben Barlow, they could have gotten some second opinions that would have squared them away.  Here is a great quote from another Russian PMSC called the RSB Group, about the idiocy of this contract:

In the words of the professional: This is a crazy scheme
After asking Vyacheslav Kalashnikov several times to speak on the subject of Syria, and having received no answer, Fontanka turned to the head of Russia’s largest private military company, the “RSB Group,” for comment. Oleg Krinitsyn is certain: the Syrian story of the Slavonic Corps was a crazy scheme from the start.
“The widely advertised campaign to recruit mercenaries for Syria initially sounded like a stunt, a kind of PR campaign. Later on, people believed it and were drawn to their dream – to make money. But not all of them understood that this money was dirty, and possibly bloody. Before sending people to a country where there is active fighting, where there is a virtual ‘layer cake’ of the Syrian Army, the opposition fighters, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra etc, it’s essential to prepare them, as well as to understand how to get them out of there. Among those guys, photographed against a backdrop of Syrian equipment, festooned with weapons, I noticed a few of our former employees, who had been dismissed because of their poor moral character. I saw guys with criminal records amongst them. This once again confirms that the aim of the recruiters was not to attract high quality professionals, but just to plug a ‘hole’ with cannon fodder, and fast. And the boys were sent on contracts that resembled contracts for suicide missions. Right away, people signed a contract that included a will to bury their remains in their homeland, or if that proved impossible, in the nation where they died, and then be reburied in Russia. Dreadful.

Luckily for these guys, they were saved by a sand storm. Having experienced these types of storms in the middle east, I can say these things can get pretty dense. Quote:

It could be regarded as a great success that, out of the whole corps, a total of six people were wounded, two of them seriously. It should be pointed out that all of the wounded were removed from the battlefield and returned home with all the others. “We were saved by a sandstorm, we were enveloped by it on our retreat, but it hid us from the local mujahedeen. There was so much sand that you couldn’t see anything. But thanks to that, we are alive.”

These guys also paid the price when after fighting their way out of Syria, they had to deal with authorities when they came back home. The FSB was heavily involved from the sounds of it and this is also an interesting angle to this story. One of the articles I posted below talked about the FSB connection to this company and contract:

For instance, the head of the Slavonic Crops was a commander in the FSB reserve. New York University professor Mark Galeotti has studied the way the Russian security apparatus operates. In an interview for The Interpreter on the topic, he told me that private military contractors would need to clear all such operations with the FSB, which would mean that the FSB has placed Syria on the list of nations where foreign operations were approved. Galeotti went even further. When asked whether he thought there were more Russian mercenaries fighting for the Assad government inside Syria, he said that this was “likely,” and it’s not just mercenaries who are helping Assad:
“I anticipate that ‘mercenary’ is merely a cover story for Russian soldier or spook, just as the “Russian engineers” working on Syrian air defense systems are going to be military.”
There is significant reason to believe that the FSB knew about the mission. But as Thursday’s story in Foreign Policy explains, the Russian government had good reason to clip the mercenaries’ wings:
It’s not hard to surmise why the FSB would have turned on a company it may have given tacit support to send men into Syria. The mercenaries performed poorly in the field, and proof of their illicit activity had been plastered all over the Internet, so not tossing Gusev and Sidorov in the clink might have caused the kind of scandal that even an unembarrassable Kremlin would want to avoid. Moscow has been outspoken in its criticism of U.S. and Arab arms transfers to Syria’s rebels, even as its own state arms export company dispatches more and more sophisticated hardware to Assad, according to the State Department’s Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria. The Kremlin is also trying to ensure that the imperiled Geneva II peace conference takes place in December, just in time for the regime to be in a much-strengthened negotiating position after a series of tactical gains on the battlefield.

So with that said, I think the Russians were anticipating that the West was going to make this into an ’embarrassing deal’ by plastering it all over the news. So for them, as soon as the whole thing went bad, they took the side of shock and disgust. Check out how they tried to whitewash this incident when these guys came back.

Despite the fact that, according to the contract, the assignment was supposed to last five months, in the last days of October the personnel were loaded onto two chartered planes and sent to Moscow. They were not expecting such a reception to be awaiting their arrival at Vnuknovo. As they disembarked the aircraft one by one, each fell into the hands of FSB officers. There was a quick inspection, the removal of SIM cards and any other media, and a brief questioning as witnesses. Then followed the removal of their passports, non-disclosure forms, and tickets home. Vadim Gusev, who had flown in business class and left the plane first, remained in the hands of the investigators. As they explained at the Moran Security Group, he and another employee of the company, Evgeny Sidorov, who was responsible for human resources, were arrested in a criminal case brought by the FSB’s metropolitan command under the never-before applied Article 359 of the Criminal Code – mercenary activities.

Did I mention that the contractors involved will not be getting paid the 4,000 dollars they were promised!…. Yikes, what a soup sandwich.

Well, that is about all I have on this one. Just some commentary on what has already been reported. If anyone has any interesting side notes on this story, I would be curious to hear about it. I also posted some links to the companies involved in this story and some good posts about the Slavonic Corps below. –Matt

Foreign Policy story on the Slavonic Corps.

Moran Security Group is a member of the ICoC (number 385) and is a member of SAMI

The Slavonic Corps website here.

War is Boring post about it here.

Pieter Van Ostaeyan’s blog about it here. (he was able to dig up some interesting stuff)

Youtube video of one of the contractors thought to be dead, that survived and posted this.



The Last Battle of the “Slavonic Corps”
The story of the Russian mercenaries who went to war against Syrian rebels.
By Denis Korotkov
Originally published by Fontanka on November 14, 2013
Translated by Pierre Vaux November 16, 2013
A Syrian rebel group claims that it has ambushed and killed a group of Russian mercenaries who may have been working for a Chinese security contractor. The jihadist fighters from an Al Qaeda affiliate “Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS)” claim to have killed the mercenaries in a battle near Homs. At least one of the mercenaries, however, has been videotaped alive and well, and living back in Russia.
The large and well-respected St. Petersburg newspaper, Fontanka, has published an article, translation by The Interpreter, entitled “St. Petersburg Sends Contractors to Syria.” It details the investigation that uncovered the existence of Russian mercenaries defending sensitive installations important to the Assad government in Syria. The contractors appear to have been recruited in St. Petersburg by a company based in Hong Kong.
We also know that the mercenaries appear to have been operating in As-Sukhnah, east of Palmyra, on the road between Deir Ez Zor and Homs. Jihadists have long wanted to capture the town, and nearby Palmyra, because securing this road would link their forces from the east to the west. The Assad regime, on the other hand, has had difficulty sparing the resources to defend the position, as it is far away from the major cities which are heavily embattled. According to the initial investigation by Fontanka, the mission of the mercenaries was to secure key regime assets, away from the front lines, in order for Assad forces to concentrate on removing “bandits” in other areas. However, it appears that the oil fields that the Russians were supposed to be guarding were in rebel control, and the team was really tasked with getting them back.
The following translation is an update from Fontanka. It says that one of the key players in the military contracting company is a reservist officer in the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), lieutenant colonel Vyacheslav Kalashnikov. The FSB, therefore, were aware on some level that the Moran Security Group was sending Russian mercenaries to Syria to fight for Assad. However, the mercenary group was shut down and several mercenaries were arrested upon their return to Russia. A major Russian contractor says that this was not an FSB mission, but a mission designed to look like an FSB mission. The insinuation is that a pro-rebel group hired the Russians in order to lead them into a trap, kill them, and show their bodies on television.
All of the pictures on the original Fontanka article were also posted in the one we already translated. Instead, these pictures of the Russian mercenaries were posted on a Russian social network (except the one that states it was from Fontanka). – Ed.

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Company Spotlight: Paramount Group Talks About Security In Africa

Below I have posted a couple of interesting stories about Paramount Group and it’s background. As you can see from it’s Wikipedia page, it is heavily involved with a lot of areas of defense in Africa and they are the largest PMSC in Africa. So when Ivor Ichikowitz (the founder and executive chairperson of the company) talks about private security in Africa, I tend to listen.

I also posted a side deal about an aircraft they donated to help in the war against Rhino poachers. This is a great move by the company because poachers are destroying one of Africa’s top treasures–it’s animals. They also had a vehicle showcased in the popular TV show called Top Gear.

The last article I posted below was not about Paramount Group specifically, but about private security in Africa in general. It talked about the focus of other large companies like G4S in Africa, and it is a great compare and contrast article after reading what Paramount mentioned. If companies want to know what to focus on when delving into this market, it pays to study the market leaders of this continent. Check it out. –Matt



From the website

Paramount Group is the largest privately owned defence and aerospace business in Africa, providing fully integrated turnkey solutions to global defence, peacekeeping and internal security forces.
Since its inception in 1994, Paramount has built strong relationships with governments and government agencies in over 30 countries around the world, earning an enviable reputation as a trusted advisor in the industry.
The Group is a leading innovator in the design and development of state-of-the-art products that it manufactures in locations throughout the world.  It is partnered with some of the world’s largest and most reputable organisations in the global defence community. The Paramount Group has the ability to understand its client requirements and to use its unique knowledge and experience to design cost-effective, future-proof solutions. As a result, Paramount has enjoyed strong growth and achieved an excellent track record of delivering successful projects.

From Wikipedia
Paramount Group is a group of companies operating in the global defence, internal security and peacekeeping industries. It was founded in South Africa in 1994 and offers a range of armoured vehicles, military aircraft, equipment and training to governments.
The company was founded by South African entrepreneur and industrialist Ivor Ichikowitz. The Group is based in South Africa, with its headquarters near Johannesburg.
Paramount Group manufactures a range of armoured vehicles – the Maverick, Mbombe, Matador and Marauder – and in 2011 unveiled AHRLAC, a long-range reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft. AHRLAC is the first aircraft to be designed and built from scratch in Africa.
The business has government clients in 28 countries and partnerships with leading international defence and aerospace players, including Aerosud Holdings Ltd, its partner in the development of AHRLAC (Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft).
In February 2011, Paramount Group announced a joint venture with Abu Dhabi – based defence business International Golden Group to market and distribute Paramount Group’s products and services in the United Arab Emirates.
Paramount Group’s Marauder featured in an episode of the BBC’s Top Gear programme. Television show presenter Richard Hammond took the vehicle on a test drive in South Africa to put the vehicle through its paces in comparison to a Humvee in a bid to find ‘the world’s toughest car.’ The programme was broadcast in July 2011.
AHRLAC was launched in September 2011 and described by commentators, including the Wall Street Journal, as filling a niche for a versatile, low-cost aircraft.


Security Is Key To Africa’s Economic Rise
By Ivor Ichikowitz, chairman of Paramount Group, Africa’s biggest private defence company.
Ivor Ichikowitz reports
22 November 2012
The most important single factor in boosting an emerging economy is a stable state. I believe that all things flow from this.
Capitalism is the most powerful driving force behind Africa’s economic development but businesses must be able to be run without the fear of suddenly losing all their assets in unexpected or undemocratic changes in government.
Criminals, terrorists and rebel groups further undermine economic activity across the continent and need to be effectively countered. It has been estimated, for example, that over 10% of Nigeria’s oil production is stolen between source and sale by criminal gangs, including groups who tap directly into long pipelines that are extremely vulnerable to theft in isolated areas.

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Company Spotlight: Conquiro

Glyn Rosser, Managing Director of Conquiro comments, “The real-time advantage of having an aerial surveillance asset is obvious. Giving forewarning of anything from IED placements to ambushes, UAVs really are life-savers.”

This is cool. A friend of mine works for this company and he wanted to give me a heads up about what they are all about. So below is some information from their press release and from their website. Basically this is a PMSC with a focus on the use of UAV’s, and specifically the Aeryon Scout.

Last year during the Libyan uprising, I wrote about the Aeryon Scout being used by the rebels for ISR. Here is a link to that post and it gives you an idea as to it’s capabilities. I am sure Conquiro will go on to use other UAV’s as the technology improves, but the Aeryon definitely has operational history behind it.

The other thing I like about this company is that it kind of reminds me of a modern day version of John Hawkwood’s White Company, or a private military company that had a huge component of longbowmen. (drone archers) If you are interested in working for the company, go check out their career page or send them an email. –Matt

Twitter for Conquiro here.

Who We Are
Conquiro is a UK registered company that is made up of ex-British Army servicemen. All three Directors have served within Military Intelligence and UAV/ISTAR roles.
Formed in early 2012, Conquiro is the only company of its kind in the UK with operational experience and Subject Matter Expertise (SME) in UAV operations and consultancy.
What We Do
Conquiro provides Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or Systems, often referred to as UAV’s or UAS. Conquiro not only provides the equipment, but also SME operator pilots.
In addition, all of our pilots are trained security operators and have the training to analyze imagery obtained during deployment.
Not only do we provide system specific provision, but a full range of turn-key consultancy solutions for clients requiring UAV capabilities.
Our consultancy ranges from identification of suitable platforms, through to procurement, paperwork and bespoke training for in house UAV capabilities.
Our Equipment
Currently our workhorse UAV is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) platform. However, we work closely with UK based manufacturing representatives in order to provide clients with bespoke solutions, and can procure the best platform in order to match client needs.

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Company Spotlight: Mountain Men Security–A Crime Fighting, Man Tracking PSC

The development of Mountain Men’s Special Response Team (SRT) was as a result of an increase in home invasions, armed robberies and violent crime. Our SRT members are all trained man trackers and have the ability to track suspects who flee a crime scene. This is very helpful in areas where there are vast tracts of land, mountainous terrain and forests or green belts. These members have made a huge dent in criminal operations in the areas where they have been deployed. Together with specialized units of the South African Police Service, we have arrested armed robbers, wanted suspects, house breakers and recovered hundreds of thousands of rands worth of stolen property.
Our Armed Response Units and Protection Services Units all interact with our SRT members which makes us a formidable force in the fight against crime. We have made in excess of 2 640 arrests over the past 12 years, averaging 18 arrests per month for serious crimes.

The other day I was perusing Facebook and checking out some news with some of my readers and friends. One reader’s page I like to check out from time to time is David Scott-Donelan’s. He posted a picture from a trip to South Africa awhile back and talked about a private security company that he helped train in tactical tracking. That company is Mountain Men Security, and what they have done with that training is truly amazing.

Basically this company is providing a security service and a tracking service in conjunction with the South African Police. They are working together in a public/private partnership, and MMS’s is providing the hunters.

These hunters are called the SRT or special response team, and they are using the skills David taught them to track down criminals.  In the video below, you get a sample of what they are doing. I thought this was awesome, and this company deserves to be in my ‘company spotlight’ category.

In the past I discussed the value of tracking to security contractors, military and police. Groups like Koevoet or the Selous Scouts made great use of tracking to locate criminals or enemies. You hear of military or police forces using these skills from time to time, but a private security company using these skills is just rare and very cool. It is also producing results and making their services valuable to the local community.

So bravo to Mountain Men Security for making those skills work for them. Best of all, you can see their arrests made on the front of the website. The community they are protecting can actually see the value, and know that if a criminal is on the loose, these guys will soon be hunting them down. –Matt


The Scott-Donelan Tracking School website here.

Mountain Men Security website here.


The history of Mountain Men Security

In 1998 former South African Police Force Murder and Robbery detective, Allan Dillon, retired police officer, Patrick Freeman, and friend, Billy Bownes, began conducting neighbourhood crime prevention duties in the Lakeside area in their spare time as a result of an increase in criminal activities in the Lakeside area. With their combined police experience and good knowledge of the area, criminals were being apprehended whilst breaking into houses and motor vehicles and soon the community were calling the three crime fighters “The Mountain Men”.
This subsequently led to the formation of a security company which has grown from three persons patrolling Lakeside on bicycles and conducting observation duties from the mountain above Lakeside to a structured security company with 70 plus employees, a 24 hour control room which monitors alarm systems, dispatches our own armed response vehicles, monitors CCTV live and on event activations, as well as interfaces between SAPS, Metro Police, National Parks Board, Neighbourhood watches and members of the public.
As the face of crime continued to change in South Africa so did our approach to protecting our community and clients. We soon realized that an armed response service on its own is a reactive service and is in fact your last line of defence, not your first. We implemented crime fighting strategies and relooked at the way in which crime was being fought in our areas of operation.
The development of Mountain Men’s Special Response Team (SRT) was as a result of an increase in home invasions, armed robberies and violent crime. Our SRT members are all trained man trackers and have the ability to track suspects who flee a crime scene. This is very helpful in areas where there are vast tracts of land, mountainous terrain and forests or green belts. These members have made a huge dent in criminal operations in the areas where they have been deployed. Together with specialized units of the South African Police Service, we have arrested armed robbers, wanted suspects, house breakers and recovered hundreds of thousands of rands worth of stolen property.
Our Armed Response Units and Protection Services Units all interact with our SRT members which makes us a formidable force in the fight against crime. We have made in excess of 2 640 arrests over the past 12 years, averaging 18 arrests per month for serious crimes.
Our K9 Unit with a tracking dog has given us great results and has leveraged our manpower in the fight against crime. Presently we are expanding this unit.
As we move forward into the future we continue to embrace technology and raise the standard of training of our officers. We continue to offer our clients and the communities where we work an innovative and results based security service. TODAY, AN ARMED RESPONSE SERVICE ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
Company website here.

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