Archive for category Industry Talk

Aviation: USAF Plans To Massively Increase Red Air Contracts

Wow, this is cool. A big thanks to one of my readers for sending me this. The reason I wanted to post this here on the blog is because we are now going to see private companies, competing in the skies with the US Air Force for Top Gun style aggressor support training. So private pilots will be flying in company owned ‘fighter jets’, simulating air to air combat against the most advanced military air force on the planet. That is significant.

For one, it is just crazy to see the kinds of aircraft that these companies will be flying. Most are a mix of eastern bloc stuff, that is cost effective. But there is some other stuff that is pretty advanced. Did you know that DA Defense is actually gearing up to buy F 16’s? lol

I believe out of all the companies listed below, Draken International has the most privately owned jet aircraft. They were also the ones that were a part of the initial test at Nellis AFB for this concept. With this coming contract, I expect to see the numbers of aircraft increase for all of these companies.

I did not see how much this contract would be worth, but I expect it to be pretty sizable. We will see how it goes and I will make the edit when I hear of more info on this. Claire Lee Chennault‘s ghost is looking on with profound interest and envy. –Matt

Draken International website here.

Discovery Air Defence Service website here.

Airborne Tactical Advantage Company website here.

 

Draken International L-159.

 

USAF gears up for huge Red Air contracts
March 16th, 2017
The US Air Force plans to release a solicitation to industry for a massive 40,000 hours of contracted aggressor support training at 12 different bases. It comes following a year-long experiment at Nellis AFB, Nevada, for Draken International.
The multi-award contract, which is expected in January 2019, is huge and will have the existing contractor air service providers scrambling to win contracts.
The USAF says it will release a draft solicitation to industry in July as it seeks to provide the additional adversary air and support at 12 different bases. Nellis AFB alone will take 11,250 hours of the requested flight hours from the planned total 36,231 hours annually.
As well as Nellis, other installations that will benefit from additional red air comprise Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina; JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Holloman AFB, New Mexico; Eglin AFB, Florida; JB Langley-Eustis, Virginia; Tyndall AFB, Florida; Kingsley Field, Oregon; Luke AFB, Arizona; Hill AFB, Utah and Tucson Airport, Arizona.
The increased use of contractor owned, contractor operated (COCO) adversary aircraft has been building for several years. Air Combat Command (ACC) has conducted an analysis of Adversary Air (ADAIR) capabilities to fill a ‘significant gap’ in its training requirements. The service reportedly suffered from a shortage of adversary 3,000 sorties at Nellis AFB, Nevada, during 2016 and that number is expected to rise as F-35 training ramps up.
The USAF currently only operates two aggressor squadrons; the 18th AGRS at Eielson AFB, Alaska, and the 64th AGRS at Nellis. The 65th AGRS, that flew F-15C/Ds, disbanded in 2014. Draken International and Discovery Air Defence Services are both offering contractor air services, along with Textron, which in 2016 purchased the former ATAC (Airborne Tactical Advantage Co).
The service first evaluated the use of commercial ‘Red Air’ when it awarded a one-year contract to Draken International last September. During the ‘proof-of-concept’ evaluation Draken’s radar-equipped Skyhawks have been flying sorties from Nellis in support of the USAF Weapons School and the F-35 Joint Operational Test Team.
The latest RFI is seeking information regarding supersonic aircraft that are equipped with radar and limited sensor and datalink capabilities — it points to more F-16s.

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Industry Talk: Constellis To Acquire Centerra Group

Wow, this is big. Centerra Group (formerly Wackenhut/G4S Government Solutions) has 9,000 employees and Constellis is wanting to acquire them. So yeah, I would say that this will dramatically increase the size of the Constellis family, and this action is in addition to their other merger and acquisitions over the last couple of years.

From a quick glance at the kind of contracts they have, it looks like they are heavy into CONUS security stuff, like nuclear security. Their jobs page showed firefighter gigs, medical gigs, and support stuff as well, but lots of security jobs. So this move will definitely get Constellis into the game of DOE contracts in the US.

As to a little background of Centerra Group, they started out in 1960 as Wackenhut Services Inc. Then G4S bought them and called it G4S Government Solutions. Then in 2014, a private equity group called Alvarez & Marsal bought the business and renamed it Centerra Group. On a side note, Centerra Group also acquired a land mine clearance company called The Development Initiative. –Matt

Centerra Group webpage here.

Centerra-Nevada here.

 

 

CONSTELLIS ENTERS INTO DEFINITIVE AGREEMENT TO ACQUIRE CENTERRA GROUP
Transaction Unites Leaders in the Safety and Risk Management Sector
Enhances Constellis’ Domestic Presence and Enables Further Penetration of Key Customers, Notably the U.S. Department of Energy
Transaction to Be Supported by Committed Debt Financing Provided by Four Leading Financial Institutions
RESTON, Va. & PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fl. (March 13, 2017) — Constellis, a leading provider of operational support and risk management services, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Centerra Group, LLC (“Centerra”) and its subsidiaries from an affiliate of Alvarez & Marsal Capital. The acquisition of Centerra, a leading global government and critical infrastructure services company, will significantly enhance Constellis’ U.S. domestic presence and strengthen its relationships with key customers, including the U.S. Department of Energy and the United Nations.
The transaction is conditioned on customary regulatory reviews and approvals, and is expected to close within the second quarter of 2017. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The transaction brings together the industry’s two premier safety and risk management providers serving a broad range of customers, including U.S. government agencies (notably the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Energy), foreign governments, NGOs and a diverse mix of blue-chip commercial entities. The transaction furthers Constellis’ ongoing strategy of expanding its domestic presence serving well-funded customers with enduring requirements. Constellis will be able to leverage the combined entity’s scale, vertical integration, training facilities, shared best practices and financial resources to strengthen its best-in- class risk mitigation service offering, utilizing the industry’s most revered compliance programs.
Headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Centerra has approximately 9,000 employees operating across the U.S., Africa, the Middle East and other international locations. Centerra has an established track record of more than five decades operating domestically for the U.S. Department of Energy and currently provides operational support and risk management services at 15 U.S. Department of Energy sites across the U.S. In addition, Centerra provides security, fire suppression and base operations support to other U.S. Government customers, as well as humanitarian- focused services and training, such as munitions clearance and related consulting services, to the United Nations and foreign governments abroad.
“The acquisition of Centerra represents a critical step in our continued evolution as an essential service provider, enabling enduring missions for our customers,” said Jason DeYonker, Chief Executive Officer of Constellis. “Centerra greatly enhances our domestic footprint and accelerates our ongoing efforts to further penetrate the U.S. risk management market with such highly regarded customers as the U.S. Department of Energy. Centerra’s well respected brand, exceptional performance and strong leadership bring tremendous value to our combined offering.”
Paul Donahue, President and Chief Executive Officer of Centerra, commented: “We are excited by the combination of Centerra and Constellis, yielding the leading global provider of the most creative, compliant and comprehensive risk management services in the world. Constellis’ award winning compliance programs, exceptional training capabilities and commitment to invest in operational best practices will add value at less overall cost to our customers and partners.”
Financing
Constellis has secured financing commitments from Credit Suisse, Barclays, Citi and Goldman Sachs to fund the acquisition of Centerra and to refinance the combined company’s existing debt.
Advisors
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP are serving as legal advisors to affiliates of Apollo Global Management (together with its subsidiaries “Apollo”) and Constellis.
Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned that these forward-looking statements are only predictions and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and assumptions that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside the control of the Company. Therefore, actual results may differ materially and adversely, in terms of quantum and timing, from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements for any reason except as may be required by law.

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Industry Talk: Erik Prince Discusses Libya And Europe’s Migrant Crisis

This is excellent and Erik Prince did a great job defending his former company in this interview with Becky Anderson. What I thought was very interesting was the discussion of Libya and the immigration crisis plaguing Europe right now.

I would agree with Erik that the EU does not have the political will to do what is necessary in Libya to actually lock down it’s borders. But one point needs to be made when it comes to PMSC’s in Libya–they are already there. Europe’s oil interests in Libya have required security in one form or another for years now. I wrote about all sorts of security related stories in Libya starting in 2011, so it should be no shock to any observer of that conflict that industry has provided services there, or has ‘offered’ solutions to frustrated clients. Hell, the CEO of a major French PMSC, Secopex, was killed in Libya.

I would also argue that any security plan like this, should also be coupled with a grand strategic plan for Libya. The border might be squared away under a contract like this, but that will not remove the cause of why people are wanting to leave. The war needs to end there, and reconstruction along with the rule of law needs to be reestablished if they want to stop this migrant crisis. Security on the border is just one piece to a plan like that. But private industry can provide a solution for that.

The other thing that was interesting in this interview was the mention of Erik and the Trump administration.(he is a supporter) The question was posed wether the new administration will be good for the PMSC industry. At 06:58, this is where the video get’s interesting. “Is Libya a quick win for a Trump administration?” the interviewer asks, and I will let the reader check out what Erik had to say….

So maybe Libya is a space to be watching in 2017? –Matt 

 

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Strategy: The Future Of War, By Sean McFate

I really liked this presentation because it brings in all of the elements that I have been talking about on this blog, into a nice format that Dr. Sean McFate has put together. It is definitely worth your time to watch and absorb.

The thing that stood out to me was the discussion of the strategic uses of private forces or PMSC’s. He presents the case that A. the industry is not going away B. we are reverting back to a pre-westphalian era, and C. that the west might not want to use PMSC’s for waging war, but other countries like China or Russia have no issue with them.

It is that dynamic that is interesting to me. That countries are slowly going towards the use of PMSC’s to wage war, and they are doing it as a part of their national interest. Russia for example used their little green men hybrid warfare strategy in the Ukraine. Iran uses mercenaries in Syria. And then there is China and their use of maritime militias. Even with the west, contractors have been used in Iraq and Afghanistan as a way to supplement manpower shortages in this wars. The common theme here is that private forces are used as a part of a larger ‘strategy’, and this presentation challenges those who are closed minded or unaware of those uses. It forces the viewer to think about how PMSC’s are used, or could be used, strategically.

In the past, I have discussed all sorts of interesting ways that private forces have been used for the sake of national interest. The very first overseas land operation of the US was the Battle of Derna (Shores of Tripoli from the Marine Hymn) in Libya, where a small contingent of Marines/Army commanded several hundred Christian and Islamic mercenaries to fight in the First Barbary War. The early privateers that the US used in the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 were another example of the use of PMSC’s as a part of a larger strategy to support national interest. The Flying Tigers was another example of modern aviation PMSC’s, or Britain’s Watchguard International Lmtd. in Yemen, or even recently with STTEP in Nigeria. Private forces can be used to great effect, and there are historical cases that make this point.

Sean covers a broad scope of ideas, and they are provocative to the say the least. What I wanted to post was the ten ideas of this future war he describes. Bear in mind, he is mostly referencing what is going on right now, and trying to envision where this goes with each point.

1. There will never be ‘symmetry’.

2. Technology won’t save us.

3. States matter less.

4. Warriors are masked and may not fight for states.

5. Laws of war and international law don’t apply.

6. There will be a market for force with mercenaries.

7. Others will wage war and new kinds of superpowers will emerge.

8. Plausible deniability is power.

9. Hearts and minds matter very little.

10. There will be more war.

I won’t ruin the whole thing for the reader, but I did want to comment on one deal he brought up that is not discussed a lot out there. He mentioned ‘hack back‘ companies, or basically cyber companies contracted to attack hackers or countries that used hackers to attack those companies. To me, this is pure cyber privateering, and we are getting close to the concept of state sanctioned hacking as this becomes more of a problem. I am reminded of the attack on Sony, and how brutal that was. Or worse, hacks on nuclear facilities…. In the past I have talked about how the Letter of Marque could be used for this as a means of keeping it in check. As more companies or countries get attacked by hackers who are sponsored by states, the idea of attacking back becomes more and more a thing to consider. For a further exploration of cyber privateering, I suggest the Morgan Doctrine blog. Interesting stuff and check it out below. If you are interested in further exploring this topic, I highly recommend Sean’s book called The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order. –Matt

 

The future of war points.

A screen shot of the future of war points.

 

 

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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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Syria: Nine Russian Contractors From PMC Wagner Killed

Rest in peace to the fallen…

In my last post on Russian contractors, I mentioned briefly about a PMSC called PMC Wagner or OSM. The Wall Street Journal is the first large media group that I know of that has talked about this company in a story, and I thought I would share that here. I want to keep a record of this stuff so that it can be a reference for how the Russian market is developing in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere.

So why do I continue to focus on the Russian market? Primarily because if the Russian PMSC’s start delving more into offensive operations, then that could be a sign of things to come for the rest of the industry. I like to follow the offensive aspects of PMSC use because that will have impact on the future of this industry. Meaning as more and more private companies from other countries get into the game of war fighting, and actually winning wars like what Executive Outcomes was able to do, then that would move the marker of what is acceptable and possible within this industry.

It will give countries an option other than using and paying for a standing military, or for countries who lack those kinds of war fighting and winning capabilities within their own military.

One country might view another country’s PMSC industry as a strategic advantage. Something that they want in their tool kit of force. Especially if PMSC’s start winning wars and battles, and especially if a country is flush with cash but lacks manpower. A country that is in a fight for their survival (like Assad’s Syria) will do everything it can to win, and really could care less where that manpower comes from at the end of the day. Enter the PMSC market.

Back to the article below. The quote that caught my attention was this one:

An official close to the Russian Defense Ministry said that the group had numbered around 1,000. Unlike Western security contractors, who are typically armed with only light weapons, members of the group were operating T-90 tanks and howitzers.

Contractors operating T-90 tanks and howitzers? lol That is some serious weaponry and I would love to hear more about what exactly these guys were doing with this stuff. EO used tanks and APC’s in their wars pretty effectively, and it is interesting to hear about private companies actually operating this type of equipment. Imagine that training course? lol

The other interesting quote below is the leader of PMC Wagner/OSM, came from the Slavonic Corps. The Slavonic Corps was also given tanks to use, but that was a big surprise for the contractors involved apparently.  So will PMC Wagner pick up where the Slavonic Corps left off, and do better?  We will see. –Matt

Edit: 12/19/2015- The guy in the photo below was an entertainer that was working at Latakia Air Base at the time and not some soldier or contractor according to my readership. There is a question on how many contractors were killed as well. One of my readers said that an article from Reuters was written last October in regards to this incident and they only mentioned three Russians that were killed. Also, the 1,000 contractor headcount is not realistic according to the readership. That is a pretty big footprint for a contractor force so I would imagine that number is a lot lower.

Edit: 03/10/2016- War is Boring wrote an interesting article that talked more about Russia and it’s use of PMSC’s. This quote on PMC Wagner is what I wanted to put out there for the record:

It now seems the TchVK Wagner is building on the Slavonic Corps’ misfortune. Indeed, many members of this mysterious organization, as well as its leader — a former major in the Spetsnaz and ex-employee of Moran Security — were also members of the luckless 2013 expedition in Syria. According to the journalist Denis Korotkov, author of numerous articles on the TchKV Wagner, these contractors are active in Syria and entertain “close links with the Russian army.”

“TchVK Wagner is not a PMC, but a paramilitary organization with no official status,” Korotkov insists. “It is obvious that this task force could not exist without serious support from high-ranking government officials.”

Oleg Krinitsyn, head of the Russian PMC RSB Group, says he agrees with that assessment.

According to Korotkov, neither Moran Security nor RSB Group are active in eastern Ukraine — and this for legal reasons and in order to preserve their contracts abroad. Furthermore it seems the Russian army in Syria does not make use of these two PMCs. For sure, these companies do employ droves of former FSB agents, and one can easily imagine that they offer piecemeal services to the Russian state while on duty abroad, especially in Africa.

CTnknb5WUAA4XdM.jpg-large 

 

Up to Nine Russian Contractors Die in Syria, Experts Say
Incident shows how the country is using private groups to avoid deploying uniform troops, they say
By THOMAS GROVE
Dec. 18, 2015
As many as nine Russian contractors died in October when a mortar round hit their base in western Syria, according to several people familiar with the matter.
The incident, experts say, shows how Russia has used contractors to perform quasi-military tasks, avoiding the political repercussions of deploying uniformed troops—and steering clear of the domestic concerns that come with the deaths of soldiers.
The Russian government hasn’t acknowledged the deaths, described to The Wall Street Journal by three people.
“It’s one of Russia’s first attempts at trying to create a private military company like what was Blackwater,” said one of them, Ivan Konovalov, director of a Moscow-based security think tank and a consultant to lawmakers who are trying to create the legal basis for such military companies, which now fall in a legal gray zone.
Blackwater, which provided armed security, logistics and other support to U.S. government agencies, became emblematic of Washington’s reliance on private-sector firms to advance foreign-policy aims in conflict zones.
Unlike Blackwater, though, the Russian Defense Ministry hasn’t publicly acknowledged their existence. It isn’t clear whether the men’s role went beyond protecting government installations to direct involvement in fighting.
Founded by former Navy SEAL Erik Prince, Blackwater was involved in a series of controversial incidents, including a deadly 2007 shootout in Iraq that ultimately led to its reorganization and rebranding as Academi and to Mr. Prince’s exit from the business. Blackwater said it was carrying out dangerous work on behalf the U.S. government in a way that was more cost-effective than using uniformed personnel. Four former guards were convicted after the shooting, but said they shot in self defense.
The Russians killed in Syria belonged to a private group called OSM, according to Denis Korotkov, a former security adviser and journalist. The group is known informally as Wagner, after the nom de guerre of its leader, a former military intelligence officer who has served in several conflicts since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Syria wasn’t the group’s first deployment. According to all three people, the group operated in eastern Ukraine, where its members were charged with protecting factories and pro-Russian rebel leaders.
In Ukraine, the Kremlin employed “hybrid warfare”—a term national-security experts use to describe the use of irregular forces, propaganda campaigns, economic coercion and sometimes direct military action.
Groups with connections to Russian military and intelligence, and whose activities can be denied, have operated in the conflict zones that flared up since the fall of the Soviet Union. Wagner’s group however has emerged as one of the most prominent both in terms of the size and missions, according to Mr. Konovalov.
Based in the southern Russian region of Krasnodar, the group deployed to Syria after a contract was drawn up with Syrian authorities, Mr. Konovalov said.

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