Archive for category Publications
After reading the latest report on the Benghazi attack called Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi, I came across another really cool report they referenced in regards to Best Value contracting. I thought it was pretty interesting and worthy of some attention here.
Here is the quote about it from the Benghazi report.
Though a few members of the February 17 Brigade and the Libya Shield militia assisted the Americans on the night of the attack, the security that these militias and the local police provided to U.S. personnel was woefully inadequate to the dangerous security environment in Benghazi.
The unarmed local contract guards also provided no meaningful resistance to the attackers. The Department of State’s Inspector General had previously found that concerns about local security guards were not limited to Libya. A February 2012 Department of State Inspector General (IG) report found that more than two-thirds of 86 diplomatic posts around the world surveyed reported problems with their local guard contractors. Of those posts that reported problems with their contractors, 37 percent said there was an insufficient number of local guards and 40 percent said there was insufficient training. The IG found that overseas diplomatic posts, particularly those in high-threat situations beyond Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan urgently needed best-value contracting, which takes into account the past performance of contractors.
Recommendation: When it becomes clear that a host nation cannot adequately perform its functions under the Vienna Convention, the Department of State must provide additional security measures of its own, urgently attempt to upgrade the host nation security forces, or decide to close a U.S. Diplomatic facility and remove U.S. personnel until appropriate steps can be taken to provide adequate security. American personnel who serve us abroad must often work in high risk environments, but when they do, we must provide them with adequate security. That clearly was not the case in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Recommendation: The Department must conduct a review of its local guard programs and particularly the use of local guard contractors at high-risk posts who do not meet appropriate standards necessary for the protection of our personnel or facilities.
Did you read that highlight? Urgently needed Best Value contracting….. and this is the IG saying this. lol Myself and others have been promoting the concept for awhile now and at least the IG get’s it. It sounds like DoS is starting to see the light as well.
The one interesting point that was discussed is the 10 percent price preference rule and how local guard force companies were just partnering with US companies in order to qualify. Here is a quote:
U.S. companies or qualified joint ventures “shall be evaluated by reducing the bid by 10 percent.” Based on an examination of contract competition documents for 35 local guard contracts, OIG found that the 10 percent price preference given to qualifying U.S. companies had no effect on the outcome of the awards. OIG further determined that it is easy for foreign companies wishing to take advantage of the price preference to become eligible by simply forming a joint venture with a U.S. company, thus largely negating the purpose of the preference.
So private industry found a loophole and exploited it to win contracts. With that said, I agree with the IG’s take on the 10 percent rule, and that it needs to be changed in order for it to be effective. Here is their suggestion.
Review the need for a 10 percent price preference given to U.S. companies bidding on local guard contracts because the preference has not been demonstrated to be a factor in recent local guard competitions.
Check it out below and it will be located in my Scribd or here on the blog for future reference. -Matt
Interesting news about how the domestic market looks for security in the US. Luckily there are legions of veterans of the wars willing to jump into these various markets throughout the US. It’s just these veterans would be well advised to get involved with the technology side of security services.
On a side note, guess how much this report costs? The hard copy sells for $5100! lol And for the record, I have not read the report because I do not plan on paying for a copy of this thing, nor am I getting any kick backs from the company for promoting it. -Matt
US Demand For Private Security Services To Reach $63.8 Billion In 2016
December 4, 2012
US demand to rise 5.2% annually through 2016
US demand for private contracted security services is projected to increase 5.2 percent annually to $63.8 billion in 2016. The market will be supported by a high perceived risk of crime (from conventional violent and property crimes to white collar crimes and terrorism) and a concern that public safety officials are overburdened. The outsourcing of security activities to contracted firms, instead of relying on in-house security, will support demand. The privatization of some public safety operations, such as guarding government facilities and correctional facilities management, will also boost gains.
Higher tech services hold especially good prospects
Security services that capitalize on continuing technological developments hold especially good prospects. For instance, both security consulting and systems integration revenues will see above-average growth. Security consultants and systems integrators are able to manage a wide variety of services when creating, upgrading or implementing security plans and when installing or upgrading complex electronic security devices. In addition, the trend toward more sophisticated and automated security electronics that are increasingly integrated with other building operations will boost growth for these services.
Publications: CRS On Contracting–Learning From The Past And Preparing For The Future, By Moshe Schwartz
This is a great little document, just because Moshe Schwartz has been in the middle of this contracting reporting game for a long time, and has come up with some great lessons learned. He also works for the congressional research service and has authored several reports on the war that I have commented on in the past.
Some stuff that jumped out at me was the idea of teaching ‘how to manage contractors’ in the military academies and schools. To actually have mock contractors on exercises with the military, so officers and NCO’s have some experience working with this group. Especially since we make up over ‘half’ of the forces in the war–it kind of makes sense that the military should learn to how to work with and manage this force. So bravo to Moshe for pointing this out and I hope the military continues to pursue this and professionalize contractor management.
This leads me to another thought. I think the best group to set up mock contracting scenarios during exercises, would be contractors themselves. So perhaps this would be a niche that a company can provide to the military? There are numerous companies that provide mock villages and cultural training to the military to better prepare the troops before they deploy. The same concept could be applied to training the military on how best to work with and manage contractors.
One of the mantras of the military is to train as you fight and fight as you train. Given the extent to which contractors may be relied upon in future operations, conducting exercises without contractors could be akin to training without half of the force present. A number of analysts have called for incorporating contractors and contractor scenarios into appropriate military exercises to better prepare military planners and operational commanders for future operations. -pg. 7-8
Another way to look at this is that contractors, much like Iraqis or Afghans, are a group that you must understand ‘culturally’ in order to best work with them. I say culturally, because strangely enough, not all contractors are prior service. And not all contractors come from the US. So you have a lot of factors that the military command has to deal with, if they want those contractors to be assets to the mission and not liabilities.
Which brings me to the next point of interest. Moshe mentioned that as the wars wind down, and troops and budgets get cut, the military will be looking for ways of saving money and expanding the usefulness of the manpower they have. So to do that would require a smarter use of contractors to support the programs they have. The British mentioned this as well in their drive to save money and stay operational.
To what extent will potential budget cuts or force structure changes impact DoD reliance on contractors?
As discussed in this report, post-Cold War budget cuts resulted in an increased reliance on contractors. According to reports, budget cuts and plans to restructure the military in Britain will result in an increased reliance on contractors to provide operational contract support. Further budget cuts to the US military could have similar result. One question for Congress is to what extent budget cuts, the imposition of personnel caps, or a restructuring of the force will lead to an increased reliance on contractors? -pg. 12
Not only that, but if you remember the paper written by Bruce Stanley as to the relationship between the cycles of war and contractor use, it makes even more sense why we should remember these lessons so we can be prepared for future conflict.
This study argues that when political leaders choose to reduce their nation’s military force structure, they may face conflicts beyond their anticipated scope and duration. Such decision-makers are left with no choice but to legalize and legitimize the use of PMCs resulting in the increased use of PMCs as a deliberate tool of foreign policy.
Or how I interpret this is that a nation wants to enjoy the peace dividend when the war ends, so they cut budgets and reduce the force to make everyone happy and recover economically. But then another war happens several years down the road, and you go to war with army you have and not the one you wish you had. So we play catch up and we use contractors to fill the gaps or assist in support–which is what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan post Cold War.
Contractors are pretty vital to that game of catch up, which is of strategic importance to this nation. So yeah, learning from past mistakes and preparing for the future is something we need to do here, and bravo to Moshe and others for making that point. -Matt
The interesting part of this report is that there is very little change from last quarter as far as the overall numbers. In the 3rd quarter, there were 136,901 contractors overall, and in this quarter there are 137,407. So it is an increase, but by a small margin.
The other thing that jumped up at me was that contractor numbers actually increased in Iraq. In the third quarter we saw 7,336 and in this quarter we see 9,000!
We also see some numbers for the APPF force which was supposed to replace contractors in Afghanistan. The statistic that perked me up was the amount of ‘risk management consultants’–220– that was required to watch over the 2,407 APPF folks. These risk management consultants are contractors that represent the companies, and it is just funny that with all of this attention placed on the APPF being the solution, that they still need that many ‘consultants’. lol
The other interesting statistic is the Private Security numbers, or the armed contractors in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, there is more use of security contractors from other countries other than the US. The local national use really hasn’t changed that much.
In Afghanistan, you see an increase in US private security use. In the 3rd quarter we saw 480 US security folks, and in the 4th quarter we see an increase to 2,014! Now I am going to speculate that perhaps the reason for this, is the increase in insider attacks and an increase in using Americans to guard FOB’s. The military is wanting to hand over the security of these bases so that it can save some money and use the remaining manpower for training missions or combat support for their other operations out there. -Matt