Archive for category Texas

Disaster Response: Private Security Answers The Call For Dealing With Ebola

I believe this is the first incident of ebola in the US where a PMSC has been called up to guard the quarantine site? I mentioned how important security is to the response to this epidemic, that is quickly moving towards a pandemic, and I think we will see more of this. The CDC gave a worst case scenario of upwards of around 1.4 million people in Africa to be infected with ebola by January of next year.

Back to the main story, and that is the PMSC response to this outbreak. The company tasked with guarding the apartment and family quarantined in this particular incident is called Heartland Patrol, and the location is Dallas, Texas. I noticed that they have some pretty nice patrol vehicles? In the photo below, the vehicle being used is a Dodge Charger, and I know some police departments would love to have that thing.

Another point to bring up with this event is preparation for a security job that deals with infectious diseases and viruses. This kind of security work is new territory for security professionals that are involved with disaster response like this. My advice for anyone getting involved with this response is to update your insurance, and check if they will cover you if you actually work in such an environment.

Your best piece of equipment for a security gig like this is your mind. Get educated on everything to do with ebola, and increase your orientation on working in that environment so you can make good decisions. Work closely with the on site medical professionals and stay disciplined once you have a good plan for working around a quarantine site or treatment center. If you do not have access to that kind of resource, then seek it out. Go online, find local medical professionals who specialize in ebola, and become a student of this virus. Knowledge is your best weapon to counter it. And of course, your security mission is your primary reason for being there, so understand everything that it takes to do that job properly.

Another thing to brush up on is incident command. For large disaster responses, incident command is the primary tool for managing such things. So if your private security detail is a part of that kind of operation, then it behooves you to understand how that system works.

I have also seen jobs dealing with the medical response. Medical staff are in high demand in Africa and they are getting swamped. So if you have a medical background and a security contracting background, you would be perfect for these types of contracts. Especially in places like Africa, where the fear component is very high, which makes people act irrationally. Aid groups would be wise to have some kind of security professional tagging along, just so they can pick up on any of the signs of that type of thing. –Matt


The private security company called Heartland Patrol, on duty in front of the ebola patient’s apartment, which contains four members of the patient’s family who are in quarantine.


Ebola family under armed guard after trying to leave quarantine
October 3, 2014
A woman who has been confined to her Dallas apartment under armed guard after a man infected with Ebola stayed at her home said she never imagined this could happen to her so far from disease-ravaged West Africa.
Louise Troh said Thursday that she is tired of being locked up and wants health authorities to decontaminate her home.
Authorities say the circle of people in the US possibly exposed to Ebola widened after the man, who arrived from Liberia last month, was discharged from a hospital without being tested for the deadly virus.
The confinement order, which also bans visitors, was imposed after the family failed to comply with a request to stay home, according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. Texas Health Commissioner David Lakey said the order would ensure that Troh, her 13-year-old son and two nephews can be closely monitored for signs of the disease.
The first Ebola diagnosis in the nation has raised concerns about whether the disease that has killed 3,300 people in West Africa could spread in the US. Federal health officials say they are confident they can keep it in check.
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Industry Talk: DOE Security Contractors List, FY 2011

It is very interesting to me that some of the most sensitive stuff and strategically important assets of the US, are guarded by security contractors. From Nuclear Sites, to Laboratories, to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve–private security contractors are who stand guard over this stuff.

The report below is the only report I could find that actually discussed the performance of security contractors. All of the other ones are not available to the public. And most of this stuff is about safety issues.

What I was mostly drawn too is who are the players?  Well for one, Wackenhut, which is owned by G4S, has quite a few contracts with DOE. Did you know about this contract?

The Department of Energy (DOE) announces the selection of Wackenhut Services Inc., Palm Beach, Florida, to provide security services at the Savannah River Site (SRS) here.
The Cost-Plus-Award-Fee type contract has a value of $989 million over ten years, which includes a five-year base period and two option periods of three and two years.

It is also odd to me that this nation’s strategic resources are being guarded by an American company that is owned by a larger foreign company. The largest in the world. So thank you G4S….Wow.

As to jobs, I only found one that was flying and that was for a training position at Bryan Mound.

Now of course you will have to interpret the security contractors listed below. The names presented are what is listed under their organizational codes, but you get the idea. A list like this will help you to hunt down a contractor that you might want to work for, or target a region of interest. The 2005 report has a list of contractors as well, but that is not current. Check it out and if there are any security companies missing, let me know so we can make this list more accurate. –Matt


Private security contractors patrol the U.S. Department of Energy's Stategic Petroleum Reserve in Bryan Mound, Texas May 20, 2008.

A 2005 report on security contractors done by DOE.


DOE Security Contractors Fiscal Year 2011

(from injuries and illness table)

Albuquerque–Secure Transportation Div.
ABQ Sec. WSI – OST – Protective Force Tr
ABQ Sec. Innovative Tech. Partnerships
Albuquerque Security Epsilon-OST
DOE National Training Center
BWXT Sec. (Pantex) – Sec. Police Off. I
Wackenhut Services, Inc. – NV
Honeywell FM&T (Kansas) Security
LANL Security – (SOC-LA)
Wackenhut Services – Y-12 Security
Wackenhut – Y-12 Security Subs
BMPC Security Forces
NRF Security Forces–Admin
BMPC-KAPL – Kesselring Security Forces
LM-KAPL – Knolls Security Forces – Secur
Sandia Security Forces – Administration
Lawrence Livermore Natl Lab – Security
Santa Fe Protective Services (WIPP)
Argonne-East Security Force – Security P
BNL Security Forces – Security Police Of
Trinity Protection Services (Fermilab)
Paragon Tech. Serv. (HQ) – Security Offi
Jefferson Lab. Security
Ameritex (NETL) – Security Police Office
INL – BEA, LLC – Security – Security Po
Wackenhut Services – OR Security
West Valley Nuclear Services – Security
Hanford Security
Wackenhut Services, Inc. – SR
Security Subcontractor – SPR

Link to summary here.

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Law Enforcement: Los Zetas Launched Mexico-style Attack In Harris County, Texas

Now this story is barely getting any notice out there and this is stuff we need to be watching along the border. To me, this is just another sign of the drug war in Mexico, spilling over the border into the US.

The other part that I am curious about, is if it is easier for Los Zetas to operate on the US side of the border, versus the Mexico side? Of course the cartels will play the border regions to their advantage, but will there be a point where the battlefield will expand to the US side at an increased level?  I say this, because the cartels are fighting over territory in Mexico, and it makes sense that the battle for territory would extend into the US. And will US authorities even be a deterrent to that fight over territory in the US?

I think another thing to watch is the consolidation of  power, and the taking of territory by the cartels. What I am getting at here is what happens when a cartel wins the territory they are fighting over?  If a cartel wins and consolidates the border regions on the Mexican side, then the logical battlefield that is next, would be the US side. Meaning the competitors of that cartel will have to go to the US side to get in on controlling the flow of drugs/money/people to make money. That dominate cartel will also have to win that US side of the border in order to fully exploit the territory it has won on the Mexican side. Interesting stuff and something to watch. –Matt

Edit: 11/26/2011- Dr. Bunker just wrote a Tactical Note about this incident. Check it out here.



Zetas blamed for shootout in Houston
By Dane Schiller
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
HOUSTON — The mission was supposed to be a textbook “controlled delivery” — a routine trap by law enforcement officers using a secret operative posing as a truck driver to bust drug traffickers when their narcotics are delivered to a rendezvous point.
Instead, things spun out of control. Shortly before the marijuana delivery was to be made Monday, three SUVs carrying alleged Zetas Cartel gunmen seemingly came out of nowhere and cut off the tanker truck as it rumbled through northwestern Harris County, sources told the Houston Chronicle.
They sprayed the cab with bullets, killing the civilian driver, who was secretly working with the government. An undercover sheriff’s deputy, who was driving nearby in another vehicle, was wounded, possibly by friendly fire from officers arriving at the scene.
“We are not going to tolerate these types of thugs out there using their weapons like the Wild, Wild West,” said Javier Pena, the new head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Houston Division. “We are going after them.”
“Everybody is surprised at the brazenness,” Pena continued as he stressed a full court press by the DEA, the sheriff and police. “We haven’t seen this type of violence, which concerns us.”

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Publications: Texas Border Security–A Strategic Military Assessment, 2011

This is a great little publication and a big hat tip to retired Generals McCaffery and Scales for putting together such an enlightening report.

The bottom line here folks, is as the Mexican authorities become better at countering the cartels, the cartels will increasingly depend upon safe havens to continue business and operations. So strategically speaking, the cartels are looking to set up sanctuary in the US border regions and play the border like a rib bone.

I should say that they ‘are’ using the US as sanctuary, just because if you combine this report with the other report I posted, then it isn’t too hard to put two and two together. And in a war sense, this is akin to the Taliban using Pakistan as a sanctuary so they can continue operations in Afghanistan.

The other element of sanctuary is the idea that cartels are operating along the seams of the law and law enforcement agencies, both federal or state, or between two countries. These guys are playing the borders in the literal sense, and in the legal sense, and definitely taking advantage of the grey areas.

Here are some quotes from this thing that jumped out at me:

A successful sanctuary permits insurgents to move freely and operate on whichever side offers greater security. In a curious twist of irony, the more successful the Mexican military becomes in confronting the cartels, the greater likelihood that cartels will take the active fight into Texas as they compete against each other in the battle to control distribution territories and corridors….

…..This paper will be the first to conclude that the cartels are following a twofold strategic plan:
1. First, to create a “sanitary zone” inside the Texas border — one county deep — that will provide sanctuary from Mexican law enforcement and, at the same time, enable the cartels to transform Texas’ border counties into narcotics transshipment points for continued transport and distribution into the continental United States.
2. Second, to increasingly rely on organized gangs to provide expendable and unaccountable manpower to do their dirty work inside Texas and elsewhere in the country. These gangs are recruited on the streets of Texas cities and inside Texas prisons by top-tier gangs who work in conjunction with the cartels.

Check it out and let me know what you think?  Definitely pass this around and get the word out. –Matt


Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment, 2011

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Fish And Game: The Pork Chopper Bill Passes–Texas Legalizes Helicopter Hunting Of Feral Pigs

Pretty cool. Hopefully this will create it’s own little industry that thrives. Anything that can reduce the population of these feral pigs and is self sustaining is a great way to go. It looks like Vertex is advertising itself as a helicopter hunting outfit if you are interested in doing something like this. –Matt


Serious shooters are lining up for a chance to hunt feral hogs from helicopters
August 27, 2011
By Steve Campbell
“Pork choppers,” Texas’ newest weapon in the war on feral hogs, will take to the skies Thursday when it becomes legal for hunters to buy seats on hog-hunting helicopters and gun down as many pigs as they can put in their sights.
With more than 2 million feral hogs rooting around the Lone Star State, there will be plenty of targets for aerial gunners willing to pay $475 for an hour of heli-hunting.
Vertex Helicopters is already bringing home the bacon as a result of the measure passed by the Texas Legislature this year.
The Houston-based firm requires shooters to take a $350 hunting safety course before they can book a hunt, said President Mike Morgan, a former Army helicopter pilot.
Sixty hunters have taken the course, and two more 15-person classes are already filled, he said.
“These are people who are really, really serious about shooting things,” Morgan said, noting that hunters from New York City, Missouri and Kansas have taken the course, which includes a four-hour class and 30 minutes of learning airborne target practice.
Vertex has secured landowners’ permission to hunt on more than 150,000 acres across the state and is negotiating to add another 550,000 acres, he said.
The company has booked more than 30 hunts with a three-hour minimum of flight time. Most shooters are scheduling five hours to six hours, he said.
“In the big picture it’s not that expensive,” Morgan said. “You have people paying $10,000 for one deer. At $475 an hour, it’s barely a drop in the bucket for serious hunters.”

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History: The Privateers Of The Texas Revolution

This is some cool history that yet again, you just don’t hear about. I had no idea about this history, and after reading about it, I tried to collect as much as I could that talked about this little known subject. Just to set this up, here is an excerpt from wikipedia about what led up to this revolution or war of independence between Texas settlers and Mexico:

The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was a military conflict between Mexico and settlers in the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836. However, a war at sea between Mexico and Texas would continue into the 1840s. Animosity between the Mexican government and the American settlers in Texas, as well as many Texas residents of Mexican ancestry, began with the Siete Leyes of 1835, when Mexican President and General Antonio López de Santa Anna abolished the federal Constitution of 1824 and proclaimed the more centralizing 1835 constitution in its place.
The new laws were unpopular throughout Mexico, leading to violence in several states. War began in Texas on October 2, 1835, with the Battle of Gonzales. Early Texian Army successes at La Bahia and San Antonio were soon met with crushing defeat at the same locations a few months later. The war ended at the Battle of San Jacinto where General Sam Houston led the Texian Army to victory over a portion of the Mexican Army under Santa Anna, who was captured shortly after the battle. The conclusion of the war resulted in the creation of the Republic of Texas in 1836.

So I guess the thing that I wanted talk about with this particular piece of history, is the fact that privateering was the first act of the provisional government of Texas. They did not have a navy, so privateers was a quick and easy want to fire up a navy and put some money into the treasury by means of a prize court.  Unfortunately at that time, Mexican commerce in the Gulf of Mexico was not that great, and thus a privateer industry or offense industry did not have the necessary elements to flourish.

It is also important to note that if Texas was not part of the US at the time, then this would be an example of another ‘country’ using the LoM.  I could be wrong there, but I just do not know how to legally classify Texas at that time period?  But either way, this is an example of a fledgling and resource strapped government, firing up the Letter of Marque as just one tool in their fight.

On a side note, the provisional government also handed out land to any soldiers who would fight for Texas Independence.  This is an interesting concept, and I wonder if Somalia could do something similar?  Hell, the TFG could fire up the LoM as well, and grant these licenses to foreign or local privateers to go after pirates on water and land.  Meaning, if a company could seize by force the wealth of the pirate investors or pirates themselves, then that company would split that prize with the TFG.  That puts money into the treasury of the TFG, it provides financial incentive to the privateer companies,  and it creates an offense industry that profits from piracy’s destruction. To really fire it up, they could offer pirates amnesty if they become privateers for the government. Call it the Woodes Rogers solution. lol.

Either way, check it out and let me know what you think.  I think that flag below would be a cool morale patch for today’s maritime security bunch too.  And I know that Texas is not ‘legally’ authorized to grant LoM’s at this present time, but imagine if they were? That they created an offense industry to deal with the asset rich cartels that operate along the borders? Now that would be something else. –Matt 


The flag that Texas Privateers were required to fly on their vessels.

Texas Privateers

(From the Texas State Library and Archives Commission)
Revolution broke out in earnest in Texas in October 1835 with the seizure of the Mexican cannon at Gonzales and the beginning of the Siege of Bexar. As these events unfolded, the Consultation, the first revolutionary assembly of Texas, came together in San Felipe on November 3, 1835. One of its first acts was to consider the protection of the Texas coast. It was impossible to create a Navy overnight, so the Texans adopted the time-honored practice of issuing letters of marque and reprisal to privateers. These privately owned war ships would protect the coast, harass Mexican shipping, and bring in prizes that could be auctioned off, with part of the proceeds going into the public treasury.
Texas issued a total of six letters of marque to privateers, including the San Felipe, the William Robbins, the Terrible, the Thomas Toby, the Flash, and the Ocean. Flying the “1824” Texas Revolutionary flag, these ships not only patrolled the Gulf, but also pursued Mexican shipping on the high seas. The Thomas Toby was the outstanding privateer of the group, capturing several Mexican vessels and bringing them back to be adjudicated and their contents sold. Overall, though, the privateering effort was disappointing for Texas. Mexican shipping was not considered rich trade, so relatively few privateers were willing to take the risk.

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