Archive for category Video

Cool Stuff: Shadow Warriors Project

Now this is some cool stuff. Recently, a book came out that detailed the security contractor role during the Benghazi attack in 2012 . An incident where four Americans were killed–to include the death of a US Ambassador. The book is called 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi. The authors of this book are the actual guys involved in the battle and boy do they have a story to tell. It is a story of security contractors saving lives and dealing with a really bad situation. It is also about what happens after the battle when everyone comes home, which is the part of contracting that does not get much attention. I would not be surprised if a movie came out about this.

But what is really awesome about their story is that one of the authors of this book and participant in the battle named Mark Geist, started an association that all contractors can really get behind and support. Here is a snippet from their web site and organization called Shadow Warriors Project. I also like that his wife is involved, because she represents the sacrifice that families make in this business.

Mark and Krystal Geist, the founders of Shadow Warriors Project have committed their lives to benefitting American people. Mark served our country in the Marine Corp for 12 years and continued on to serve the American people as a Special Operative Contractor where he worked in the most dangerous places on the globe. Mark returned home wounded and broken, leaving the pieces of their lives scattered. After a full recovery, Mark and Krystal are back at what they do best, helping Americans, in their efforts with the Shadow Warriors Project.
Letter from the founders:
Our goal with the Shadow Warriors Project is to create a better everyday life for as many American contractors and their families as possible. We decided to start SWP when Mark returned home from an incredibly dangerous operation. He was hurt both mentally and physically and we wished there was a system that could have helped us repair.
After having almost lost my life and going through almost two years of surgeries and rehabilitation my family and I have found that there is limited short term and virtually no long term support system in place for the contractor.
We can do better, we must do better for those that choose to continue serving our beloved country and in doing so become injured or killed in that service. We want the contractor and his family to not have to worry, should the unthinkable occur.
We thank you for your interest and hope that you will join forces with us to give American contractors a more fruitful life.
Sincerely,
Mark & Krystal Geist

Outstanding, and I really hope this takes off, hence why I am promoting it here on the blog. This is a group started by a wounded security contractor, and focused on taking care of wounded contractors and their families. Or helping the families of those contractors killed in the war.

The other thing to mention here is that there are very few groups dedicated to helping the contractor and his family when injuries or deaths happen. TAPS is another group that will help contractors. Other groups like Wounded Warriors Project will not help contractors and their families, which is disappointing to say the least, but that is their thing. Something to think about if you are looking for a group to donate time or money too, that helps contractors and their families specifically. -Matt

Website for Shadow Warriors Project here.

Facebook Page for Shadow Warriors Project here.

Mark Geist bio here.

 

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Highly recommend watching this documentary on what these men had to say. Mark Geist discusses his injuries and the impact to family was mentioned as well.

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Games: Call Of Duty Advanced Warfare

This game is of interest to our community because it involves a future where PMSC’s are the dominate players. It is a game that asks ‘what if?’.

This franchise has made a ton of money off of the Call of Duty games, and this latest game is the next evolution of that franchise. When they hired a heavy duty actor like Kevin Spacey to play the CEO of the fictional PMSC in this game called Atlas Corporation, then you know these guys are not fooling around. These games are essentially interactive movies, complete with premieres and premier parties and awards for best games. It really is amazing how far these things have come along.

It is also telling that video games would invest so much into PMSC related stories. Mercenary type games must really do well for them to put so much money and resource into the concept. I should also mention that I have a ton of traffic coming from places like Los Angeles and other areas of the country where games or other bits of PMSC related entertainment are made. I am sure on Facebook, the same kind of thing is happening. An industry that makes their money on good story and great action in a game, will find inspiration wherever it can–to include this blog. Which is great and I hope they take the ideas and run with them. Just know that I can’t control what the gamers or other contractors feel about the game, so if it sucks, it is on you guys. lol

So we will see how the game does? For the record, I had no involvement with the development of this game. Check out the other behind the scenes videos that talk about the weapons and ideas of the game. Lots of technology and future warfare type stuff going on. -Matt

Pre-order game here.

 

 

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History: The Battle For Najaf, By Travis Haley

This is an excellent story on this famous battle, fought by the contractors and military assigned to protect the CPA in Najaf, Iraq back in 2004. By now, most folks familiar with the battle have seen this video of the battle circulating around the net, and it gives a snapshot of what these guys were up against. Travis has added more detail to the big picture of what was happening at the time, to include lessons learned.

You can also read more about Travis and his history and contribution to the training industry over at his website.  He also did a post over at OAF about his experience. Check it out and it is definitely worth your time. -Matt

 

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Industry Talk: The UN Talks Shop About Their Use Of PMSC’s

Last year in July, I wrote about this debate that the UN was having about it’s use of PMSC’s, now and into the future. This is the final review panel about this debate, and it was interesting to hear the current view point of the UN.

One of the things that came up that I thought was interesting, is that the UN still does not know how many contractors it uses, either for guard work or for logistics. So I think they should at least dedicate some time and effort towards getting a firm grasp on this. Perhaps an online database that gives a transparent view of everyone they are using, both past and present. They could also add to that database if that company was fired or not, or what they thought of their performance? Anything to add to the history of the use of contractors.

They also talked in great length about codes of conduct and other initiatives to get companies to self-regulate. My thoughts are that if the UN actually published violations of these codes as a record for the public, kind of like what POGO does with companies in the US, then that would keep the world and the UN better informed as to the true track records of companies. That kind of history and track record is essential information if you want to truly find the best value company for the money. Companies would also fight to not be on that list, and especially if it impacted bidding.

The other surprising thing is that they couldn’t list how much money was spent on contractors, past or present. So a database should absolutely list those costs so that member donors to the UN can see exactly how their money is being spent. Also, other companies can see how much a service costs, and find out if they can provide that service cheaper or at least get a feel for what it would take to spin up a contract. So a UN contractor database would be an excellent investment, if the UN is interested in transparency and effectively using this industry.

I was also taken aback when the panel was asked around the 28:30 point of this video, what they thought about the lack of accountability for member nation troops that continue to violate human rights during peace keeping operations. No one wanted to take that question and it was left ‘wide’ open. I thought the silence said everything…

There was also numerous questions about the definition of mercenary and how that applied to PMSC’s. Or how their group was called the UN Working Group On The Use of Mercenaries, and yet they were tasked with evaluating PMSC’s that were not mercenaries by definition. I think the choice of group title is somewhat counterproductive for such a panel, if they wanted to be perceived as objective in their research of this industry. With that said, the group at least tried to differentiate between mercenaries and PMSC’s.

If the video below does not show up, here is a link to the video. It is about 50 minutes long and worth your time. The panel’s final report should be coming out sometime this year, and I will post it when it surfaces. -Matt

 

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Music: A Marine Christmas Song

A hat tip to the guys at SOFREP for finding this one. Merry Christmas to all of those contractors and military that are deployed, and to their friends and family keeping the home fires burning.

Merry Christmas to all of my readership, FB fans, authors, veterans, PMSC’s, associations, academics, journalists, think tankers and fellow bloggers out there whom have all contributed to the discussion about the ever evolving world of the private military and security industry. -Matt

 

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Military News: Staff Sergeant Ty M. Carter Receives The Medal Of Honor

The 53 Fort Carson soldiers in the Keating fight earned the two Medals of Honor, the nation’s top award for gallantry, as well as nine Silver Star Medals, 18 Bronze Star Medals for Valor, 27 Purple Heart Medals and 37 Army Commendation Medals, leading Obama to describe them as the most decorated unit in the Army.

Quite the honor and this is the second Medal of Honor given to a participant of the Battle of Kamdesh. The first one was Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha, not to mention all of the other battlefield awards given to the units involved. Above is the list of awards the 3rd Troop, 61st Cavalry Regiment have received from just this one battle. -Matt

 

 

 

Aug 26, 2013

President awards Staff Sergeant Ty M. Carter, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a cavalry scout with Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations in Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on October 3, 2009. Staff Sergeant Carter is the fifth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. August 26, 2013.

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