Posts Tagged ACADEMI

Russia: Their Many Uses Of ‘Private Military Companies’…

Russian Prime Minister and president-elect Vladimir Putin on Wednesday supported the idea of private defense companies that would provide protection services and military training programs abroad without the participation of the Russian state.
The idea was proposed by A Just Russia deputy Alexei Mitrofanov during Putin’s report to the lower house of parliament, the State Duma.
Putin said that was “an instrument in the pursuit of national interests without the direct participation of the state.” “I believe that it should be considered, thought over,” he said. –11/04/2012 Riavososti

This is another post I wanted to get out there in regards to what has happened in the industry. The events in the Ukraine have put some more light on Russia’s use of PMSC’s, and also puts some light on how PMSC’s could be used as a propaganda tool.

Specifically, ACADEMI was mentioned in multiple propaganda pieces as supporting the Kiev government with training and ‘mercenary’ services. It was even mentioned that there were 400 elite US commandos from this company, fighting Russian separatists. lol

I am laughing because there would have been an avalanche of chatter on all of the forums and Facebook/Linkedin pages if this was true. You don’t just fire up a 400 man army like this and it not get out amongst this community. Especially if it paid well.

Even ACADEMI had to post a press releases to counter this ridiculous claim. The State Dept, who issues the licenses necessary for PMSC’s to go overseas and do training had to beat down this idiotic propaganda as well in statements. Really, I don’t think anyone in the west believed this stupid story.

But unfortunately, their propaganda efforts were able to reach those that are not savvy online or care to believe otherwise. All war is deception as Sun Tzu would say… Russia was absolutely implementing a social media campaign as a part of their battle plan to take Crimea and justify occupying parts of the Ukraine. That effort is still ongoing and we will see what eventually happens with the Ukraine.

Also expect attacks on Gazprom pipelines, and that reality will require protective services by Gazprom’s massive security apparatus.

The point is, that social media and war is standard business now, and you see combatants all over the world using social media and propaganda to prepare their battlefields and psyche out their opponents. It works if done properly, and just ask the cartels in Mexico or ISIS in Iraq how it is working out for them.

The other part of this story that is not being talked about is Russia’s focus on firing up their own private military industry. Something that can rival the west’s PMSC industry. This is very interesting to me, because it is another market to study and watch. It is also a huge money maker–private security in Russia is said to be a 7 billion dollar market.

Although there has always been a PMSC sector in Russia, and especially after the end of the Cold War. What is interesting though is that I keep picking up on hints here and there of PMSC’s getting support at some very high levels in Russia. Probably because it is a force that can be used by men in power to do things that a standing military could not do. (please note the quote by Putin up top)

For example, a company in the country of Transnistria could be contacted and asked to recruit folks to be ‘pro-Russian separatists’ in the Ukraine. To work with Russian special forces that are also posing as Russian separatists, wear ski masks to mask their identity, and fuel the grass roots movement and divisions within the country using violence. Sounds farfetched? Well that is exactly what some are speculating, and it would make sense to me, purely base off of what the leaders of Russia have said in the past.

Below I have posted recent news on efforts to further legitimize PMSC’s in Russia. To give them the legal authority necessary to operate, and to even use in other countries. This is not new and I posted stuff about Russia’s intent back in 2012. David Isenberg wrote a post on it as well. EA games did a pretty good series on PMSC’s in Russia.

Although I should note that Russia has had some recent embarrassing incidents with the use of PMSC’s in other countries. For example, The Slavonic Corps and their actions in Syria come to mind. Perhaps Russia’s recent legislation and licensing will help to control future ‘Slavonic Corps’ from happening?  Who knows, but I do know that Russia is continuing to explore the many uses of private military companies and we will see where that takes them. –Matt


Russian Special Forces operating in the Ukraine and assisting separatists. They are referred to as ‘The Little Green Men’. Weapon is a 9K115 Metis ATGM.


Russian ‘Blackwater’? MPs call for local security industry loophole
June 27, 2014
By Iliya Pitalev
Nationalist party LDPR deputies have drafted a law on private military companies to the regional legislature of North Russia’s Pskov. If approved, the draft will be forwarded to the federal parliament.
The authors of the document claim it was born out of the necessity for capable and specialized commercial organizations to enforce national interests in cases when international politics or law prevent the government from using regular military forces.
“The crisis in Ukraine in which the provisionary government in Kiev is actively using Western military contractors in its interests, demonstrate the acute necessity for similar institutions in Russia,” reads the explanatory note published by the Pskov regional legislature.
According to the lawmakers, there are over 450 private military contractors in the world, with 70 percent of the services provided by the US and British companies. These firms solve many foreign policy problems for Western governments, and at the same time bring additional taxes to their national economies.
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China: Enter The ‘Private Security’ Dragon

During the recent Sudan hostage crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Sudanese troops who engaged in the rescue effort were joined by a dozen armed Chinese private security contractors. While that article and coverage of the issue in the Chinese media didn’t identify where the contractors came from, there’s a strong likelihood they were drawn from the same pool of former security forces personnel that Shandong Huawei recruits from and perhaps even came from the company. Chinese sources say it was the Sudanese military that told news outlets armed Chinese contractors were participating, so it appears that Beijing wants to keep its use of private security contractors out of the public eye.

Lately I have noticed an upward trend in reporting about China and it’s private security. These three articles below help to paint that picture of what I am talking about. We have a situation where China has interests all over the world, their people are getting killed and kidnapped all over the world in higher numbers, and security situations are changing for the worse in some of these places they have set up shop in.

Not only that, but now Chinese businesses are demanding more protection and they have the money to buy it. Especially if Chinese PSC’s charge less than western companies.

This first article below talks about the company Shandong Huawei Security Group. I have never heard of them before, and I could not find a link to their website. Although I doubt I would put a link up to their site for fear of getting some virus or whatever. lol Either way, Shandong Huawei is supposed to be one of their top PSC’s.

The article also described an interesting situation going on in Iraq. As the security situation degrades and there is now a lack of western forces to keep things in check, companies like Shandong Huawei are stepping in to fill that security vacuum in order to protect companies like the China National Petroleum Corporation. Oil is of national interest to China, as it is to many countries, and PSC’s are a part of their strategy to protect those national interests.

In the quote up top it mentioned Sudan and the involvement of security contractors in the rescue of kidnapped Chinese workers. There is oil in the Sudan and China definitely has interest there. And if PSC’s are actively involved in rescue operations like this, then it is not far fetched to imagine PSC’s entering other areas of security which would border more military-like operations. Will we see a company like Shandong Huawei evolve into more of a private military company?

The other thing mentioned in this article is the strategic implications of Chinese PSC’s. Here is the quote:

There are a number of strategic implications of this rise of armed private security providers by Chinese firms. For a start, if a project is in an area unstable enough to require armed private guards, there’s a significant probability of armed encounters between security providers and potentially hostile locals. Coupled with this is the fact that given their police and military backgrounds, the contractors are likely to look and comport themselves like soldiers, and would probably be armed with similar types of weapons. There’s real potential, then, for confusion on the ground in a place like Sudan when a private contractor who looks like a soldier engages rebels or others who then mistake him for an actual member of Chinese government forces. A local whose relative was shot near a Chinese drilling site by a security guard who looks like a soldier is likely to blame Beijing, which could spark additional violence against Chinese interests in the area.

Yep. And if the local insurgency/gang/criminal elements are not getting their cut, then expect these groups to attack these Chinese ventures.

The second article below is very interesting to me because it is written by Chinese journalists and actually discusses the lack of experience that Chinese PSC’s have compared to American PSC’s. That they should ‘study’ American PSC’s….or steal trade secrets about such things. lol Either way, I thought this was cool that the Chinese have recognized the west’s expertise in this area. Check it out.

Calls for security guards from China to accompany workers posted in dangerous areas overseas have increased since kidnappings in Sudan and Egypt underscored the danger workers face as Chinese companies expand globally.
The abductions highlight the urgency to ensure the security of Chinese workers overseas, said Han Fangming, deputy director of the foreign affairs committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, on his micro blog.
Han said that there is a need to study how private security contractors in the United States, such as Academi, work and “when the time is right, the government might allow qualified companies” to establish such services…. Another factor to consider is how prepared the security services are to handle dangerous situations.
“I think security guards in China are far from the level of private security contractors like Academi in the US,” Fu said.

Yep. Private security contractors in the US, and our western partners, have all learned many hard lessons over ten years of warfare. If China plans on allowing PSC’s to do this kind of thing in war zones, then yes, they will be looking to all and any lessons learned in order to make that work. It is also a matter of Mimicry Strategy, and whatever works best, will be copied.

The final article discusses the enormity of the Chinese presence throughout the world. It also emphasizes the threat to these citizens and the upward trend of kidnappings. More kidnappings equals more ransoms. More ransoms paid equates to a creation of a kidnapping industry where individuals purposely target Chinese. That is the price China will pay if they plan on setting up shop in these dangerous parts of the world.

The dramatic rise in overseas travel and expatriate work by Chinese was punctuated by the recent kidnappings of Chinese workers in Sudan and Egypt. “Overseas Chinese protection” (haiwai gongmin baohu) has been a critical priority since deadly attacks killed 14 Chinese workers in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2004. Between 2006 and 2010, 6,000 Chinese citizens were evacuated to China from upheavals in the Solomon Islands, East Timor, Lebanon, Tonga, Chad, Thailand, Haiti and Kyrgyzstan.
But a new urgency has arisen in the past year: in 2011, China evacuated 48,000 citizens from Egypt, Libya, and Japan; 13 Chinese merchant sailors were murdered on the Mekong River in northern Thailand in October 2011; and in late January 2012, some 50 Chinese workers were kidnapped in two incidents by Sudanese rebels in South Kordofan province and by Bedouin tribesmen in the north of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
The worldwide presence of Chinese citizens – and the dependencies that generates – will only continue to grow: in 2012, more than 60 million Chinese people will travel abroad, a figure up sixfold from 2000, and likely to reach 100 million in 2020. More than five million Chinese nationals work abroad, a figure sure to increase significantly in the years ahead.

That is a lot of Chinese traveling and working throughout the world! As the word gets out amongst the thugs/terrorists/rebels of the world, we will continue to see this Chinese kidnap and ransom trend increase. That means more protection work, and more hostage rescue or negotiation work for this young Chinese PSC market. So yes, I would speculate that we are witnessing the rise of the Private Security Dragon and who knows where this will lead. –Matt

Enter China’s Security Firms
February 21, 2012
By Andrew Erickson & Gabe Collins
Chinese private security companies are seeing an opportunity as the U.S. withdraws troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. But plenty of complications await them.
A security vacuum is developing around Chinese workers overseas. The recent kidnapping of 29 Chinese workers in Sudan (where another worker was shot dead during the abduction) and 25 workers in Egypt has sparked a strong reaction in China. As a result, Beijing is looking to bolster consular services and protection for Chinese citizens working and travelling overseas. On the corporate side, private analysts are urging companies to do a better job of training employees before they are sent abroad. Yet with at least 847,000 Chinese citizen workers and 16,000 companies scattered around the globe, some of them in active conflict zones such as Sudan, Iraq, and Afghanistan, key projects and their workers are likely to require more than just an expanded consular staff to keep them safe.
It’s with an eye on this growing danger that new Chinese private security providers see a business opportunity. Shandong Huawei Security Group appears to be a leader among Chinese security providers, which thus far have predominantly focused on the country’s robust internal market for bodyguard and protective services. Huawei provides internal services, but in October 2010, opened an “Overseas Service Center” in Beijing. The company’s statement on the center’s opening explicitly cites the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and the potential for a security vacuum to result, as key drivers of its decision to target the Iraq market.

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Industry Talk: Xe Services Announces Name Change To ACADEMI

Plato’s Akademia, established in the third century B.C., was an institution that produced the best thinkers and warriors alike. These were elite individuals capable of facing the challenges of the time thanks to a strong foundation in training, strategy and strength, both mental and physical.

Interesting news. I am wondering if this will help things at all for future contracts?  In interviews, CEO Ted Wright said they plan on pursuing contracts in Iraq again, and that would be quite the thing.  Here is a quote from CNN’s interview with him:

“The day I’m allowed to do business in Iraq will be success,” said Wright. “If the government of Iraq let’s us do business there again, you know we’ve been successful.”

As to the new business focus of ACADEMI, here was a little hint as to what they are thinking:

Wright would like to double the training side of the business. His company boasts one of the country’s largest, most well-equipped training facilities, located in Moyock, in sparsely populated northeastern North Carolina. He’s also exploring new business opportunities when it comes to certifying bodyguards for high net-worth individuals, such as celebrities or executives. He’d also like to expand the company’s number of commercial clients such as oil and gas companies, and insurers who do business in dangerous parts of the world.

“Hopefully we can reduce insurance rates for their clients so that they can bring us on as an offering to say, ‘Hey listen, go use these people, they’re gonna come and do an assessment for you and they’re gonna improve your security environment and your insurance rates will go down,” said Wright.

Now that is cool. Maybe they might get into the maritime security game again?  That industry needs quality folks and those shipping companies would benefit greatly from reduced insurance rates based on using the services of a company like ACADEMI. Even if they do not get into that game, the energy sector is still a massive market. Things are also getting more dangerous and unstable, and the world is highly dependent on the free flow of oil. Security is a crucial element of the free flow. –Matt



Leading Training and Security Services Provider Xe Services Announces Name Change to ACADEMI
New name draws on company legacy while building on new leadership, governance and strategy.
Dec 12, 2011
USTC Holdings, LLC, the investor consortium that acquired Xe Services, LLC, including its main holding U.S. Training Center, Inc. in December 2010, today announced ACADEMI as the new name and brand for Xe Services. The name ACADEMI (pronounced “academy”) was selected to better communicate the new company’s focus on future growth.
“We have had a year of extraordinary changes that have resulted in a new, better company,” President and CEO Ted Wright said in a statement. The ACADEMI name communicates both our legacy and where we are going as a company in the future. This is more than a simple name change,” Wright continued. “Rather it is a reflection of the changes we have made while retaining those elements that made us who we are today — the best in our industry.”
The announcement of ACADEMI is the culmination of a year of change as part of the company’s new chapter of growth. Upon acquiring Xe Services and its core operating subsidiaries in December 2010, USTC Holdings, LLC indicated that it would form a new Board of Directors, including independent unaffiliated directors, to manage the company and enhance its governance and oversight capabilities.

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