Posts Tagged contracting

Surveys: Danger Zone Jobs–2012 State Of Overseas Contracting Industry Survey Results

Here are the results from our fourth annual State of Overseas Contracting Industry Survey. This year 857 people took the survey which consisted of 9 questions and a final option to offer advice to other contractors. I will be releasing the Advice from Contractors section a bit later after I have finished editing it.

William does a great job of putting together this survey every year and they are pretty interesting. Of course DZJ focuses on the entire industry of overseas contracting and not just the gun carrying security contractors. So if there are more contractors than military in places like Afghanistan, then this is a cool little snapshot of what this group looks like.

Probably the most interesting statistic to me was the graph that showed the amount of military veterans versus just civilians in this industry, and that civilians are the top. If you would like to see the other graphs, please go over to their website through the provided link and check it out. –Matt

Link to survey here.



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Cool Stuff: The Private Security Monitor–One Stop Shopping For Laws And Regulations For PMSC’s

This is a great resource for those that own PMSC’s, or are looking to start one up. If you want to operate internationally, you need to know the laws and regulations pertaining to running your business in these parts of the world.

For a great interview with the founders of the Private Security Monitor, go to Maritime Security Review’s post. Here is a snippet.

1) What was the driving force for developing the Private Security Monitor web portal and what are the Centre’s principal objectives?

The idea for the Private Security Monitor grew out of a 2011 workshop I hosted at University of California Irvine, part of an on-going collaboration with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). At this workshop, participants from governments, international organizations, civil society groups, and industry focused enhancing transparency around private military and security services. Participants seized upon the idea of building a centralized, online information portal specific to these services and agreed that academic institutions were well-poised to undertake this project. When I was offered a position directing the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at University of Denver’s Korbel School, this became our first major project.

We launched the “Private Security Monitor” publicly in August. The web portal, located at, provides an annotated guide to regulation, data and analysis of private military and security services. It is a one-stop source for public information on the worldwide use of these services and thus a resource for governments, policy-makers, activists, journalists, and researchers.

And this portion tells what is available to readers.

6) What are the principal benefits for MSR readers and how would you suggest that they use the portal?

There are many useful documents for maritime security providers on the Private Security Monitor site. There is a dedicated IMO section with links to all IMO guidance; a list of leading industry associations and links to industry association reports on the use of privately armed guards aboard ships; organized by country, regulations relevant to the use of private armed guards and carriage of armaments aboard ships; and standards related to the hiring, vetting and training of private security service providers.

Users can scroll through the site to learn about the variety of regulations and regulatory efforts contained therein. They could also search documents according to issue area, document type, geographical area, year or keyword. There is a quick search tab on each substantive page and a more comprehensive search page that can be accessed from the top navigation bar.

Pretty cool and I will keep a link to the PSM over in the links to the right of this blog. –Matt


About the Private Security Monitor Project

The Private Security Monitor is an independent research project dedicated to promoting knowledge of and transparency in global private military and security services. The Private Security Monitor’s web portal provides an annotated guide to regulation, data and analysis of private military and security services. It is a one-stop source for public information on the worldwide use of these services and thus a resource for governments, policy-makers, activists, journalists, and researchers.
Housed and maintained at the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, the Private Security Monitor operates in partnership with the Geneva-based Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).
The idea for the Private Security Monitor grew out of a 2011 workshop at the University of California, Irvine co-sponsored by UCI’s International Studies Program, DCAF, and the Center for Security, Economics and Technology (CSET) at the University of St. Gallen. At this workshop, participants from governments, international organizations, civil society groups, and industry agreed that lack of transparency was an important problem for the governance of private military and security services and that academic institutions could best contribute to information sharing, research and analysis. Thus the workshop’s first recommendation was for an academic-based project to serve as a one-stop source for information about private military and security services.

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Publications: GPF Report On Private Military And Security Companies And The UN

This one is a hard read, just because it is filled with bias against this industry. lol But if you can look beyond that junk and check out some of the details in the back of paper, they list some interesting stuff. Especially what companies the UN has used and currently uses, and how much money all of the UN programs have been spending on private security. Each year, it has been going up.

Now I agree with the authors that the UN should do everything in it’s power to hire quality companies that are vetted, and that these companies have appropriate rules and regulations guiding their use of force and whatnot. All of that is very important.

But I disagree with the authors view that companies are questionable in their ability to ‘help the U.N. promote democracy, the rule of law and human rights’. Especially when some of the military units that the UN has used has only hurt their image and their ability to promote democracy, the rule of law and human rights. It is disgraceful how poorly some of the military units that the UN has used in the past have acted–or not acted.

Either way, I believe private industry can and will do a far more superior job for the UN, and the UN will continue to contract the services of these companies. The amount of money they have spent on security has only increased from year to year, and the world is not getting any more safer. The UN does have a duty to responsibly contract these services–and god forbid, learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. lol It is all about actually caring about getting a good value for the money given to them by donor nations, and exercising their right as the client to actually fire bad companies. Pure principal-agent problem stuff here.

Also, I think as ISO standards come onto the scene, this will only help the UN in determining qualified vendors. We have had 10 plus years of war time contracting, and these companies are pretty experienced in providing a service in poor and unstable environments throughout the world. These companies are willing and able to enter into these risky jobs and that says a lot as well. I think the UN would be dumb to not tap into this resource, and especially as money becomes tighter and the world continues to have conflict. –Matt


Dangerous Partnership – Private Military and Security Companies and the UN
( GPF Policy Papers, Articles and Statements )
GPF’s report on the use of Private Military and Security Companies by the United Nations is out! This investigative report reveals that the UN has dramatically increased its use of these companies in recent years, hiring them for a wide array of “security services” and giving them considerable influence over its security policies. It also reveals that the UN has no process to vet these companies and that UN leadership has been closing its eyes to company misconduct for more than twenty years. GPF calls on the UN to reform this out-of-control system and to critically examine whether these companies really make the UN safer, or whether they might achieve the opposite effect. You can read the executive summary and the full report.


UN criticized for using private security companies
July 11, 2012
A non-profit organization that monitors the United Nations published a report Tuesday criticizing the U.N.’s growing use of private military and security companies.
The Global Policy Forum said the U.N.’s increasing use of these companies is “dangerous,” may increase rather than reduce threats and attacks on U.N. buildings and personnel, and suggests a system that is “unaccountable and out of control.”

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Legal News: McCaskill, Webb Introduce Comprehensive Contracting Reform Legislation

Thanks to POGO for posting this news and I would love to hear some feedback from our community on this. As an American and as a tax payer, I am all about contracting reform that leads to savings and minimizing waste and fraud. As a contractor, I am also enthused because I want to see good companies rewarded, and poor companies punished in this industry. Any tools that help make this process called contingency contracting more efficient, an asset to national interest and security, and rewards good behavior/punishes bad when doing business with private industry, is a good thing.

Below I have posted two videos made by the Senators that describe this legislation and all of the work that went into it. POGO provided a basic summary of some of the key points in this legislation on their website and here is a PDF of the legislation.

I guess the only reservation I have is the secondary effects of legislation like this. It is very hard to tell how some of this stuff will impact the guy on the ground. Will it increase the quality of contracts out there?  Will it hinder my ability to provide security services on these contracts?  Will this legislation hamstring national security, or enhance it?

Another fear is that now that the wars are winding down, that the lessons learned about contracting during war time will disappear or be marginalized. They mentioned this fear in the videos below, and it is food for thought.

My final point is that bravo to both Senators for recognizing the value of contractors. We are the other ‘All Volunteer’ force that makes our current volunteer military system work. These wars would have been radically different if the forces and support forces were raised by a draft. I personally think that a military supported by a contractor force is far more effective than a ‘slave army’.

A slave army is one where many of the participants are there because they are forced to be there. There is quite the difference between a military and contractor force filled with folks who want to be there or want to fight, and a conscripted military partially filled with folks who do not want anything to do with fighting or being in a war.

This system makes all the difference for war planners and political leaders who need time and flexibility when fighting an enemy and/or country that is not easily defeated within a short period of time. They need that flexibility for the politics of war, and they need that flexibility when situations change dramatically in a war–like losing partners in a coalition.

Does it make it easier for a country to go to war?  Maybe. Or maybe we have developed a way of warfare that fits well within the mindset and fabric of a modern liberal democracy? It also fits well within the plans of strategists and leaders tasked with protecting this country and supporting national interest. –Matt

McCaskill, Webb Introduce Comprehensive Contracting Reform Legislation

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
On Wednesday, February 29, 2012, Senators Claire McCaskill and Jim Webb introduced legislation to overhaul the federal government’s planning, management, and oversight of wartime contracting.  The Senators’ comprehensive reform legislation (S. 2139) builds on the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan – an independent, bipartisan panel that Senators McCaskill and Webb created through legislation they introduced in 2007.
Press release here.



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Industry Talk: Security Firms Hustle To Get Noticed In Kenya

Companies that specialise in one or select number of services have come up, intensifying competition with those that dominated before. KKLogit for example specialises in provision of cash-in-transit services, challenging industry leaders like G4S, Wells Fargo and BM Security Services.

I am always interested in PSC or PMC news in other parts of the world, so here is a story about the market in Kenya of all places. What is really neat about this particular story is the idea of the small companies competing and taking market share from the big companies. That these smaller companies are focusing on a particular niche, and marketing themselves as the best at that particular niche–like cash transits.  The larger companies might provide the same service, but maybe not at the same level of quality or cost as a small company can. The larger companies also might not have the support of the local populations, because they might seem like one of those evil ‘foreigner mega-corporations’ coming to take business from the little guy.

This also reminds me of classic Sun Tzu or military strategy where you attack weakness with strength. Another way to look at it is guerrilla warfare for business, and these smaller companies in Nairobi are figuring this out. That they may not be able to compete against a G4S type company directly, but they certainly can compete against G4S in a very specific market.  But that smaller company has to be able to prove that they are the better company for these specific deals.

And to be able to prove that they are the better company requires an excellent strategic communications plan, and quality control for services rendered. So with smaller companies that can more easily monitor all aspects of their business, and can be more personal online in places like Facebook, might have an advantage here.

A smaller business might also be more appealing to a client if they are opposed to supporting large foreign corporations.  So Walmart might sell watches, but if you can buy the same watch at the same price at a small mom and pop watch shop, that might have even more of a selection of watches than Walmart–then why support that foreign mega-corporation with your business? Or, if that mom and pop watch store is better able to connect with the local population than the mega-corporation, then that will help too. These are the kinds of ‘small guy versus the big guy’ communications and strategies a small company can do in a market like this.

A final note for this article, is that it is filled with the names of some interesting PSC players in Kenya. G4S, KKLogit, Wells Fargo, BM Security Services, Salama Fikira, and Senaca to name a few. Check it out. –Matt


Training at Senaca Security Services in Nairobi. Intense competition in the private security market is pushing service providers to turn to marketing and public relations to boost their visibility in the marketplace. File

Security firms hustle to get noticed
August 8  2011
Intense competition in the private security market is pushing service providers to turn to marketing and public relations to boost their visibility in the marketplace.
Previously, firms such as G4S Security, KK Security and Wells Fargo seldom bothered about publicity and often relied on walk-in clients and recommendation from their clients to net in new clients, especially corporate customers.
But competition from the top players and new entrants such as Senaca and more visible Brinks Security has forced a change in strategy and the market leaders are racing to grow and defend their marketshare.
As a result, the firms have set up or an in the process of setting up fully fledged communication departments as arsenal for market growth.

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Jobs: Program Manager-Merida, Mexico

I apologize if this is not an armed security type job like I normally post, but because this is for Mexico, I figured I would promote it here on the blog. The Merida Initiative is one of those deals where contractors can totally get in there and make a difference if given the task. There is a war in Mexico against these cartels, and they need all the help we can give them.

This is also a great job to post to coincide with this recent article about the ramped up efforts in Mexico. In the article they discuss how contractors are a way to get US resources into Mexico, and bypass Mexican law that prohibits US military help. This actually reminds me of something that MPRI would be doing. Here is the quote:

Officials are also looking into embedding a team of US contractors inside a specially vetted Mexican counternarcotics police unit. Officials on both sides of the border said the new efforts have been designed to get around Mexican laws that prohibit foreign military and police from operating on its soil, and to prevent advanced US surveillance technology from falling under the control of Mexican security agencies with long histories of corruption.

Now of course this gig does not at all sound like they will be ’embedded’ with counternarcotics officers. But if I find more jobs related to Merida, I will post them as I find them. I am not the POC or recruiter for this particular job, and please follow the link below if you would like to apply. Good luck. –Matt


Program Manager – Merida
Subsidiary: Olgoonik Technical Services, LLC
Location: Mexico
Organization: OTS
Requisition Number: 2010796
City: Mexico City
# of openings: 1
Description Overview:
The Program Manager will reside in Mexico City, Mexico, and shall have direct responsibility for successful management of all phases of the assigned program. This position is required to implement and maintain project cost accounting and record keeping processes. The Program Manager prepares written and oral reports for the Director of Operations as requested and oversees the program related field operations of the company. In addition, the Program Manager works closely with other departments such as Human Resources and Accounting to provide timely project related information.

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