Posts Tagged contracts

Film: War Dogs

Oh yeah, this looks good. If anyone remembers the company AEY Inc. and their fraudulent contracts with the government, here is their story in the form of a comedy. The government absolutely dropped the ball when it came to it’s contracting procedures, and sleazeball dorks like these guys took advantage. Here is a backgrounder on it via wikipedia.

Efraim Diveroli is a former American arms dealer. His company, AEY Inc., was a weapons contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense. Convicted in January 2011 of fraud, he was sentenced to four years in federal prison.

On March 27, 2008, the U.S. government suspended AEY Inc. for infringing upon the terms of its contract; in violation of a pre-existing arms embargo, the company was accused of supplying ammunition manufactured in China to the Afghan National Army and police. United States Army documents showed that the company totaled more than $200 million in contracts to supply ammunition, assault rifles, and other weapons in 2007. As a result of publicity surrounding the contract, the United States Army began a review of its contracting procedures.

A company Diveroli owns, Ammoworks, continued selling arms while he awaited trial for conspiracy.  In late August 2008, he pled guilty on one count of conspiracy, and was sentenced to four years in prison on January 4, 2011. He was further sentenced for possessing a weapon while out on bond.

His former employee, David Packouz, was sentenced to seven month’s house arrest. Packouz later went on to invent a guitar pedal drum machine, the BeatBuddy.

After his release from prison, Diveroli was sued in Florida State court by his cousin, Joseph Wachtel, for extortion.

The story of Diveroli and Packouz is the subject of an upcoming Todd Phillips comedy film, War Dogs, starring Jonah Hill as Diveroli and Miles Teller as Packouz. The film is due for release on August 19, 2016.

Actually, there is a lot more of these types of stories that could be done. Lots of material.

You could classify movies like this as the new Pentagon Wars… lol –Matt

War Dogs website here.

War Dogs Facebook here.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.54.18 AM

 

 

David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli of AEY Inc.

 

War Dogs (previously known as Arms and the Dudes) is an upcoming American biographical criminal comedy film directed by Todd Phillips and written by Phillips, Jason Smilovic and Stephen Chin, based on the Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson. Lawson has since written a book titled Arms and the Dudes detailing the story. The film follows two arms dealers, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who get a government contract to supply weapons for US troops in Afghanistan. The film stars Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, Ana de Armas and J. B. Blanc. Filming began on March 2, 2015 in Romania. The film is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on August 19, 2016.
Two arms dealers, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, secure a $300 million government contract to supply weapons for US allies in Afghanistan. They soon find themselves in danger abroad and in trouble back home.

Tags: , , , , ,

Industry Talk: FBO–RFI For 500-600 Armed Guards For Kandahar Airfield

By the end of the year US troop levels in Afghanistan will fall to 9,800, with another 3,000 – 5,000 NATO troops sticking around as well through the end of 2016. And while those remaining forces will be focused solely on training and advising the Afghan Army, Air Force, police and border patrol mostly at the leader and Ministerial level in Kabul and a few other sites, jobs like security for the major bases will have to be outsourced to private companies.-Paul Macleary of the Intercepts blog.

This just came out and it is hot off the press. A big hat tip to the blog Intercepts over at Defense News for finding this one. So let’s dig into the particulars of this FBO RFI requiring between 500 and 600 folks to guard the Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.

The first thing that came to mind is the whole 45-60 day mobilization period? That is not a lot of time to recruit, train, and spin up such a sizable force. And if you force a company to adhere to such a thing, then they will get sloppy and they will allow bad seeds to get into the mix, just because of the sheer volume of guys they have to hire for this. Anything is possible, but the more you compress the time for this, the more the company will be rushed and will be sloppy with vetting and recruiting. The contract should emphasize the importance of spinning up a quality guard force, and the appropriate time to do so.

Also, I imagine that the standing force requirements are probably a little under half of this number, meaning maybe 200 to 300 guys actually on site protecting the facility (see the photo below)? So these guys that are standing up this contract better have some clue as to how static security works on this base and the leaders of this contract better know how to integrate well with the base QRF elements and the base defense plan. I highly recommend whatever company that stands this up, to study the Camp Bastion attack reports written by the Marines, so that they can get an idea of what their guard force needs to think about in Afghanistan. All actions by this guard force, should be focused on unity of command and unity of effort with BDOC or the military command and QRF of the base.

Another point. Base defenses these days have heavy weapons. If the Kandahar Airfield has posts with heavy weapons, and these guards will be manning those weapons, then training requirements should be specified in the contract. I would absolutely insist on some kind of deal where contractors are able to get training in a controlled environment, and then continue that training on these weapon systems while in Afghanistan. Meaning allow them to shoot the weapons, work the ranges with those weapons, and train on the TTP’s with those weapons. The base defense is highly dependent on that guard force to do it’s job. That would mean structure shifts to be smaller, so that there is more time for training. A contract could stipulate 8 hour shifts at the max, which would then give the company time to train while out in the field. The concept of 12 hour shifts does not help at all for training.

Like wise, if posts have special equipment like thermal imagers or military radios, these guards absolutely need to be spun up on this stuff. They should also be versed in a sound action plan for when the base gets attacked, and the contract should require that they do drills and maintain proficiency. With an 8 hour shift scheme, the companies would have plenty of time to do these drills and training. Like I mentioned before, the Camp Bastion attack is an excellent example of stuff a guard force needs to think about and work on.

Final point would be communications. The guard forces, be it military or contractor, need to be talking to one another and interacting. They need integrated communications, and this relationship should be geared towards creating unity of effort and unity of command. The BDOC should absolutely insist on this, and whomever is tasked with spinning up this contract for the Army, should think long and hard about how to structure the contract to meet those ends.

As for the pay and benefits, all I can say there is that if you ‘pay peanuts, you will get monkeys’. I have seen multiple complaints from contractors on how the Camp Leatherneck or Camp Dwyer contracts have materialized. If these contracts are poorly structured, poorly managed, and not given the time to properly set up, then of course things will get screwed up. And if the contract is paying an unreasonably low salary, then the guard force you hire will not have any respect for the job. They will be miserable, and this attitude will permeate throughout the contract. Guys will also jump contract at the first opportunity of a better gig. My advice is to pay a living salary that is respectable in this industry, and structure the leave and shift scheduling that will keep guys around, and not scare them away.

That last part is key. If companies are getting paid for training folks, and are not penalized for pushing contractors out with horrible policies and poor management, then what pops up is a revolving door training scam. The companies will push contractors to the edge with dumb policies so that folks eventually just leave, and then those same companies can train more people and charge the government more money for that. So my advice to the government is to incentivize the company they work with, to keep guys hanging around. The contract should use longevity bonuses, if a contractor stays an ‘x’ amount of days. The contract should also protect the salary of those contractors, so the company can’t play games with the salary. The contract should require paying a higher salary to shift leaders or other small unit leaders, to attract those who would want to do that kind of work. Reward companies for treating their people with respect and setting up excellent systems. Penalize companies that create training schemes, where they push out contractors so they can train more and grow their training business back home. And make damn sure your contracting officer that is assigned to watch this contract, knows what they are doing and actually cares what the company is doing in the field. You need to watch every step of the way, and have plenty of tools to keep that company in check so it does exactly what you want it to do.

My personal preference for a contract, is for the government to stipulate that companies form teams or platoons, where guys are assigned a unit. That way you can actually build some kind of unit cohesion within the contract. True leaders will rise to the top, because they have been forged in that furnace of a team. The current contracts on various bases, where guys are not assigned any team and are just thrown into the mix every time they come back from leave, is idiotic. It doesn’t build unit cohesion, or mutual trust, and folks are constantly having to adapt to a new group of people. It is better to build that trust between individuals through the mechanism of a team or platoon or squad or detail formations, as opposed to constantly breaking up that mutual trust that forms within a unit in a war zone. Teams are also important for mission command to be successful, and if the military is truly focused on implementing mission command within it’s operations, then they should practice what they preach with the formation of contracts that help support that type of structure and culture.

Something to think about for the companies and contracting officers that are reading this. All of this stuff can be spelled out in a contract and implemented by a company. There are other checks and balances that I am missing in this post that I could spend days talking about, but the big one to remember is that a contract should help in the creation of an environment and culture where folks are successful because of the system or contract, and not in spite of it. –Matt

 

Kandahar Airfield is a massive site, and you can see why it would require such a sizable guard force.

 

This Request for Information (RFI) is a market research survey to determine the availability and adequacy of potential sources prior to determining an acquisition and contract strategy to procure Private Security Company (PSC) services in support of U.S. Forces – Afghanistan (US FOR-A) Garrison Command, and tenant organizations at Kandahar Airfield (KAF), Afghanistan. Only  expatriates  from  the  FVEY  (Five  Eyes)   International  Intelligence  Sharing Network Nations (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) will be permitted to perform work as permanent or temporary residents of Kandahar Airfield under any future contract – no exceptions.  There is a requirement for U.S. Secret level security clearances for supervisory and operations personnel.

This RFI does not constitute a solicitation (Request for Proposal or Request f or Quotation) or a promise to issue a solicitation in the future.   As stipulated in FAR 15.201(e), responses to this notice are not considered offers, shall not be used as a proposal, and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract.    This RFI does not commit the Government to contract for any services whatsoever.   We are not seeking proposals at this time.  Responders are advised that the Government will not pay for any information or administrative costs incurred in response to this RFI.

The information received will be utilized by RCC-South in developing an acquisition strategy and Purchase Description and Specification.   The information in this notice is based on current information available to date.   This information is subject to change and is not binding to the Government.    Responses to this RFI may or may not be returned.    Not responding to this RFI does not preclude participation in any future solicitations, if one is issued.

Any resulting procurement action will be the subject of a separate, future announcement. The proposed acquisition is for services for which the Government intends to solicit and award in conjunction with policies procedures from FAR Part 15, Contracting by Negotiation.

The proposed acquisition is expected to be a firm fixed price contract for a ten (10) month base period, which includes a sixty (45-60) day mobilization period (estimated), and no option periods.   The requirement calls for an approximate of 500-600 guards, armorers, and management  personnel;  no  less  than  30%  of  which  must  be  FVEY  Expatriates,  with  the remaining 70% from an allowable ISAF Troop Contributing Nation: http://www.nato.int/ISAF/structure/nations/index.html

The following information is provided to assist with developing your response:

1.  The government will provide all lodging and office space to meet this requirement. Contractors may have access to MILAIR, DFACs, PX, and MWR.  A contractor man- camp is not required.

2. The contractor shall provide all vehicles, weapons, ammunition, communications equipment, optics, and other equipment necessary to perform the PSC mission.  There will be some government furnished equipment, but this is not relevant to the mobilization questions.

3.   The service is to secure the entirety of Kandahar Airfield (man towers), man/operate ECPs, and conduct roving patrols 24/7 for the specified period of performance.

Interested parties shall submit a response that answers the following questions:

1.  Can you mobilize the required number of personnel, complete with medical screening, vetting and arming authorizations processed, within 45 days of contract award?

2.  If not, what is the maximum number of personnel feasible to mobilize within 45 days of contract award?

3.  Can you mobilize the required number of personnel, complete with medical screening, vetting and arming authorizations processed, within 60 days of contract award?

4.  If not, what is the maximum number of personnel feasible to mobilize within 60 days of contract award?

5.  What is the minimum timeframe feasible for full mobilization of a guard force of approximately 500-600 personnel?

6.  If a phased approach is used for mobilization, please describe the number of personnel and timelines you could reasonably expect to accomplish full operating capability?

7.  What are some of the barriers you anticipate could impact expedited mobilization?

You have the option to present evidence that you are capable of providing the services required and as such your response may contain any information that you feel is relevant.  Please provide an electronic copy of your submitted information to the point of contact theodore.m.epple@swa.army.mil NO LATER THAN 13 October 2014 by 1800 hours EST.

FBO RFI here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Quotes: SIGAR’s John F Sopko On Government’s Inability To End Contracts With Al Qaeda And Taliban In Afghanistan

This is just appalling. If this doesn’t get your blood boiling, I don’t know what would. Pass this around and let your elected officials know that this is unacceptable. –Matt

 

In conclusion, I would also like to reiterate the concerns I raised in our last report about the Army’s refusal to act on SIGAR’s recommendations to prevent supporters of the insurgency, including supporters of the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and al-Qaeda, from receiving government contracts. SIGAR referred 43 such cases to the Army recommending suspension and debarment, based on detailed supporting information demonstrating that these individuals and companies are providing material support to the insurgency in Afghanistan. But the Army rejected all 43 cases. The Army Suspension and Debarment Office appears to believe that suspension or debarment of these individuals and companies would be a violation of their due process rights if based on classified information or if based on findings by the Department of Commerce. I am deeply troubled that the U.S. military can pursue, attack, and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that some in the U.S. government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract. I feel such a position is not only legally wrong, it is contrary to good public policy and contrary to our national security goals in Afghanistan. I continue to urge you to change this faulty policy and enforce the rule of common sense in the Army’s suspension and debarment program.” – John F. Sopko (SIGAR) in their latest report, July 30, 2013.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Industry Talk: Amazon Fires German Security Firm Amid Probe

An Amazon spokeswoman in Germany said the company had ended its relationship with Hensel European Security Services “with immediate effect.”
“Amazon has a zero tolerance limit for discrimination and intimidation and expects the same of other companies we work with,” spokeswoman Ulrike Stoecker said in an email to The Associated Press.

There are a few really key points for the industry to look at with this one. So let’s break it down as to what is at issue. First, a documentary group brought forth the poor working conditions in an Amazon facility in Germany. Amazon is an American company and has a global presence, to include in Germany (it’s second largest market next to the US). This particular facility was staffed with foreign temporary workers, and especially during the holiday seasons, and the HESS security company was contracted to watch over the operation.

Obviously the documentary film was designed to show Amazon in a bad light and point out some poor practices of the company. What is interesting though is that the film also went on to target the security company Amazon hired.

First, Amazon should have known better. Whomever was tasked with vetting security companies for this particular facility, did a pretty poor job. Why would you hire a company with the acronym HESS (remember Rudolph Hess?) in it’s title, and that allows it’s employees to dress like Neo-Nazis wearing known gang clothing? Even if they are effectively doing their job as per the contract, the visuals of such a thing, as well as the name of the company, has effectively put a big target on the back of Amazon by it’s competitors.

Now Amazon is in damage control mode and this HESS security company has been fired. To emphasize why this is so damaging, just look at how much business Amazon does in Germany. Quote:

Damage limitation in major marketplace
Amazon recorded sales of 6.8 billion euros ($8.4 billion) in Germany in 2012, making it the company’s second-largest market after the United States. The company is Germany’s leading e-commerce business with an online market share just below 25 percent.
Many Germans called for boycotts or protests after the broadcast. A petition endorsed by the Verdi trade union, responsible for those Amazon staff seeking union representation, had garnered more than 3,000 signatures as of the early hours of Saturday morning.

Now that last part might be a key thing to mention here as well. A foreign company that employs foreign temporary workers, does not look good to those in Germany who would like to have those jobs. More than likely, these foreign temporary workers get this kind of treatment because the company is investing so little in their welfare. Meaning Germans would probably not accept such working conditions for such a job, but foreign temps from poor countries probably would, and do.

It is also an embarrassment to Germany, for a foreign company, that is allowed to operate on their soil and treat workers like this. So here comes the boycotts and the public outrage and a cut in market share in Germany. Although who can compete with Amazon is the question, and to Amazon, it is merely a matter of correcting the wrongs. We will see.

As for the lesson learned for security companies? Choose your company name wisely and actually care about how your employees or contractors operate. If they are wearing gang clothing or some other offensive clothing that would present the client company in a bad light, then maybe a policy should be in place to regulate that. Or if your company uniform sends the wrong message, then maybe you should re-evaluate what is more appropriate for that contract/mission. The brand, the image, the actions of it’s people–are all things that need to be carefully thought out and managed. Do not embarrass the client.

The various clients of security companies need to wake up as well. Amazon is a huge company, but there is no excuse for them to make such poor decisions in vetting.

My advice for companies is that the security company you hire is representing you, so do your due diligence and ensure you have a company that will not only protect you and your assets, but also protect your good name by not being an embarrassment. –Matt

 

Amazon fires German security firm amid probe
By FRANK JORDANS
Monday, February 18, 2013
Online retailer Amazon reacted to mounting criticism Monday by firing a security company named in a German television documentary about alleged mistreatment of foreign temporary workers.
An Amazon spokeswoman in Germany said the company had ended its relationship with Hensel European Security Services “with immediate effect.”
“Amazon has a zero tolerance limit for discrimination and intimidation and expects the same of other companies we work with,” spokeswoman Ulrike Stoecker said in an email to The Associated Press.
A documentary shown on German public television channel ARD last week showed staff of the security company — whose initials spell out the surname of Adolf Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess — wearing clothes linked to Germany’s neo-Nazi scene. It also interviewed people claiming they were intimidated by the security guards, who were stationed at a holiday camp where the temporary staff were housed.
Story here.
———————–
Amazon scrambles after damning German documentary
February 16, 2013
Online shopping giant Amazon is on the defensive in its second-largest market after a critical investigative report. Local labor authorities say allegations of employee mistreatment severely damage Germany’s image.
The state of Hesse’s labor agency on Friday said that Amazon’s apparent treatment of Spanish staff deeply damages Germany’s reputation.
“The allegations that were broadcast are very serious and affected me greatly,” head of the Hesse branch of the Federal Employment Agency, Frank Martin, said in a statement. Martin called on Amazon to clear up the “currently non-transparent working practices” as quickly as possible.
A public television documentary on ARD, whose title roughly translated as “shipped out!”, looked into working conditions for seasonal staff – mostly from outside Germany – brought in to deal with the Christmas rush at Amazon’s German outlets.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

Industry Talk: ANSI Introduces New ISO Standard For PSC’s

Ok, here we go. Finally we are getting into the realm of ISO for security companies, which I have commented on in the past. This has been one of those goals of the industry for a long time, and it is great that the process is moving forward.

Below I have posted two articles packed with some good information on some ISO case studies, and why it will be a good thing for this industry. The case studies section came to some very interesting conclusions as well. Check this quote out?

Overall, the 21 case studies demonstrate that the benefits of using standards are valued, in terms of contribution to company gross profit, at between 0.15% and 5% of annual sales revenues.

So how can standards like these, actually increase a company’s annual sales revenue? Well, the studies came up with some key benefits of the ISO which all contribute to this increase. To me, it is all about getting companies throughout the world, playing by the same rules and standards, which also opens up the market for these companies wishing to be more global. It’s all about having a standard that is universally recognized, so a client knows that an ISO company in Germany is operating on the same level as an ISO company in India. They might not offer the same types of services or even the same quality, but at the least, they both abide by a standard of operation that is agreed to as the ‘international standard’.

Clients will also know what they are getting when contracting with such a company, and they will also know who to complain too if said company is not living up to this standard. Here is a list of a few of the benefits of the ISO.

Streamlining internal company processes
Decreasing waste and internal costs
Increasing the efficiency of research & development
Innovating business processes
Reducing risk
Enabling international expansion
Supporting development of new products and markets

What is also important to note is that this ISO is primarily focused on PSC’s and not PMC’s. Although to me, there is a lot of cross over between the two types of companies. This standard sounds like it is not applicable to maritime either, but I could be wrong there. For this ISO, they are making this distinction and will probably build upon it to make a custom ISO for Maritime Security Companies and Private Military Companies. Here is a quote.

The standard creates a framework for establishing, monitoring, and maintaining management of private security services and applies to any land-based private security provider; the standard does not apply to private military companies (PMCs), which work in military settings and offer direct tactical military assistance.

Pretty cool, and if anyone has anything to add, feel free to do so in the comments. –Matt

 

ANSI Seeks Comments on Proposed New ISO Standard on Private Security Provider Operations
October 4, 2012
ASIS International, a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has submitted a proposal for a new International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard focusing on quality management for private security companies. As the U.S. member body to ISO, ANSI invites all interested stakeholders to submit comments on the proposal by Friday, October 26, 2012.
The proposal recommends the adoption of the American National Standard ANSI/ASIS.PSC.1:2012, Management System for Quality of Private Security Company Operations – Requirements with Guidance, as an ISO management system standard. The proposed International Standard provides the principles and requirements for private security service providers, including private security companies (PSCs), with an emphasis on the establishment of auditable criteria, as well as accountability to relevant local laws and international human rights agreements.
The standard creates a framework for establishing, monitoring, and maintaining management of private security services and applies to any land-based private security provider; the standard does not apply to private military companies (PMCs), which work in military settings and offer direct tactical military assistance.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Industry Talk: The Muscogee Nation Uses Native 8(a) To Win A Guard Contract In Afghanistan

Building on the Afghanistan contract, MNBE has sent representatives to security industry expos in Dubai and is preparing to attend a similar expo in Ethiopia, hoping to gin up similar contracts to the one in Afghanistan. “Where some of the same things that we’ve been doing [in Afghanistan], they’re going to be looking at some of those same opportunities in” the Middle East and Africa, said Anderson.

Very cool. Although we will see if they are able to deliver on this particular contract now that they are doing it all themselves. In the past, it sounds like they subcontracted this type of thing to Ronco. But it also sounds like most of the Ronco guys stayed on to work with MNBE.

According to the article, not all of the contractors they are using are tribal folks as well. They were also able to obtain this contract because of the Native 8(a) program that gives preference to tribal owned businesses. Here is a quote:

However, according to MNBE’s CEO, Woody Anderson, the small firm owned by the Muscogee Nation Indian tribe is indeed protecting U.S. military projects in Afghanistan. “The people that we have in this contract here are our employees; they’re not Ronco employees,” Anderson told FP during a Sept. 21 telephone interview.
While the actual bodyguards working for MNBE aren’t members of the Muscogee tribe, some of the technicians who install cameras and other security gear in Afghanistan are, according to Anderson, who says that, of MBNE’s hundred-plus employees, about a dozen are tribe members.
For the last two years, MBNE partnered with Ronco to provide security to the Pentagon’s Task Force for Business and Sustainability Operations in Afghanistan, learning what it takes to run a private security outfit in a war zone and recruiting former military commandos to staff its security teams.
“The 8(a) program was an opportunity to get our foot in the door,” said Anderson; now, MBNE is striking out on its own.

On their website I have not see any specific ads for their Afghanistan deal, but send them a resume and you never know? If anyone from the company would like to comment on the company or contract, feel free to do so in the comments. –Matt

Website for the Muscogee Nation Business Enterprise here.

 

 

Tribal Warfare
Why did the Pentagon award a $7 million Afghanistan security contract to this group of Native Americans in Oklahoma?
BY JOHN REED
SEPTEMBER 25, 2012
The Muscogee Nation, part of the Creek Indian tribe, which fought with Confederate troops against the U.S. military during the Civil War, is now guarding Americans stationed at U.S. bases in Herat and Helmand, Afghanistan, under a $7 million Pentagon contract. The Muscogee Nation Business Enterprise (MBNE) is a 100-person firm that has in the past used its status as a tribal-owned company to win government business, some of which it then subcontracted to a larger security company, but it says that its employees are fulfilling this contract, providing security in a war zone.
Neither MBNE nor the Pentagon would provide specifics about the deal, citing security concerns. But, according to the contract announcement, made August 9, MBNE is “to provide life support services to the Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan. These services will include basic necessities, complex security, and personnel security details for safe travel in the immediate region around the Herat and Helmand facilities.”
The task force is a U.S. military organization charged with building up Afghan industries, particularly mining, agribusiness, and IT in order to “help Afghanistan achieve economic sovereignty,” according to a Pentagon website.
Given its small size, at first glance the notion that MBNE is protecting U.S. efforts in Afghanistan — a business dominated by large private security firms — seems implausible. Experts contacted about the contract initially speculated that MBNE might be a so-called pass-through firm.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,