Posts Tagged defense

Company Spotlight: Paramount Group Talks About Security In Africa

Below I have posted a couple of interesting stories about Paramount Group and it’s background. As you can see from it’s Wikipedia page, it is heavily involved with a lot of areas of defense in Africa and they are the largest PMSC in Africa. So when Ivor Ichikowitz (the founder and executive chairperson of the company) talks about private security in Africa, I tend to listen.

I also posted a side deal about an aircraft they donated to help in the war against Rhino poachers. This is a great move by the company because poachers are destroying one of Africa’s top treasures–it’s animals. They also had a vehicle showcased in the popular TV show called Top Gear.

The last article I posted below was not about Paramount Group specifically, but about private security in Africa in general. It talked about the focus of other large companies like G4S in Africa, and it is a great compare and contrast article after reading what Paramount mentioned. If companies want to know what to focus on when delving into this market, it pays to study the market leaders of this continent. Check it out. –Matt



From the website

Paramount Group is the largest privately owned defence and aerospace business in Africa, providing fully integrated turnkey solutions to global defence, peacekeeping and internal security forces.
Since its inception in 1994, Paramount has built strong relationships with governments and government agencies in over 30 countries around the world, earning an enviable reputation as a trusted advisor in the industry.
The Group is a leading innovator in the design and development of state-of-the-art products that it manufactures in locations throughout the world.  It is partnered with some of the world’s largest and most reputable organisations in the global defence community. The Paramount Group has the ability to understand its client requirements and to use its unique knowledge and experience to design cost-effective, future-proof solutions. As a result, Paramount has enjoyed strong growth and achieved an excellent track record of delivering successful projects.

From Wikipedia
Paramount Group is a group of companies operating in the global defence, internal security and peacekeeping industries. It was founded in South Africa in 1994 and offers a range of armoured vehicles, military aircraft, equipment and training to governments.
The company was founded by South African entrepreneur and industrialist Ivor Ichikowitz. The Group is based in South Africa, with its headquarters near Johannesburg.
Paramount Group manufactures a range of armoured vehicles – the Maverick, Mbombe, Matador and Marauder – and in 2011 unveiled AHRLAC, a long-range reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft. AHRLAC is the first aircraft to be designed and built from scratch in Africa.
The business has government clients in 28 countries and partnerships with leading international defence and aerospace players, including Aerosud Holdings Ltd, its partner in the development of AHRLAC (Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft).
In February 2011, Paramount Group announced a joint venture with Abu Dhabi – based defence business International Golden Group to market and distribute Paramount Group’s products and services in the United Arab Emirates.
Paramount Group’s Marauder featured in an episode of the BBC’s Top Gear programme. Television show presenter Richard Hammond took the vehicle on a test drive in South Africa to put the vehicle through its paces in comparison to a Humvee in a bid to find ‘the world’s toughest car.’ The programme was broadcast in July 2011.
AHRLAC was launched in September 2011 and described by commentators, including the Wall Street Journal, as filling a niche for a versatile, low-cost aircraft.


Security Is Key To Africa’s Economic Rise
By Ivor Ichikowitz, chairman of Paramount Group, Africa’s biggest private defence company.
Ivor Ichikowitz reports
22 November 2012
The most important single factor in boosting an emerging economy is a stable state. I believe that all things flow from this.
Capitalism is the most powerful driving force behind Africa’s economic development but businesses must be able to be run without the fear of suddenly losing all their assets in unexpected or undemocratic changes in government.
Criminals, terrorists and rebel groups further undermine economic activity across the continent and need to be effectively countered. It has been estimated, for example, that over 10% of Nigeria’s oil production is stolen between source and sale by criminal gangs, including groups who tap directly into long pipelines that are extremely vulnerable to theft in isolated areas.

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Connecticut: The Sandy Hook Massacre And The Defense

My heart goes out to the friends and family of the victims of this horrible incident. These tragedies are just unimaginable and it angers and saddens everyone….everyone.
With that said, my viewpoint on how to stop such incidents or at the least, to minimize the amount of death and destruction that happens during these types of incidents is to not ‘depend’ on someone else for the defense, but to be ready to ‘receive’ the assault. To be prepared.

To have the proper mindset about school or mall or whatever facility defense, I think the words of Sun Tzu ring true.

“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”

So for the defense, any administrator whom is tasked with evaluating their security protocols should be asking two questions–are we ready for an attack by an active shooter(s) and have we made our position unassailable? And once a plan is in place, that administrator should test the plan and apply Kaizen or continuous improvement to it–to constantly improve their defense.

My other commentary here is that humans are a better defense against active shooters.  A machine can fail–from cameras to ‘security glass’ to alarms. If it is made by a human, it can fail and it can also be defeated by a thinking human intent on destroying that in which you love. Your best defense is a well trained and thinking human, that is ‘backed up’ by all of those security gadgets.

The other point to bring up here is how fast this happened. The shooter in this attack was able to accomplish his goal within several minutes. The only people that could have stopped him would have been the teachers themselves. Because police could not have reached the scene in time. If there was a guard on the campus, he could have stopped the shooter at the entrance–because the security glass certainly did not stop the shooter.

But what if that guard is killed in the initial assault? It will be your teachers and others to step in to do what is right. It is about survival at that point, and a prepared staff is key. Having guards as a stop gap will definitely be optimum. An armed guard can also be intimidating to potential attackers and their plans–which might cause them to go elsewhere.

So hire guards, create an effective plan, and do not allow your facility and people to be victims. RUN/HIDE/FIGHT. Empower your teachers or employees with the knowledge necessary to survive and even defeat this type of attack. Get prepared and protect the most precious resources this country has–it’s people. –Matt



Sandy Hook massacre: New details, but few answers
By Steve Vogel, Sari Horwitz and David A. Fahrenthold,
December 16, 2012
The gunman who killed 27 people, including 20 children, on Friday targeted a school to which he had no apparent connection — forcing his way in and spraying classrooms with a weapon designed to kill across a battlefield, authorities said.
On Saturday, law enforcement officials gave new details about the rampage of Adam Lanza, which ended with Lanza’s suicide. Their new narrative partially contradicted previous ones and made a baffling act seem more so.
Lanza’s mother, for instance, was not a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, after all. She apparently was unemployed. So it was still a mystery why her 20-year-old son — after dressing in black, killing his mother and taking at least three guns from her collection — then drove the five miles to a school where he was a stranger.
The part of the story that remained grimly, awfully unchanged was what Lanza did when he got there.
Authorities on Saturday released the names of those Lanza killed at the school, who ranged in age from 6 to 56. And the state’s medical examiner — speaking in sanitized, clinical terms — described the results of something deeply obscene: a semiautomatic rifle fired inside an elementary classroom.
“I’ve been at this for a third of a century. And my sensibilities may not be the average man’s. But this probably is the worst I have seen,” said H. Wayne Carver II. Carver described the children’s injuries, which he said ranged from at least two to 11 bullet wounds apiece.
He had performed seven of the autopsies himself. A reporter asked what the children had been wearing.
“They’re wearing cute kid stuff,” Carver said. “I mean, they’re first-graders.”
On Saturday, this small New England town and the country played out what is now a familiar ritual: the dumbstruck aftermath of a young gunman’s massacre. Word came that President Obama would arrive Sunday for an evening interfaith service, repeating his role from Fort Hood, Tex.; Aurora, Colo.; and Tucson, Ariz. He would again be chief mourner. Read the rest of this entry »

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Military News: Private Contractors Key To UK Army, Says Philip Hammond

The same thing that applies to the US, is being applied to the UK. Contractors are an essential element to raising an army quickly, or maintaining the one you have. It ensures that the soldiers you do have, are in fact fighting forces and not just cooks or range maintenance folks. You can also build up that support force, or quickly tear it down, and there is no legacy costs like pensions to worry about.

Now the thing that I am curious about is the ‘inherently governmental’ debate happening places like parliament, think tanks and committees. How much will the British allow contractors to actually do when it comes to the gun related contracts in the future?

One thing that is definitely giving a good show as to the effectiveness and capability of armed security contractors is the anti-piracy efforts of the companies right now. Armed guards on boats, along with the history of British contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, are all experiences that are adding to the debate of what contractors are capable of.  Interesting stuff and we will see how the British military and leaders navigate this aspect of force. –Matt


Private contractors key to Army, says Philip Hammond
7 June 2012
The British army will have to rely more on part-time reserves and private contractors, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is expected to say later.
In a speech to military experts, he is due to say the future will involve “thinking innovatively about how combat service support is provided”.
Under the Strategic Defence and Security Review the Army will shrink from 102,000 to 82,000 troops by 2020.
Mr Hammond says there will be “difficult” decisions ahead.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said the speech at the annual Land Warfare Conference in London will give some clues as to how this rebalancing will be achieved, ahead of a full announcement later this month.
Mr Hammond is expected to tell an audience at the Royal United Services Institute there will be a need to use “more systematically the skills available in the reserve and from our contractors”.
Our correspondent says: “A total of £1.8bn is to be invested in the reserve forces, with a focus on certain niche areas such as cyber warfare, medical and intelligence.”

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Industry Talk: The Booming Private Security Industries Of Pakistan And India

     Below I have posted two snapshots of the private security industries in Pakistan and India. In a nutshell, those industries are exploding with growth. In Pakistan, terrorism is the driver of this increase. In India it is a combination of economic expansion along with terrorism as the drivers.

     Of course Pakistan and India are very mistrustful of one another, and there is also the growth of their defense industries to meet the needs of their militaries. Interesting stuff and definitely an area to keep a watch on. –Matt

Boom in Pakistan’s private security industry

January 18, 2011

Pakistan’s deteriorating  law and order has led to a boom in the private security industry in the country. Companies are investing millions of dollars to train and update their security operations.

 An estimated 30,000 private security guards have found employment with 400 private security agencies that have sprung up in Pakistan in recent years. These guards are paid about ten thousand Pakistani rupees a month… well above the minimum wage of six thousand.

Specialist security guards and bodyguards make around 25 thousand rupees.

Training includes special focus on the deadliest of enemies, the suicide bomber. Iqbal Mahmood, the trainer at Security 2000 explains how to look for one. “If someone is draped in white dress, particularly resembling a white shroud is a sign that the person has come ready to die. This is usually the first sign, secondly when the body looks a bit out of proportions; particularly the chest is raised higher than a normal human being is another give away sign that this person might be a suicide bomber,” says Mahmood.

The security industry in Pakistan is worth around 60 million dollars a year. Visit any luxury hotel in Pakistan and you’ll see where the money is being spent.

Zahid Shah, Security Manager at Pearl Continental Hotel says, “We have tried to maintain and standardise our security arrangements by beefing up this location with various kinds of systems, there can be hydraulic blockers, there are electronic barriers, there are sniffer dogs, besides of course the manual arrangements which is comprising of the security guards and the supervisors that we have.”

Story here.


Booming private security agencies seek PE funding

Paramita Chatterjee & Pramugdha Mamgain

18 Jan, 2011

As rapid economic expansion creates a booming market for private security services, small and mid-sized companies in the sector are seeking risk capital infusion to further expansion plans. Growing public infrastructure in the form of roads, airports, shopping malls and commercial complexes has triggered a boom in the market for security services that is expected to grow five-fold to reach a size of 30,000 crore by 2015.

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Military News: British Military Expands Links To French Allies

     Wow, this is interesting. I won’t say much, because I really don’t have a good feel on how both sides feel about this. Or how this impacts each nation’s psyche when their defenses are so closely tied to another country’s defense. I mean it is pragmatic, and helps increase the defensive or offensive capabilities of each country. But what happens when France wants to use a British asset for something that Britain wants no part in? Or when the politics change in each country, how will something like this last? –Matt

British Military Expands Links to French Allies

November 2, 2010


LONDON — Britain and France signed defense agreements on Tuesday that promised cooperation far beyond anything achieved previously in 60 years of NATO cooperation, including the creation of a joint expeditionary force, shared use of aircraft carriers and combined efforts to improve the safety and effectiveness of their nuclear weapons.

The agreements signed in London by Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France were a landmark of another kind for two nations that spent centuries confronting each other on the battlefields of Europe. While neither leader mentioned Agincourt, Trafalgar or Waterloo, or French victories that included the Norman Conquest in 1066, both stirred a brief whiff of the troubled history of Anglo-French relations into the mood of general bonhomie.

The agreements envisaged a new combined force available for deployment at times of international crisis that is expected to involve about 5,000 service members from each nation, with land, sea and air components, and rotating French and British commanders. The pacts also foresee each nation alternating in putting a single aircraft carrier to sea, with the vessels operating as bases for French, British and American aircraft in times of need.

The nuclear agreement was in some ways the most surprising, since it committed the two nations to sharing some of their most carefully kept secrets. Although the two leaders emphasized that France’s “force de frappe” and Britain’s similar, submarine-based ballistic missile force would remain separate and under the sole control of each government, they agreed to establish joint research centers, one in France and one in Britain, to further research on their stockpiles of nuclear warheads.

The cooperation pact was set to last 50 years and could transform the way the countries project force, fight wars and compete for defense contracts with the United States. One goal appeared to be to give the two militaries greater buying power to support the struggling European defense industry.

Mr. Cameron, who has navigated deep hostilities to European integration and deep skepticism toward France in his Conservative Party, emphasized the budgetary benefits, saying the agreements would contribute savings of “millions of pounds” to Britain’s plan to make deep cuts in its $60 billion defense budget.

Previous efforts at military cooperation between the countries have more often faltered than succeeded. In the late 1990s, Tony Blair, then Britain’s prime minister, and Jacques Chirac, then France’s president, promised deeper defense cooperation, but the understanding was undone by differences over the Iraq war. In both countries, there are significant political forces arrayed against anything that smacks of too close a military partnership with the age-old foe.

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Industry Talk: Contractors And Iraq Defense–The Next Vinnell Arabia?

Iraq has ordered or requested more than $13 billion worth of U.S. arms, as well as a shipment of 18 F-16s, which aren’t expected to arrive at least until 2013 even if the order receives swift congressional approval.

“It’s inevitable,” he said. “We have equipment such as tanks, aircraft, naval equipment, and it’s all coming from the United States. They won’t be fully ready until 2016, so how are we going to train on them? By mail? We will need the help of specialists and experts and trainers and those people are going to need life support and force protection.”

Otherwise, he added, “all the expenses I paid for … will be in vain.” 


The issue of a continuing American presence is politically sensitive in Baghdad and Washington. No Iraqi politician seeking to head the next government could risk calling for the U.S. military, which led the 2003 invasion of their country, to stay longer. The faction loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr, whose support could prove crucial to any future government, opposed the agreement that allowed U.S. troops to stay as long as 2011, and has said it will not back any government that permits them to stay any longer. 


     I stumbled upon this article the other day while doing my research and this jumped out at me.  As you can see with the two quotes up top, as well as what the article as a whole was discussing, we are in a very peculiar situation in Iraq.  We have given them all of this American hardware like the F-16 or the M-1 Abrams, and yet politically we are unable to stick around to make sure the Iraqis can take care of the stuff.  Enter the contractor.

     With that said, one could say that contractors will not only be important to the DoS mission or the oil companies, but also to the defense companies doing business with the Iraqi MoD.  The companies that make this hardware will need a place to stay that is safe, they will need protection they can depend upon, and those protectors will have to be folks that know the ins and outs of Iraq. Security contractors will be very important in these early transition years.

    Not only that, but armies like the Iraqi Army, whom are trained to western standards will undoubtedly need more western ways of warfare ‘tune ups’.  It is not enough to give them a tank, an APC, or jet and call it a day.  They need to know maintenance, strategy, limits and capabilities, etc.–and all of that requires a western trainer who can hold their hand and give them guidance. Think Vinnell Arabia, but in Iraq.(a defense company that has been training Saudi Arabia’s military for years) Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if Vinnell Arabia was called upon to be that company to provide these services in Iraq.

    The next point is time frame.  As American and European equipment continues to saturate the Iraq defense stockpile, we have essentially created a self perpetuating business relationship between Iraq and the west. We basically create their dependence on the stuff.  This general below mentioned several dates like 2016 or 2020, but realistically Iraq will need this kind of support for as long as they have a military dependent on this equipment.  And if they ever were able to optimize their oil production and make profit off of it, I believe they will take somewhat of the same path as Saudi Arabia when it comes to defense. (lots of current equipment and quality trainers to go with) Of course this scenario would take a bit to get to that point, but you get the idea.  The relationship between private industry and Iraq defense will be a constant over the years, just as long as Iraq’s defense depends upon western military hardware and know how, and they have neighbors that they consider to be ‘external threats’.

    The final point is that we are also building Afghanistan’s defense and they too will need help with it well after the war is over. Not to mention that Afghanistan and the US is becoming more politically sensitive when it comes to troop deployments. Contractors who know Afghanistan will be important as well.  Of course we are not at this phase yet, but you get the idea and it is definitely something to think about. Interesting stuff. –Matt


Iraqi official foresees a U.S. military presence until 2016

Baghdad is buying American military gear and weapons, which have yet to arrive. U.S. forces must stay to train Iraqis on how to use them, Defense Minister Abdul Qader Obeidi says.

September 08, 2010

By Liz Sly

Some form of U.S. military presence will be needed in Iraq at least until 2016 to provide training, support and maintenance for the vast quantity of military equipment and weaponry that Iraq is buying from America, Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qader Obeidi said.

In addition, Iraq will continue to need help with intelligence gathering after 2011, and the fledgling Iraqi air force will require U.S. assistance at least until 2020, the date by which Iraq aims to achieve the capability to defend its airspace, Obeidi said.

The comments were made in an interview a week after President Obama declared the end of U.S. combat operations and reaffirmed America’s commitment to pull out all its troops by the end of 2011, under the terms of a security agreement reached by the Bush administration and the Iraqi government in 2008.

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