Posts Tagged DoS

Industry Talk: Janus Global Operations Tasked To Clear Parts Of Mosul

Man, this is a story that is not getting the attention it needs, but is very much significant to the war effort. Janus Global is being tasked with clearing the thousands of IEDs and explosive remnants of the battle in Mosul. In the words of a US government official in reference to Mosul, it is ‘like nothing we’ve encountered’. Clearing Mosul will take in some estimates, up to ten years! Not only that, but think about the other areas that ISIS had control over in Iraq or even Syria. Weapons removal and abatement will keep this company and others like it, busy for a long time….

As to the particulars of these contracts, I have no idea if the contractors doing the clearing are using an organic security force or partnering with the host nation forces or subcontracting security. For the CMC projects during the Iraq war, security was a huge deal and it was done internally and contracted out, along with partnering with local security companies. Quite a few security contractors cycled through those projects back then and it was extremely successful in cleaning up old Ammunition Supply Points that were destroyed in the war.

I should note that this has been an incredibly dangerous assignment for this company.  Last year, a Janus Global contractor was killed clearing munitions in Ramadi and I don’t think this will be the last. Good job to the company and I wish everyone good luck as they clear these battlefields. –Matt

 

 

Janus Global Operations assists clearance of ISIS-placed booby traps and other explosive devices from Mosul, Iraq, the country’s second-largest city
By Kara Kagarise
Aug 2, 2017
Janus Global Operations (JGO) has been tasked to clear areas of Mosul, Iraq of ISIS- placed booby traps, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosive remnants of war in a situation a U.S. government official says is “like nothing we’ve encountered.”
JGO has been working in Iraq since April 2016 on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.  Initially, JGO helped clear Ramadi, Iraq of tens of thousands of explosive remnants of war left by ISIS as it was expelled by U.S.-supported Iraqi forces.  Earlier in 2017, having worked in Ramadi and other areas of Anbar province, JGO expanded its work for the State Department by establishing a training facility outside Erbil, in Iraq’s Kurdish region, to support operations in other areas liberated from ISIS.
The coalition against ISIS announced on July 10 that Iraqi forces regained control of Mosul, concluding a months-long effort that was supported by U.S. training and air support. The violent extremist group left behind innumerable explosive devices, as reported by the Washington Post on July 13 in an article headlined: “It could take more than a decade to clear Mosul of explosives, U.S. officials say.”
JGO’s chief executive officer said ISIS’ use of IEDs as a ‘weapons system’ broke new ground, making it much more challenging for Iraq’s displaced citizens to return home and resume their lives.  The State Department-sponsored efforts of JGO therefore utilized systematic ‘strategic clearance’ that focused on clearing critical infrastructure to rapidly enable the resumption of Mosul’s economic and civic life.
“Age, gender, religion – it makes no difference to ISIS.  Its goal is to destroy and kill. Ours is to help make the city safe for people, business, and government services to return to normal. The State Department’s office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is saving lives and restoring hope through its work, and we’re proud to be part of this effort,” said Matt Kaye, JGO’s chief executive officer.
JGO saw in Ramadi how ISIS leaves lethal devices in disguised places and in innocent-looking everyday items, and Kaye said JGO was seeing a similar tactic in Mosul, where such devices numbered into the tens of thousands. Mosul is larger than Ramadi, and ISIS had over two years to construct and hide its explosive devices.
Adding ISIS’ death traps to otherwise expected unexploded ordnance shows the scale of the task ahead.
As Stanley Brown, director of the State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, told the Washington Post: “When I look around the world, in some ways there’s nothing like Mosul that we’ve encountered. The level of contamination is not one where we’re talking weeks and months, we’re talking years and maybe decades.”
Janus Global Operations is an integrated stability operations company that focuses on ‘day after’ support for its clients, allowing them to take strategic steps almost as soon as hostilities cease, allowing citizens more rapidly to resume their lives and broader reconstruction to get underway.  Janus has thousands of employees serving clients in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.  Its services include munitions response; demining; intelligence support; logistics; life support; risk management; communications; and other services in some of the world’s most challenging and hostile environments.
Story here.

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Publications: DoD Contractor And Troop Levels In Iraq And Afghanistan 2007-2016

Another fantastic resource for those that are keeping track. Over the years, I have tracked these statistics and it is always interesting to see the trends or actual hard facts about the use of contractors by the US in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. Mind you, this is only for DoD related contractor personnel.

On a side note, I personally think that this reporting activity should be done based on a legal requirement, separate from the budget. That way, we can get a true picture of how many contractors are actually being used out there. It would be nice to see DoS report as well, and do something similar to what DoD is doing with these. –Matt

 

Report PDF here.

 

 

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Cool Stuff: Hagel, Biden And Kerry Rescued By Security Contractors In Afghanistan, 2008

This is awesome. A big hat tip to Will for putting this one up on his site. In this photo below, it shows Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Vice President Joe Biden and on the far right, Secretary of State John Kerry, which back then they were all Senators. The back story of this photo is that all three of these men were in a helicopter in Afghanistan during winter. During the flight, the snow got really bad and the helicopters were forced to land on some mountain top in Afghanistan.

They put out a distress call and the military was not in a position to rescue them. So security contractors or what I assume were WPS folks were called in, and they came over land to rescue them. Here is the quote in the article.

With the rapidly worsening weather, there was no way to evacuate the senators to safety by air. The U.S. military didn’t have the necessary people and vehicles nearby to rescue the senators via ground transport before the storm hit.

So the U.S. Embassy asked the men of Blackwater USA to go in by land and evacuate them to Bagram. They did the job, and the senators knew who came to their rescue mountainside when the military could not.

One of the points of Will’s post is that none of these men would acknowledge that they were rescued by contractors, or they outright lied and said it was American troops that rescued them. Here is what then Senator Kerry had to say.

“After several hours, the senators were evacuated by American troops and returned overland to Bagram Air Base, and left for their next scheduled stop in Ankara, Turkey,” a statement from Kerry’s office said. “Sen. Kerry thanks the American troops, who were terrific as always and who continue to do an incredible job in Afghanistan.”

Nope, you were not rescued by American troops– you were rescued by civilians or security contractors…..

Oh well, but at least I can help to correct the record on this blog and give it some more attention. This is just one example of many, where security contractors were the ‘cavalry’ and yet their actions were ignored or barely given a mention. If folks have any photos of the convoy that rolled up to rescue them, I would gladly make the edit and add it to this post. Good job to that team for making this rescue! –Matt

Edit: 09/24/2014–If you check out the comments below, you will see that there was a military convoy that went up to rescue these folks, but there were also contractors in vehicles that went with this convoy. So to clarify, both military and contractors were involved in this rescue operation. At the time of writing this post, I was only going with the information that was available or what was coming in via comments and email. I wasn’t there.  I also said I would make an edit if new information came in, so hopefully this helps. Keep checking the comments and the full story will present itself. Thanks to all for correcting the record and contributing to the story.

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Industry Talk: DynCorp International Honors Defense Of Freedom Medal Recipients

Speaking on behalf of the Department of Defense was Lieutenant General William N. Phillips, and from the Department of State were Ambassador Patrick Kennedy and Ambassador William R. Brownfield.
“There about 17,000 DynCorp personnel serving in a combat theater today. They are serving alongside our warfighters and protecting our freedom. Bottom line – contractor personnel and all they do remains vital to our nation. We depend on them, we rely on them, and they are extraordinary for their execution of the mission,” Phillips said.

Good on DynCorp for honoring their fallen and I certainly hope other companies will follow the same path, if they haven’t done so already. I have written in the past about the process companies and families/friends of the fallen can go through in order to get the Defense of Freedom Medal for their fallen and I highly encourage folks to do this. We must honor the sacrifice of the fallen….

I was also intrigued by this bit of news that came out during the ceremony. The State Department will be building a memorial to honor civilians/contractors that were killed, defending the DoS in the war. Very cool.

During his remarks, Ambassador Brownfield announced that, later this year, the Department of State will unveil a new memorial at the U.S. Department of State to honor civilian personnel, including contractors who have lost their lives serving on police training missions abroad.
“On the thirteenth of May this year, with the support, assistance and my personal gratitude to Under Secretary Kennedy, I hope we will unveil and dedicate a memorial to all those civilian police personnel who have given their lives up in overseas operations,” said Brownfield.

With that said, I certainly hope the new Secretary of State John Kerry will be in attendance, once this memorial is unveiled and dedicated? Better yet, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and the new Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel should all be in attendance. Because all of them owe their lives to the brave actions of security contractors who rescued them off a mountain in Afghanistan! For that matter, most of congress and our senior leadership should be in attendance–past and present, because most of them have been protected by contractors in some capacity in Iraq or Afghanistan, and at some point in this long war. –Matt

 

 

DynCorp International Honors Defense of Freedom Medal Recipients
February 28, 2013
DynCorp International hosted the families of 17 employees who were killed while serving U.S. government missions abroad as they received the Department of Defense’s Defense of Freedom medal, posthumously recognizing the contributions their loved ones made for their country. The honorees were killed while working on U.S. Department of State police training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2011. The award recipients’ families, representatives from the Department of State and Department of Defense, along with nearly 200 DI personnel were in attendance at the ceremony held February 11, 2013, in the Washington, D.C. area.
Speaking on behalf of the Department of Defense was Lieutenant General William N. Phillips, and from the Department of State were Ambassador Patrick Kennedy and Ambassador William R. Brownfield.
“There about 17,000 DynCorp personnel serving in a combat theater today. They are serving alongside our warfighters and protecting our freedom. Bottom line – contractor personnel and all they do remains vital to our nation. We depend on them, we rely on them, and they are extraordinary for their execution of the mission,” Phillips said.
During his remarks, Ambassador Brownfield announced that, later this year, the Department of State will unveil a new memorial at the U.S. Department of State to honor civilian personnel, including contractors who have lost their lives serving on police training missions abroad.
“On the thirteenth of May this year, with the support, assistance and my personal gratitude to Under Secretary Kennedy, I hope we will unveil and dedicate a memorial to all those civilian police personnel who have given their lives up in overseas operations,” said Brownfield.
Steve Gaffney, chairman and CEO of DynCorp International, placed a special emphasis on the family members who were in attendance, “Each of the 17 individuals who we honor tonight had a profound and lasting impact – not just on our company but on our country – and we often talk about their bravery and strength. But I also want to highlight the bravery and strength of those family members who are here tonight, and who continue to share the stories of their loved ones.”
The Defense of Freedom Medal, the civilian equivalent of the military’s Purple Heart, was presented to the families of the following DI personnel:
Roland Carroll Barvels of Aberdeen, S.D.
Brett Patrick Benton of Dry Ridge, Ky.
Brian Morgan Brian of Camden, Ark.
Michael Wayne Butler of Rembert, S.C.
Mike Dawes of Stilwell, Okla.
Arsenio Ducusin Domingo of Wadmalaw Island, S.C.
Richard Thomas Hickman of Cave Springs, Ga.
Leon Vincent Kimbrell of Boiling Springs, S.C.
Deborah Dawn Klecker of Redman, Ore.
Rudy Guerrero Mesa of Maxwell, Texas
William Lawrence Juneau of Orange County, Calif.
Douglas Stephen Thomas of Lexington, S.C.
Robert McDonald Timmann of Tallahassee, Fla.
Donald Bruce Tow of Lake Havasu, Ariz.
Darrell Leroy Wetherbee of Raymond, Maine
Gary Wayne Willard of Resaca, Ga.
Ronald Austin Zimmerman of Glenwood, Ind.

Link to post here.

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Publications: IG Review Of Best Value Contracting For DoS Local Guard Programs

After reading the latest report on the Benghazi attack called Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi, I came across another really cool report they referenced in regards to Best Value contracting. I thought it was pretty interesting and worthy of some attention here.

Here is the quote about it from the Benghazi report.

Though a few members of the February 17 Brigade and the Libya Shield militia assisted the Americans on the night of the attack, the security that these militias and the local police provided to U.S. personnel was woefully inadequate to the dangerous security environment in Benghazi.
The unarmed local contract guards also provided no meaningful resistance to the attackers. The Department of State’s Inspector General had previously found that concerns about local security guards were not limited to Libya. A February 2012 Department of State Inspector General (IG) report found that more than two-thirds of 86 diplomatic posts around the world surveyed reported problems with their local guard contractors. Of those posts that reported problems with their contractors, 37 percent said there was an insufficient number of local guards and 40 percent said there was insufficient training. The IG found that overseas diplomatic posts, particularly those in high-threat situations beyond Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan urgently needed best-value contracting, which takes into account the past performance of contractors.
Recommendation: When it becomes clear that a host nation cannot adequately perform its functions under the Vienna Convention, the Department of State must provide additional security measures of its own, urgently attempt to upgrade the host nation security forces, or decide to close a U.S. Diplomatic facility and remove U.S. personnel until appropriate steps can be taken to provide adequate security. American personnel who serve us abroad must often work in high risk environments, but when they do, we must provide them with adequate security. That clearly was not the case in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Recommendation: The Department must conduct a review of its local guard programs and particularly the use of local guard contractors at high-risk posts who do not meet appropriate standards necessary for the protection of our personnel or facilities.

Did you read that highlight? Urgently needed Best Value contracting….. and this is the IG saying this. lol Myself and others have been promoting the concept for awhile now and at least the IG get’s it. It sounds like DoS is starting to see the light as well.

The one interesting point that was discussed is the 10 percent price preference rule and how local guard force companies were just partnering with US companies in order to qualify. Here is a quote:

U.S. companies or qualified joint ventures “shall be evaluated by reducing the bid by 10 percent.” Based on an examination of contract competition documents for 35 local guard contracts, OIG found that the 10 percent price preference given to qualifying U.S. companies had no effect on the outcome of the awards. OIG further determined that it is easy for foreign companies wishing to take advantage of the price preference to become eligible by simply forming a joint venture with a U.S. company, thus largely negating the purpose of the preference.

So private industry found a loophole and exploited it to win contracts. With that said, I agree with the IG’s take on the 10 percent rule, and that it needs to be changed in order for it to be effective. Here is their suggestion.

Review the need for a 10 percent price preference given to U.S. companies bidding on local guard contracts because the preference has not been demonstrated to be a factor in recent local guard competitions.

Check it out below and it will be located in my Scribd or here on the blog for future reference. –Matt

 

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Quotes: Eric Nordstrom On Dealing And Fighting With The Bureaucracy Within

I had to put this quote up. It rings true with both the public realm and in private industry, and it is this kind of resistance towards supporting the efforts out in the field that just makes you shake your head in disbelief.

These folks put their lives on the line defending the embassies and consulates throughout the world. The main office tasked with support, should be bending over backwards to provide that support to those security efforts and leadership out in the field–and not fighting them. If that type of relationship is not in place, then that is when accidents or attacks seem to happen–as per the law’s of Murphy…. –Matt

 

 

“I said, ‘Jim, you know what makes it most frustrating about this assignment? It’s not the hardships. It’s not the gunfire. It’s not the threats. It’s dealing and fighting against the people, programs, and personnel who are supposed to be supporting me,” Nordstrom said.
He also told the State Department officer, “‘For me, the Taliban is on the inside of the building.”

-Eric Nordstrom, the one-time regional security officer, told the House Oversight Committee that he had a disheartening conversation with the regional director of the agency’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs when he requested additional manpower for the facility. (source)

 

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