Posts Tagged feral jundi

Industry Talk: Afghanistan To Disband The APPF!

U.S. Army Col. Jane Crichton, a spokeswoman for the U.S.-led coalition, said there had been no immediate impact on security.
“We are not aware of any decisions or significant changes to support that affect the coalition in the near-term,” she said. “We are evaluating possible courses of action, including providing our own security or using contract security, among others. At present, the APPF is still providing convoy security escorts with no plan to cease.”

This is big, and good riddance. The APPF was a joke from the get go, and more than likely the money earned by this venture was squandered away by a corrupt government–hence why they are disbanding it. Also, I had been getting reports over the last couple weeks from contractors saying that APPF guards were not getting paid and that there was rumor that this was going to happen.

Now the question is, how will this security vacuum be filled? Well, that quote up top says it all. Either these clients will just pack up and go home, or if they decide to stay, they will be requiring contract security. Which I am sure there will be plenty of companies willing to step in and do this.

Although there is one caveat with that statement. The Afghan government has been seizing weapons and communications gear like crazy for the last several years, and it could be very difficult for companies to get that stuff back to do the job. So going back to the corrupt government theme, I could see lease or rental type agreements for weapons or some kind license scheme that will cost oodles of money for companies to get set up.  Who knows, but at least the APPF is going away.

If anyone has other elements to report about this development, let me know in the comments. Especially if security becomes an issue because of the way this has worked out. There is still a war going on and I imagine if APPF guys are just walking off post because they are not getting paid or are fed up with the whole thing, then that will not be cool. What a mess….

It also reminds me of the mess with the TWISS contracts in Iraq. When the Ugandans would not get paid or whatever forces being used were not getting paid, they often had walks offs and labor strikes.  Meaning guards not showing up to posts. Several times, contingencies in Iraq required military folks to step in to do these jobs as labor issues were being handled out in the field. So as this APPF thing develops, I imagine we will see similar acts if they are not getting paid and there is confusion as to who will pay them or whom they work for.

Another point is perhaps they will not like being rolled into the MOI or being made into a military unit or police unit. Perhaps the ANA or ANP will not like having to dip into their budgets to pay for these APPF salaries. Who knows…. -Matt

 

 

Afghanistan to Disband Crucial Guard Force
March 4, 2014
By Nathan Hodge
The Afghan government is moving to dissolve a crucial guard force that protects military supply convoys, international aid programs and foreign installations, creating new uncertainty over security as the U.S. and its allies withdraw.
The Afghan Ministry of Interior said in a statement Monday that Kabul would disband the Afghan Public Protection Force.
While APPF is a government agency, its services are paid for commercially by the clients, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development. It replaced a host of private security contractors.
Top Afghan officials recently issued a directive that would disband the force and fold it into the Ministry of Interior. But U.S. and coalition officials say it is unclear how, exactly, the Afghan government plans to implement this new order—and who will take over the job of protecting internationally funded reconstruction projects.

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Industry Talk: The UN Talks Shop About Their Use Of PMSC’s

Last year in July, I wrote about this debate that the UN was having about it’s use of PMSC’s, now and into the future. This is the final review panel about this debate, and it was interesting to hear the current view point of the UN.

One of the things that came up that I thought was interesting, is that the UN still does not know how many contractors it uses, either for guard work or for logistics. So I think they should at least dedicate some time and effort towards getting a firm grasp on this. Perhaps an online database that gives a transparent view of everyone they are using, both past and present. They could also add to that database if that company was fired or not, or what they thought of their performance? Anything to add to the history of the use of contractors.

They also talked in great length about codes of conduct and other initiatives to get companies to self-regulate. My thoughts are that if the UN actually published violations of these codes as a record for the public, kind of like what POGO does with companies in the US, then that would keep the world and the UN better informed as to the true track records of companies. That kind of history and track record is essential information if you want to truly find the best value company for the money. Companies would also fight to not be on that list, and especially if it impacted bidding.

The other surprising thing is that they couldn’t list how much money was spent on contractors, past or present. So a database should absolutely list those costs so that member donors to the UN can see exactly how their money is being spent. Also, other companies can see how much a service costs, and find out if they can provide that service cheaper or at least get a feel for what it would take to spin up a contract. So a UN contractor database would be an excellent investment, if the UN is interested in transparency and effectively using this industry.

I was also taken aback when the panel was asked around the 28:30 point of this video, what they thought about the lack of accountability for member nation troops that continue to violate human rights during peace keeping operations. No one wanted to take that question and it was left ‘wide’ open. I thought the silence said everything…

There was also numerous questions about the definition of mercenary and how that applied to PMSC’s. Or how their group was called the UN Working Group On The Use of Mercenaries, and yet they were tasked with evaluating PMSC’s that were not mercenaries by definition. I think the choice of group title is somewhat counterproductive for such a panel, if they wanted to be perceived as objective in their research of this industry. With that said, the group at least tried to differentiate between mercenaries and PMSC’s.

If the video below does not show up, here is a link to the video. It is about 50 minutes long and worth your time. The panel’s final report should be coming out sometime this year, and I will post it when it surfaces. -Matt

 

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Maritime Security: Two Trident Group Contractors Found Dead On The Maersk Alabama

Traces of narcotics and hypodermic needles found with the bodies of two American security officers on the container ship Maersk Alabama suggested the deaths resulted from drug overdoses, a Seychelles government official told CNN on Thursday. -CNN

Sad deal. This is the second death report I have done here on the blog recently, and this is never fun to put out there. My heart goes out to the friends and family of the fallen.

As to the cause, the Seychelles government says there were narcotics and hypodermic needles found with the bodies. If true, perhaps heroin was the cause of death? I say this drug, just because there has been an increase in heroin related deaths in the US and around the world. Most notably the actor Seymour Hoffman just died from a heroin overdose. The only way to confirm that these guys died from an overdose or from tainted drugs is through an autopsy.

Also, where did the drugs come from? Were they locally bought when they came into port or did they transport them from the US? Who knows…

What is significant is the company reaction, which leads me to believe that they know more than what is openly being said. Here is the quote:

The Maersk Alabama’s owner, the Norfolk, Va.-based Maersk Line Ltd. also has said the deaths were not related to security duties or ship operations. The ship has since left the African port. Speers statement says the company has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugs and alcohol, and that based on past experience working with The Trident Group, it believes this is an isolated incident.
Still, the company is responding by requiring reviewing its personnel records to confirm that drug tests and background checks are current, among other things. Speer said The Trident Group will also implement a random drug testing program to increase the frequency it screens security personnel.

There is a problem with drug screening and contracting that needs to be emphasized here. If guys know that they will be tested as a requirement of work, then they will simply not take the contract until they are clean. When they accept the contract they know they are ready to take the test the company gives ‘randomly’, because they waited an adequate amount of time for the drugs to clear the body. That is the problem with drug testing and independent contractors. You might get a clean contractor upon hiring, but have no idea about their history.  That, and as soon as they pass the test, they go right back into drug use mode when they get on that contract. That’s if they have access to those drugs and they are not able to control their craving or dependence.

The same goes for alcohol. Companies do not test for alcohol and it is very difficult for companies to maintain a ‘zero tolerance’ for alcohol use out in the field, if their leaders don’t care. Or the leaders are drinking as well, and could care less about the policy. It all goes back to how strong of a leadership program the company has, and are the leaders in the field truly aligned with the company’s policies/strategies/goals?

Back to the dynamics of contracting, if these guys are actual employees that are employed ‘full time’ with the company, then I could see random drug tests as being effective. They could administer the things at any time, and know that they could truly catch those folks. But still, people are all the same, and they will always find a way to bypass these tests. Or the leaders out in the field could care less about what the company wants and will give a heads up to the guys that a test is coming.

You know, I can’t emphasize enough how damaging that kind of environment is. Weak leaders, or leaders that could care less about holding their people accountable, is a recipe for disaster when it comes drugs or alcohol. Fitzsimmons comes to mind as a reminder of why contracting and alcohol doesn’t mix. Or the AGNA episode. Or the Jorge Scientific video.

Another thing to remember is that some tests are not able to pick up all drugs. Or certain drugs are taken by contractors because they do not last in the body, which makes it easy to play the system. For example, there are some types of steroids that last in the body for 4 days. So a contractor could do a cycle, and time it for when they would be accepting a contract, and then they would take the drug test at the right time when they are clean.

Then of course there is the management of contractors and being aware of the signs of drug and alcohol use. Does the company’s leaders pay attention to this stuff, or are they looking the other way?  Who knows what happened in this deal, but if guys are standing post on a ship and high on drugs or drunk, then that just doesn’t sit well with fellow guards or the client. It’s the type of thing that gets people killed or it leads to companies losing contracts and gaining poor reputations.

I also want to talk about that last part. Reputation is everything, and the competition out there is fierce. There are numerous companies worldwide, all fighting for contracts in the maritime security industry, and the members of these companies can sometimes act pretty negatively (trash talking) towards other companies that are on the skyline.

Trident Group was the victim of this kind of trash talking after their contractors were involved in a shooting incident awhile back. The video of the incident went viral and numerous companies and contractors out there were trying to depict the men involved as out of control, even though they had no idea about the context of what was seen. That the boat had actually been attacked by the same pirate group twice in 72 hours! But hey, Trident Group still had a peanut gallery out there trying to talk down the company and make them out to be reckless or out of control.

With this current incident, this just gives the competition the ammunition they need to steal Trident Group’s business. That is the reality of it, and the speed of new media and social networking is relentless when it comes to spreading rumor or half truths.

Although with this particular contract, Maersk owes the Navy SEALs big time for the rescue of Capt Phillips, complete with a movie to document the whole thing. Given that quote about the company’s response to this incident, I imagine they are doing all they can to restore Maersk’s trust in the contractors they send out to protect them. I hope the company is taking a good look at it’s leadership out in the field as well.

When the autopsy comes up, I will make the edit. A big hat tip to everyone that contacted me via Facebook and sent me emails about this. I don’t think I have ever had that many people forward a story like that, and this really was some unique news for our industry. Everyone was trying to give me the heads up on this and I really appreciate that. -Matt

 

 

Drugs on Maersk ship where 2 ex-SEALs died
February 20, 2014
Drugs were in the room where two former Navy SEALs were found dead aboard the Maersk Alabama, a ship that was the focus of a 2009 hijacking dramatized in the movie “Captain Phillips,” a company spokesman said Thursday.
Police from the African island nation of Seychelles have given no cause of death for Mark Daniel Kennedy, 43, and Jeffrey Keith Reynolds, 44. The Americans were security contractors who were found dead Tuesday in a cabin on the ship while berthed in Port Victoria in the Indian Ocean.
“We are saddened by the tragedy and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased men,” Maersk Line Ltd. spokesman Kevin Speers said in a statement.
Speers said the Seychelles police report includes observations about the presence of drugs and paraphernalia in the room where the two men were found dead, although the type of drug is unknown.
On Thursday, police spokesman Jean Toussaint, noted that officials were awaiting autopsies and said, “As far as I know there is no evidence of physical trauma” on either man’s body. Speers said the Maersk Alabama was cleared to leave Seychelles following the onboard investigation and that it is already underway.
The Maersk Alabama is a Norfolk, Va.-based container ship that provides feeder service to the east coast of Africa and employs security contractors to provide anti-piracy services. The two men who were found dead worked for a Virginia Beach, Va.-based maritime security firm, The Trident Group.
In a statement posted on its website, The Trident Group President Thomas Rothrauff said there “is no immediate indication as to the cause of death, but the deaths were not caused by operational activity.” Rothrauff wrote that the next of kin have asked that no further information be released and that their privacy be respected.
The Maersk Alabama’s owner, the Norfolk, Va.-based Maersk Line Ltd. also has said the deaths were not related to security duties or ship operations. The ship has since left the African port. Speers statement says the company has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugs and alcohol, and that based on past experience working with The Trident Group, it believes this is an isolated incident.
Still, the company is responding by requiring reviewing its personnel records to confirm that drug tests and background checks are current, among other things. Speer said The Trident Group will also implement a random drug testing program to increase the frequency it screens security personnel.
The Trident Group was founded by former Navy SEALs and hires former special warfare operators to perform security. On Thursday, the Navy confirmed that Kennedy and Reynolds belonged to the SEALs, an elite unit of the military’s special operations forces who are sometimes called upon to combat piracy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Industry Talk: Two DynCorp Contractors Killed In VBIED Attack In Afghanistan

Rest in peace to the fallen and my heart goes out to the friends and family of both men. Very tragic that these guys were going home when this happened. Michael was on his way to getting married this Valentines day.

A VBIED is what killed the two men, and no word on the condition of everyone else that was wounded. -Matt

 

Michael Hughes.

 

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Paul Goins.

 

Two Killed in Kabul, Afghanistan
February 10, 2014
On February 10, 2014, two DynCorp International personnel working on the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A) program were tragically killed in an explosion near Kabul, Afghanistan.
Paul Goins, 62, of Crosby, Texas, joined DI in February 2013. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Mr. Goins had more than 35 years of experience in the correctional and compliance fields, working with the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and in the private sector. His professional contributions were made at home in the United States, and abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he worked to share his knowledge with developing countries.
Michael Hughes, 38, of Washington, Montana and Nevada, joined the DI team in Afghanistan in November 2010. Having worked for several years with the Department of Corrections in Washington State, Mr. Hughes’ areas of expertise included training, emergency management, incident command, as well as hostage and crisis negotiations.
DynCorp International chairman and chief executive officer Steve Gaffney commented, “The world lost two heroes in this attack. They volunteered to travel to places they had never been, to help people they had never met. I ask that you please keep them, along with their families, loved ones, and colleagues who continue to support the mission, in your thoughts and prayers.”

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Weapons: Oh, The Weapons Contractors Use…

This is a fun one. On Facebook I posted a TOTD or Thought Of The Day on what types of weapons contractors have used in the past on contracts. What I got was an incredible amount of feedback on this and it was really fun to see what popped up. Here is the TOTD I posted:

TOTD: Contractor Weapons. I think this would be a fun one. I would be interested in all the various weapon types that guys have seen issued as contractors, or had to use as part of their contract. Or stuff that you saw or heard other contractors use. Everyone hears about AK’s, M-4/ARs, and Glocks, but what are the other rifles and pistols seen issued. Or even the heavier weapons used for contracts. This should be a fun one and I will probably make a post out of it on the blog.

I have mentioned in the past that Facebook has been incredibly useful for interacting with the contractor community. The amount of feedback and interaction is amazing and very useful. I am also able to share more ideas in a more efficient manner there, which also helps to get more ideas in return.

So back to contractor weapons. Guys posted pictures and everything, and it was cool to see any trends in what we are using out there. Obviously AK -47′s and M-4/AR-15 variants are the top primary weapons. But the various types of other weapons issued and their histories are very interesting. Some are just recaptured weapons that were given to contractors by outgoing military units in the various AO’s, or some are weapons the companies were able to ship into that country. Others were bought in gun markets in the region, and it is fascinating to see what contractors we able to get a hold of.

What I will do below is list every gun mentioned and I recommend going to the post on FB to see the various stories behind these weapons. I did notice that the G-3 was mentioned quite a bit. I got to play around with one in Iraq, but didn’t use it for work. In the photo below, Patrick brought up a heavily modified G 3 that I thought was cool.

The other thing to point out is how many copies of weapons were mentioned. Stuff that was either reproduced by Iraqi factories or stuff that was made in the weapon making villages of Pakistan. Lots of junky weapons that fell apart or barely worked, but were cheap and helped to stand up a contract. It is a huge problem in the industry, and companies continue to outfit contracts with junky weapons and equipment, all because of money or because they do not have the connections to get the good stuff into that war zone. That is the one thing that I continue to see and hear from contractors out there, and I have experienced the same, and that companies are horrible at providing good weapons or equipment. It’s why guys become good at fixing weapons or why folks prefer to bring their own kit–because the companies are horrible at this stuff.

Back to the list. There is also the mention of heavy weapons used, or the use of explosives. Stuff that you would not associate with contracting, but was certainly used at one time or another by contractors in Iraq or Afghanistan. In the early days of Iraq, you saw everything. Now, not so much because regulations and contracts have become very specific as to what can be carried. I saw that change during the 2006 to 2008 time frame, and especially in Iraq. But there are contracts that are out of sight or out of control of the Big Military, and you continue to see the heavy stuff come up on contracts.  So here is the list, and feel free to add in the comments section stuff that you used on contracts. -Matt

 

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This is a PDW Patrick McAleer made in 2007, out of an Iranian G3, in Iraq. Photo Credit Patrick McAleer.

 

Pistols

Glock 19
Glock 17
HS 2000
Caracal F
M 9
SIG P226
Makarov
Turkish Kanuni
Walther P 38
Iraqi Berretta
Browning Hi Power
Walther P 99
CZ 75
.455 Webley
Smith and Wesson Sigma
Norinco NP 22 (Sig 226 copy)
FN P35
CZ 70
Tariq
Zastava EZ9
Ruger P95
.38 Colt Diamondback
Colt 1911
.455 Colt Eley
Tokarov

Rifles


M 16 A2
AK 47
AR 15
M 4
FN FAL
Colt 722
G 3
G 36
Type 56
K 98
Krag
British SMLE
Sturmgewehr 44
SVD
Saiga M 3
Benelli Argo
Remington R 25
Remington 700
Browning BAR
Mosin Nagant
FPK Dragunov
AR 10
Ruger Scout Rifle in .308
AMD 65
HK MR 308
FN FAL para
VZ 58
AR 18
HK 416
East German MPi KM 72
SIG 550

Shotguns

NOR 982
Remington 870
Italian double barrel

Submachine Guns

Swedish K
MP 5
Scorpion
Uzi
Sterling
Krinkov
PPSH 41
Beretta M 12
Beretta PM 12S
Thompson

Machine Guns

MG 42
FN Minimi Para SAW
FN M-249 SAW
M-240/MAG 58
PKM
M 60
RPK
MG 3
RPD
VZ 59

Grenade Launchers

M 79
UBGL 25
HK 69
M 203
M 320/AG 36

Mortars, Grenades and Mines

M 67
RGD 5
M 18 Claymore
Stun
Tear Gas/CS
Improvised Claymores For Defense
Mortars for flares

Rocket Launchers

AT 4
RPG 7

Heavy Machine Guns

M 2
DsHK

Automatic Grenade Launchers

MK 19
AGS 17

Misc.

Crossbows
Regular Archery Bows
Kitchen Knives
ASP baton
Slingshot

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History: George Washington On Starting His Own PMSC To Combat The British

Mr. President, I am a soldier and believe in being prepared. For that and other reasons, I will give my vote for the resolutions of the gentleman from Hanover. Rather than submit to the present condition of things, I will raise one thousand men, subsist them at my own expense, and march myself at their head to the relief of Boston.- George Washington

This is a cool quote from American history that you don’t hear much about. Obviously Washington did not have to raise an army in this fashion, but it is interesting that he put it out there. That he was willing to finance such an army if no one else was going to act.

What is also interesting is that George Washington was very familiar with concept of privatized warfare from his experience fighting with the Royal American Mercenary Regiment (RAMR) during the French and Indian War. He was also a champion of actually paying soldiers as opposed to asking them to do what they did, purely out of love of country. Washington found out that with a volunteer militia, it’s a little hard to keep guys focused when they can’t be home to make money or grow food to support their family. Paying a salary kept their heads in the game, and helped reduce attrition.

The other area of privatized warfare that Washington was involved with was privateering. He actually owned stock in privateering ventures and was a supporter of issuing the Letter of Marque to privateers to fight wars.

The artwork posted below is also interesting. That would be the uniform he wore during the French and Indian War. I noted in the past that this war was significant because this is where Washington learned how to fight and lead men in combat. He learned from the various mercenaries that came to fight in the RAMR, and he used that knowledge and experience and applied it later on. -Matt

 

Charles Willson Peale is the Artist. This is the earliest authenticated portrait of George Washington and shows him wearing his colonel’s uniform of the Virginia Regiment from the French and Indian War. The portrait was painted about 12 years after Washington’s service in that war, and several years before he would reenter military service in the American Revolution. 1772

 

Patrick Henry: “Liberty”

“I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience.”

As the British army tightened the noose around Boston, the Virginia Assembly met in an extralegal session to discuss what steps to take in the wake of what was happening up North. The British hoped that by isolating Boston, they could stamp out the revolution. As the speech below demonstrates, the effect was the opposite of what the British desired, for Virginians—and other colonists—realized that “If they can do it to Boston, they can do it to us.”

The words of the debate were later written from memory by William Wirt, and though they may not be the exact words spoken by Patrick Henry and others, the general consensus among historians is that they certainly contain the spirit of Henry’s remarks and are consistent with what we know of his eloquence. He was, in many ways, the voice of the American Revolution. Likewise, the authenticity of the remarks by George Washington has been called into question, but again, they probably accurately reflect his feelings. Loyal almost to the last, he was now thoroughly fed up with the British.

The members address the president of the meeting to gain the floor. The President acknowledges each by the jurisdiction which he represents.

Mr. Pendleton: Mr. President.

The President: The gentleman from Caroline.

Mr. Pendleton: I hope this Convention will proceed slowly before rushing the country into war. Is this a moment to disgust our friends in England who are laboring for the repeal of the unjust taxes which afflict us, to extinguish all the conspiring sympathies which are working in our favor, to turn their friendship into hatred, their pity into revenge? Are we ready for war? Where are our stores—where our arms—where our soldiers—where our money, the sinews of war? They are nowhere to be found in sufficient force or abundance to give us reasonable hope of successful resistance. In truth, we are poor and defenseless, and should strike when it becomes absolutely necessary—not before. And yet the gentlemen in favor of this resolution talk of assuming the front of war, of assuming it, too, against a nation one of the most formidable in the world. A nation ready and armed at all points; her navy riding in triumph in every sea; her armies never marching but to certain victory. For God’s sake, Mr. President, let us be patient—let us allow all reasonable delay, and then if the worse comes to the worst, we will have no feelings of blame. There is no man in this Convention more attached to the liberties of this country than is the man who addresses you. But think before we sacrifice perhaps everything to the spirit of indignation and revenge. Think of the strength and lustre which we derive from our connection with Great Britain—the domestic comforts which we have drawn from the same source—the ties of trade and business—the friends and relatives we have in England. The tyrannies from which we suffer are, after all, the tyrannies of a party in temporary possession of power. Give a little time, take no hostile action, and these tyrants will be overthrown in England and men in sympathy with America will assume authority. Our ills will pass away and the sunshine of the halcyon days of old will come back again. We must arm, you say; but gentlemen must remember that blows are apt to follow the arming, and blood will follow blows, and, sir, when this occurs the dogs of war will be loosed, friends will be converted into enemies, and this flourishing country will be swept with a tornado of death and destruction.

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