Posts Tagged MANPADS

Libya: Americans Killed Defending Consulate Were On Contract To Hunt Down MANPADS

One of the Americans killed alongside Ambassador Christopher Stevens in an attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya Tuesday told ABC News before his death that he was working with the State Department on an intelligence mission to round up dangerous weapons in the war-torn nation.
In an interview with ABC News last month, Glen Doherty, a 42-year-old former Navy SEAL who worked as a contractor with the State Department, said he personally went into the field to track down so-called MANPADS, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, and destroy them. After the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the State Department launched a mission to round up thousands of MANPADS that may have been looted from military installations across the country. U.S. officials previously told ABC News they were concerned the MANPADS could fall into the hands of terrorists, creating a threat to commercial airliners.

Rest in peace to the fallen. These men fought with every measure of their lives and paid the ultimate sacrifice. They were also contractors, tasked with hunting down MANPADS in Libya, which is of vital national interest…and world wide interest.

Also, my condolences go to Brandon and SOFREP for losing a friend and fellow SOFREP team member. He was the ‘resident Naval Special Warfare’ editor there. Go to this link to read more.

As to the company these men worked for and the specific details of the contract, I haven’t a clue. The three articles I posted below give a background of these two men and a background of the MANPADS task force. Supposedly this same task force which was established in 2006, is looking at Syria to do the same thing. -Matt

 

 

Two ex-SEALs from SD killed in Libya
By Debbi Baker, Gretel C. Kovach, Nathan Max
September 13, 2012?
Two of the four Americans killed Tuesday after an attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya were former Navy SEALs from San Diego County.
Glen Doherty, 42, of Encinitas, and Tyrone Woods, 41, of Imperial Beach, were working at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi as security and intelligence contractors. Also killed were the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and information officer Sean Smith. Three others were wounded.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that Doherty and Woods “died helping protect their colleagues.
“Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest gratitude are with their families and friends. Our embassies could not carry on our critical work around the world without the service and sacrifice of brave people like Tyrone and Glen,” she said in a statement.
The two former SEALs settled in San Diego County after initial training in Coronado, where all the elite naval special operators must pass a grueling 21-week test of mental and physical endurance.
Doherty, who grew up in the Boston suburb of Winchester, Mass., was a gregarious outdoorsman and high-octane adventurer, a self-proclaimed “high priest” of “The Cult of Recreationalism,” friends and family said.
The pilot, former ski instructor, surfer and trainer at the CrossFit/SEALFIT gym in Encinitas served nine years as a SEAL before getting out in 2005.

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Syria: What About Those Chemical Weapons And MANPADS?

QUESTION: We’re seeing more and more reports about opposition fighters getting their hands on anti-aircraft weapons, mostly being seized from the Syrian army. I know this was a big concern of the U.S. in Libya, and that a lot of effort and a lot of money went into finding out where these weapons were going. Is that possible even in Syria, and how concerned is this Administration about the possibility of those weapons getting out there?
MS. NULAND: Well, if what you’re talking about it MANPADS, Cami, you know that around the world we have been very concerned about the proliferation of MANPADS and about their use in – on conflict and combat.
That said, we have a Syrian opposition that is facing some of the most egregious and horrific violence we’ve seen exacted on a civilian population anywhere. We have reports, as you know, over the weekend of summary executions by the Syrian regime. We have reports of aerial strafing of people lined up waiting for bread outside of Aleppo.
So, while it is difficult, it’s not surprising that unfortunately the opposition is fighting back in whatever way it can to try to protect civilians. And this is a direct result of the fact that the Assad regime is not stopping its assault and, in fact, is continuing its assault and using increasingly horrible and brutal methods.
QUESTION: But this will be a big problem if, as you say, the Assad regime is going eventually, and then you have all of these weapons out there, and not knowing who all the various opposition people are, you’ve got all these weapons again.
MS. NULAND: Right. Well, as we’ve said a number of times here, and as the Secretary said in Istanbul, as we look at what we’re calling day-after planning – planning on the U.S. side but also internationally for how we can support the Syrian people after Assad goes and when they’re in that transition phase – one of the key issues we’re looking at is how we might be able to offer support in securing, safeguarding some of the most dangerous weapons from the Assad era. So it would not only be some of these kinds of things, but also chemical weapons, et cetera. That’ll certainly be a very, very big job for them, and we are looking at how we can be ready to help if we’re asked. -State Department Briefing by Victoria Nuland, August 27, 2012

Syria is definitely a troubling problem when it comes to weapons, and losing control of them. This country actually has large stores of chemical weapons, along with a scattering of MANPADS like SA-7′s throughout the country at various bases. As more terrain is gained by the rebels, the chances of these weapon sites being exploited by the rebels and anyone else in the area is high. Losing control of those weapons is not good, and the fear is that they will find their way into other parts of the world and be used in terrorist attacks. Or even used in all out assaults against countries like Israel.

The question is, what will be done about it?  That is the million dollar question.

For one, I believe we will just have to assume that some of this stuff will be taken and smuggled away to wherever. I don’t think we can prevent that unless we have troops and folks on the ground, physically going in there and securing or taking these weapons.  As it stands now, it seems like we are dependent upon the honesty of those rebels in Syria that are involved in the fighting. But any jihadists with them could care less about what the west thinks, and yet the jihadists are there on the ground and actively fighting along side these guys.

If we were to put folks on the ground, what would be more politically feasible–military or contractors? That is a question I have thrown around on Facebook and have received lots of interesting feedback. Some say the military is better equipped and other say that contractors are equally capable and politically more feasible than the military. Who knows, and both resources could do the job. Hell, a combination of both would be even better. Someone to take the sites in the initial phases (military) and someone to hold the site after things have cooled down (contractors).

With any intervention we do, it will certainly require a partnership with the locals. I suggest using the CMC projects in Iraq as a possible model of operation for any contractor based solution. In Iraq, the Coalitions Munition Clearance program was a contract completely run by civilians and Army Corps of Engineers to secure old Iraqi Ammo Supply Points that were damaged in the war, and ‘clear’ or destroy those weapons on site. The program was highly successful and helped to remove tons of weapons from the battlefield that could have otherwise been used by the insurgents.

But a program like this is highly dependent on areas that are not contested in war zones. In other words, a project needs to be set up in territory that has been taken from the Syrian government. If not, that contracted security force could end up doing some heavy duty fighting or defending and be outgunned. But in zones being loosely held by local forces, negotiations can be made and the security of that site can become a priority and even a cash cow for the locals. I think the locals would also appreciate someone willing to go in there and destroy that nasty stuff.

What can be done is to ready private forces to move in as soon as territory has been gained, or to move in as soon as there has been a complete collapse of the government. Because then at that point, arrangements can be done with local leaders, tribes, etc.–much like how the CMC projects worked. The project can also employ local Syrians in doing some of the non-technical work. The guard force can be a combination of Syrians and expats. Like I said before, the CMC projects are a great model of operation for something like this.

Besides, companies are already being tasked with chemical munitions management and destruction. In the US, Tetra Tech just won a 489 million dollar CMA contract to do just that. Hell, they are even going to Vietnam to clean up agent orange sites. Here is a  quote:

Tetra Tech, Inc. recently announced that it has secured an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract worth $489 million from the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) and is a part of Integration Support V (PAIS V) contract.

As per the contract, the company will be providing program management and technical support to the CMA and the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program at facilities across the U.S for the next five years.

Tetra Tech will also support a variety of program management, integration and technical services support for aiding efficient destruction of chemical warfare and related material. This support comprises environmental studies, design, monitoring, operations and maintenance, quality assurance, safety and logistics support services.

Simultaneously, the PAIS V contract activities enable the U.S. Army to fulfill the international chemical weapons conventions and move toward disintegration of chemical agent disposal facilities and stockpile storage areas.

Apart from this, Tech will also be helping CMA in managing its non-stockpile chemical material program and chemical stockpile emergency preparedness program.

In addition, Tetra Tech recently received a contract for the excavation and construction activities related to the environmental decontamination of Vietnam’s Da Nang Airport, affected by dioxin pollution. This contamination was the result of the use of chemical herbicides and defoliant during the Vietnam War.

Tetra Tech was also one of the companies used in Iraq for the CMC projects. So the private side of this solution is there and it is capable.

One final note is about these MANPADS in Syria. It is very difficult to get a fix on who has them or where they are at. There are a few folks out there that are putting together a picture for public consumption. Especially with all of these videos and social media related bits of news. CJ Chivers is one of those guys doing an awesome job, and he goes into how to properly view and pick apart these videos. Here is another blogger that is tracking the locations of Syrian MANPADS that have been identified in news stories.

As this develops, we will see the direction it takes. The west is definitely interested in securing this stuff, and the real question will be ‘how’. Perhaps we will see a repeat of how we did things in Libya, or this might require a different direction…Who knows? I do know that the clock is ticking and the rebellion is not waiting for anyone. -Matt

 

Destroying munitions in Iraq.

 

Worries intensify over Syrian chemical weapons
By Joby Warrick
September 6, 2012
Western spy agencies suspect Syria’s government has several hundred tons of chemical weapons and precursor components scattered among as many as 20 sites throughout the country, heightening anxieties about the ability to secure the arsenals in the event of a complete breakdown of authority in the war-torn nation, U.S. and Middle Eastern officials say.
Officials are monitoring the storage sites, but they expressed growing fear that they have not identified every location and that some of the deadly weapons could be stolen or used by Syrian troops against civilians.
“We think we know everything, but we felt the same way about Libya,” said a former American intelligence official who was briefed on U.S. preparations for both conflicts. “We had been on the ground in Libya, yet there were big surprises, both in terms of quantities and locations.” The former official was one of several people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified information.

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Libya: Five Contractors For Locating And Securing 20,000 MANPADS?

The more I read about this particular aspect of the Libyan conflict, the more I just shake my head. If there are 20,000 MANPADS in this country, and it has been torn apart by a civil war that we are assisting in, then why are we not putting more of an effort into locating and securing every MANPAD there is?  How is assigning ’5 contractors’ to the problem an effective solution? lol I mean contractors are good, but are five guys going to be able to physically accomplish the task of actually securing these things?

Or are these five contractors there to just train Libyans with the hopes that they ‘might’ locate and turn them in to a secure location?  I say might, because if you look at the economics of the situation, either they could locate and turn them in for free, or they could sell them on the black market and make a good little profit.

The other reason why I mention the economics of this type of deal, is that who is the command and control of all of the field units of such a rag tag army of rebels?  Are we seriously saying that there is any kind of control at all with this motley crew?  And especially in the beginning stages of the war when these weapons depots were first getting ransacked? Ha! I will say this, I guarantee that these things have found their way out into the black market.

But probably the most concerning aspect of this story, is that Al Qaeda has a presence in Libya. And they would certainly have an interest in these rocket launchers. Oh, and did I mention that many of the suicide bombers in Iraq that killed our troops were from Libya? So to me, how could anyone assume that Al Qaeda ‘has not’ put their grubby little hands all over these things?  pfffft.

So what does this all mean?  Well, if we start seeing helicopters being shot out of the sky in Afghanistan, that might be a sign. Or I imagine some key airline passenger jets will be shot down using these things. I mean there are all sorts of uses for this kind of weapon, and it was incredibly irresponsible of us to not instantly recognize this issue very early on and effectively deal with it.

Didn’t we learn anything from Iraq?  The insurgents there ransacked the arms depots right after the invasion, and the scene was akin to what happened with the looters in Walmart during hurricane Katrina. All because we did not make it a priority to secure those depots. The result?  Lots and lots of IEDs made from artillery rounds captured from those depots. -Matt

 

Hey Alli, how much do you think these things go for on the black market?

 

U.S. ramps up weapons search in Libya
September 16, 2011
The United States is taking an increasingly active role to secure thousands of rocket launchers, mines and small arms from Muammar Qaddafi’s once vast arsenal in Libya and prevent them from fueling an insurgency or falling into the hands of al Qaeda or other extremist militants operating across North Africa, government officials said Friday.
As an urgent measure, the Obama administration is sending several additional weapons experts to Libya to help train local units to locate and destroy weapons, the officials told The Associated Press. The top focus is on the estimated 20,000 shoulder-launched missiles called MANPADs which Qaddafi assembled during his four-decade rule. The weapon can be used to shoot down helicopters or civil jetliners.
“My team has no higher priority than addressing this threat,” said Andrew Shapiro, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs. “We are utilizing every possible tool to reduce the availability of loose missiles from Libya.”
The decision to increase weapons-related aid comes after U.S. officials received a request Friday from Libya’s National Transitional Council for greater assistance in securing Qaddafi’s former stocks of conventional weapons. The deposed Libyan dictator, who is still at large, halted his weapons of mass destruction programs in 2004. U.S. and international officials believe his leftover stocks of chemical and nuclear material are safe — and in a form that cannot be quickly be weaponized.

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