Posts Tagged private security contractors

Industry Talk: Afghanistan Seizes Millions Of Dollars Worth Of Armored Vehicles And Weapons From Private Security Firms

Kimberley Motley, an American lawyer in Kabul who advises security firms, said company executives were taken aback by the crackdown. They had opened their books to the government as a good-faith gesture, she said, in hopes that they could remain involved in the security industry as risk-mitigation consultants under the APPF model.
“A lot of companies are being penalized for trying to transparently run their security companies,” Motley said. The bulk of the equipment being seized, she said, was imported during years when there were “limited laws that dictated how they should operate.”

This government in Afghanistan is something else. First they ask the companies to see their books, and the companies comply in good faith, and then the government says ‘hey, let’s seize their valuable equipment’ listed in that book. Not a thought or care about any prior arrangements or contracts that allowed those companies to have that stuff in the first place. No compensation for that equipment, and just out-right take it for their own use. Boy, that is the kind of thing that will attract investors and business…….pffft.

The other thing that gets me about this whole deal is that part of what makes the private industry so effective, is the ability of the principal to just fire a poor company. If one security firm does not perform, then the principal goes with the next best company. The only thing the government should be involved with, is making sure everyone plays nice and that they deal specifically with the bad ‘agents’ or companies that ruin it for everyone else. That is how the free market is supposed to work.

With this arrangement, none of these NGO’s or companies investing in Afghanistan will have that option to ‘fire’ their protective detail.  And because Afghanistan is so corrupt anyways, all of these companies and groups thoroughly expect to not only get a poor service, but to be extorted and ripped off in the process. They have no choice in the matter, and to be honest, I do not blame them for making the decision to not do business in Afghanistan under those circumstances.

Hell, this whole deal of the government seizing property from these private companies should be a loud message to all. “Come to Afghanistan and get ripped off.” lol That should be their motto, and plaster it all over their flag or something. –Matt


Afghanistan cracks down on contractors
By Ernesto Londoño
December 2011
Afghan officials have seized millions of dollars worth of armored vehicles and weapons from private security firms in recent weeks, a move that has exacerbated concerns about the government’s plan to replace the hired guns that protect convoys and installations with an unprepared state-run guard force.
The crackdown is being carried out even though the Afghan Public Protection Force failed to meet any of the six benchmarks that were set out for it when President Hamid Karzai formally announced a plan to ban private security firms by March 20. An assessment team led by the NATO military coalition, which is heavily involved in the creation of the Afghan force, concluded in the fall that the guard force is far from ready to take over.
Diplomats, development experts and company executives worry that the abolition of private security contractors within three months could endanger Afghans and foreigners supporting NATO and its allies, halt reconstruction projects and open new channels for corruption.

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Industry Talk: Erinys Talks About Picking Private Security In Iraq

In relation to the cost of security, there is an old saying: “if you have a five dollar head, then wear a five dollar helmet” – in other words, if you value what you have you are willing to pay to protect it.

This is cool. Erinys did a lot of great work in Iraq back in the day, and they will no doubt continue to be involved with oil security in Iraq now and into the future. So it is great to hear them talk about what they think is important for picking a PSC for operations in Iraq.

What I really liked though was the quote up top. I will have to use that one in the future, and it is just another way of emphasizing what happens when you go cheap. Especially in Iraq, and especially as the troops leave and oil security forces continue to face an active insurgency. –Matt


Picking private security in Iraq
November 3rd, 2011
Oil companies in Iraq still need to factor in a security cost overhead as part of doing business in the country in order to protect their people and assets. John McCaffery, Managing Director of British private security firm Erinys, gives his guide to choosing the right provider.
The securing of personnel and assets is a complex amalgam of procedural, technical and physical methods that establishes layered security “architecture” with multiple zones.
If one considers the client and a project as the core of an onion then layers of skin that surround the core would represent the security “zones” that protect the client.
In relation to the cost of security, there is an old saying: “if you have a five dollar head, then wear a five dollar helmet” – in other words, if you value what you have you are willing to pay to protect it.
As such it is important to note that the provision of a professional security architecture is expensive anywhere in the world. ?In Iraq though it is more so, given the cost of shipping in equipment and the labour rates of professional security personnel. This is compounded by the need to train and equip local personnel and the extremely challenging regulatory environment in which international PSC’s are required to operate.

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Publications: ICS And ECSA Summary Of Flag State Rules On Arms And Private Armed Guards On Vessels, 2011

ICS And ECSA Summary Of Flag State Rules On Arms And Private Armed Guards On Vessels, 2011

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Publications: 32 CFR Part 159 Private Security Contractors Operating In Contingency Operations

This is important to put out there just because there might be some little tweaks to the way things were usually done. So what I would like to do is put this out there, and if anyone has any commentary on the document, you can say so in the comments section. And because FJ gets top search in Google for stuff like this, I guarantee that folks will read what you have to say if they are interested in the document. Here is a snippet of the Summary:

This Rule establishes policy, assigns responsibilities and provides procedures for the regulation of the selection, accountability, training, equipping, and conduct of personnel performing private security functions under a covered contract during contingency operations, combat operations or other significant military operations. It also assigns responsibilities and establishes procedures for incident reporting, use of and accountability for equipment, rules for the use of force, and a process for administrative action or the removal, as appropriate, of PSCs and PSC personnel. For the Department of Defense, this Rule supplements DoD Instruction 3020.41, “Contractor Personnel Authorized to Accompany the U.S. Armed Forces,” which provides guidance for all DoD contractors operating in contingency operations.Show citation box

This Rule was published as an Interim Final Rule on July 17, 2009 because there was insufficient policy and guidance regulating the actions of DoD and other governmental PSCs and their movements in operational areas. This Rule ensures compliance with laws and regulations pertaining to Inherently Governmental functions, and ensures proper performance by armed contractors.

Check it out and let me know what you think? I thought the comments and answers in this document were interesting. Although my first critique here is that I had no idea about the comments process, and that they would actually answer them in the document? I could have given a heads up here and on Facebook about this document and encouraged them to ask for clarification about rules. After all, it is our industry this thing impacts. As other articles and posts come up about this publication, I will make the edit. –Matt

Edit: 8/11/2011– DOD finalizes requirements for use of private security firms, by Jill Aitoro


32 CFR Part 159 Private Security Contractors (PSCs) Operating in Contingency Operations, Combat Operations …

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Quotes: PSC Usage In Afghanistan Is Highest Recorded Number In US History

What I wanted to do here is to highlight some very important and historical statistics of this CRS report I posted a couple of weeks back. This gives a very clear picture as to how significant private security contractors are to the war effort in Afghanistan, and the sacrifice of PSC’s. Especially the sacrifice of local national PSC’s, which account for most of the deaths of this group.

Although I must emphasize ‘recorded’ here, because no one recorded the amount of US PSC use during our very early wars.  I personally think that privateer usage was one of the highest number of PSC’s used by the US during times of war. Although a strong argument could also be made that the expansion of the west in the US would be the most impressive number of PSC’s used during time of war.

Pioneers, investors, the military, the railroads, cattle companies, shipping companies, banks, law enforcement etc. were all highly dependent upon on private security in all of it’s forms to protect lives and investments against Indian combatants and criminals. During this time period, there were 8 contractors awarded the Medal of Honor as well.

And of course this expansion of the west and resulting Indian Wars and land wars covered a very long time period of conflict in the US. For that reason, I would estimate that this time period would be the highest use of PSC’s by the US. It just wasn’t recorded by any government accounting office. Although Buffalo Bill did a pretty good job of bringing some attention to the matter with his Wild West Show. (which ran from 1883- 1913, a 30 year long show!)-Matt

Number of Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan
Since December 2009, the number of PSC personnel in Afghanistan has exceeded the number of PSC personnel in Iraq. According to DOD, as of March 2011, there were 18,971 private security contractor personnel in Afghanistan. This represents the highest recorded number of private security contractor personnel used by DOD in any conflict in the history of the United States. Local nationals made up 95% of all security personnel.
According to DOD, for the 15-month period of September 2007 to December 2008, the number of security contractors in Afghanistan increased by 16%, from 3,152 to 3,689. However, from December 2008 to March 2011, the number of security contractors increased from 3,689 to 18,971, an increase of over 400%. DOD has attributed the increase in contractors to increased operational tempo and efforts to stabilize and develop new and existing forward operating bases.
Security Contractors Compared to Total Contractor and Troop Levels
From December 2008 to March 2011, the number of U.S. troops and DOD contractor personnel in Afghanistan increased. However, the number of security contractors increased at a much faster rate (414%) than total contractors (26%) or troop levels (207%). As of March 2011, security contractor personnel made up 21% of all DOD contractors and was equal to 19% of the size of total U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan.
Casualty Rates of PSC Personnel vs. Uniformed Personnel
According to DOD, from June 2009 to November 2010, 319 private security contractor personnel working for DOD have been killed in action in Afghanistan, compared to 626 U.S. troops killed in action over the same period.28 Adjusting for the difference in the number of PSC personnel compared to troops, a PSC employee working for DOD in Afghanistan is 2.75 times more likely to be killed in action than uniformed personnel.  More contractor security personnel were killed in action providing mobile security (233 people or 73% of fatalities) than static security, even though those providing mobile security are only 25%- 30% of the total PSC workforce.
Nationality of Contractors
According to DOD, since September 2007, local nationals have made up 90% or more of all security contractors in Afghanistan.
Link to report here.

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Industry Talk: Missions Evolve, So Does DynCorp

These types of articles are great because they give the reader some perspective as to where the industry is going.  DynCorp mentioned specifically that they are looking at getting into intelligence and post conflict international development as their targets for company growth. They are also recognizing the fact that a company that can meet the needs of both the DoD and DoS will have some good diversification as the wars evolve and transition. I love this quote:

“We position ourselves for transition,” he said. “We have to watch the whole life cycle of conflict to see where we’re going to play and who we’re going to play with.”

Which brings up another quote that really kind of threw me here.  I had no idea that DynCorp was maintaining Presidential aircraft? That is a huge deal, and to put that kind of trust in a company like DynCorp says a lot.  Here is the quote:

“We’re also known for our work with the presidential fleet,” he added. “There are now about 28 airplanes at Andrews Air Force Base that support the president’s Cabinet, and we support that fleet 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

So there you have it.  A private company tasked with maintaining the aircraft of the most important leaders of the nation. Might I add that DynCorp is also tasked with protecting dignitaries and politicians in the war zones through their DoS contracts, and that is a huge responsibility as well.  From protecting nuclear plants, government employees, CEO’s and VIP’s, military officers,  political leadership of the US, etc.–private industry is certainly making a contribution. DynCorp is definitely making their mark and it will be very interesting to watch them grow and evolve as the wars transition, or new wars come on to the scene. –Matt

Missions evolve, so does DynCorp
By Amber Corrin
Jun 06, 2011
It’s been a busy year for DynCorp International. In the past 16 months, the company has been bought by a private equity firm, made two acquisitions of its own and won at least four new major contracts.
At the same time, it is maintaining critical U.S. aircraft fleets, running counter-drug operations in Colombia, training law enforcement agents and shuttling dignitaries throughout Iraq, and maintaining military bases and working with police and Ministry of the Interior personnel in Afghanistan.
The company’s success helped it reach the No. 12 spot on the 2011 Top 100 with $3 billion in prime contracts.
The company continues to look toward its future. Specifically, it’s seeking to break into the intelligence and international development spheres, President Steven Schorer said.

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