Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Wackenhut, Murder, and Vetting Employees

The Washington Post  Associated Press October 1, 2012WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court won’t let the family of a raped and murdered college girl sue the employer of her killers for her 1979 death.

The high court on Monday refused to let the parents of Janet Chandler sue Wackenhut Corp., which in 1979 was hired to send security guards to Holland, Mich., to provide security during a strike.

Chandler, who was a 23-year-old college student working at a hotel, was kidnaped, raped and killed by Wackenhut guards, who then covered up her death. Six people were convicted of first or second degree murder, five of whom worked for Wackenhut. But the federal courts have said Chandler’s family cannot sue Wackenhut for her long-ago death.The high court refused to reconsider that ruling.

October 1, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Oversight, Lawsuits, Vetting Employees, Wackenhut | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

With Troop Exit, a Civilian Phase for the U.S. in Iraq

Kathryn Brown at Bloomberg View  October 24, 2011

President Obama confirmed on Oct. 21 that the remaining 39,000 U.S. troops will leave Iraq at the year’s end. The war may be ending, but the size of the U.S. embassy in Iraq will double, from approximately 8,000 to 16,000 people.

This is uncharted territory for the State Department; it has never managed a mission this size before. The Obama administration is requesting $3.2 billion to cover the transition from civilian to military control, in addition to a core operational budget of $496 million. The embassy in Baghdad is a sprawling fortress, the largest the U.S. has ever built. Three provincial posts in Basrah, Erbil and Kirkuk will extend the U.S.’s diplomatic reach into northern and southern Iraq.

But roughly ten percent of this team will actually include diplomats. In addition to their traditional work, the State Department will assume over 300 activities that the U.S. military routinely performs, including air transport, force protection, medical aid and environmental cleanup.

They will require an extraordinary amount of contractor support. Inside the embassy will be the newly established Office of Security Cooperation that will be responsible for Pentagon assistance programs to the Iraqi security forces; it will include more than 900 civilians and uniformed military personnel, in addition to 3,500 contractors. A “general life support” team of about 4,500 employees will also cook, clean and run the embassy facilities

And 5,000 security contract employees will protect the roughly 1,700 American diplomats as they attempt to pursue U.S. policy and development goals in an immensely complex country where two explosions in a Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad killed 17 civilians on Oct. 13, Turkish troops are fighting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in the north, and an eager Iran watches from the east.

All of this adds up to a new experiment in U.S. statecraft. Whether this civilian-run operation is too bloated, on target or under-resourced remains to be seen — but its successes and failures will help steer U.S. post-conflict strategies for decades to come.

Please see the original at Bloomberg View

October 24, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Iraq War Ain’t Over, No Matter What Obama Says

Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room  October 21, 2011

President Obama announced on Friday that all 41,000 U.S. troops currently in Iraq will return home by December 31. “That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end,” he said. Don’t believe him.

Now: it’s a big deal that all U.S. troops are coming home. For much of the year, the military, fearful of Iranian influence, has sought a residual presence in Iraq of several thousand troops. But arduous negotiations with the Iraqi government about keeping a residual force stalled over the Iraqis’ reluctance to provide them with legal immunity.

But the fact is America’s military efforts in Iraq aren’t coming to an end. They are instead entering a new phase. On January 1, 2012, the State Department will command a hired army of about 5,500 security contractors, all to protect the largest U.S. diplomatic presence anywhere overseas.

The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security does not have a promising record when it comes to managing its mercenaries. The 2007 Nisour Square shootings by State’s security contractors, in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed, marked one of the low points of the war. Now, State will be commanding a much larger security presence, the equivalent of a heavy combat brigade. In July, Danger Room exclusively reported that the Department blocked the Congressionally-appointed watchdog for Iraq from acquiring basic information about contractor security operations, such as the contractors’ rules of engagement.

That means no one outside the State Department knows how its contractors will behave as they ferry over 10,000 U.S. State Department employees throughout Iraq — which, in case anyone has forgotten, is still a war zone. Since Iraq wouldn’t grant legal immunity to U.S. troops, it is unlikely to grant it to U.S. contractors, particularly in the heat and anger of an accident resulting in the loss of Iraqi life.

It’s a situation with the potential for diplomatic disaster. And it’s being managed by an organization with no experience running the tight command structure that makes armies cohesive and effective.

You can also expect that there will be a shadow presence by the CIA, and possibly the Joint Special Operations Command, to hunt persons affiliated with al-Qaida. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has conspicuously stated that al-Qaida still has 1,000 Iraqi adherents, which would make it the largest al-Qaida affiliate in the world.

So far, there are three big security firms with lucrative contracts to protect U.S. diplomats. Triple Canopy, a longtime State guard company, has a contract worth up to $1.53 billion to keep diplos safe as they travel throughout Iraq. Global Strategies Group will guard the consulate at Basra for up to $401 million. SOC Incorporated will protect the mega-embassy in Baghdad for up to $974 million. State has yet to award contracts to guard consulates in multiethnic flashpoint cities Mosul and Kirkuk, as well as the outpost in placid Irbil.

“We can have the kind of protection our diplomats need,” Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough told reporters after Obama’s announcement. Whether the Iraqi people will have protection from the contractors that the State Department commands is a different question. And whatever you call their operations, the Obama administration hopes that you won’t be so rude as to call it “war.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Please see the original here
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October 21, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Oversight, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Injured War Contractors Sue Over Health Care, Disability Payments

T Christian Miller ProPublica September 27, 2011

Private contractors injured while working for the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan filed a class action lawsuit [1] in federal court on Monday, claiming that corporations and insurance companies had unfairly denied them medical treatment and disability payments.

The suit, filed in district court in Washington, D.C., claims that private contracting firms and their insurers routinely lied, cheated and threatened injured workers, while ignoring a federal law requiring compensation for such employees. Attorneys for the workers are seeking $2 billion in damages.

The suit is largely based on the Defense Base Act, an obscure law that creates a workers compensation system for federal contract employees working overseas. Financed by taxpayers, the system was rarely used until the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the most privatized conflicts in American history.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians working for federal contractors have been deployed to war zones to deliver mail, cook meals and act as security guards for U.S. soldiers and diplomats. As of June 2011, more than 53,000 civilians have filed claims for injuries in the war zones. Almost 2,500 contract employees have been killed, according to figures [2]kept by the Department of Labor, which oversees the system.

An investigation by ProPublica, the Los Angeles Times and ABC’s 20/20 [3] into the Defense Base Act system found major flaws, including private contractors left without medical care and lax federal oversight. Some Afghan, Iraqi and other foreign workers for U.S. companies were provided with no care at all.

The lawsuit, believed to be the first of its kind, charges that major insurance corporations such as AIG and large federal contractors such as Houston-based KBR deliberately flouted the law, thereby defrauding taxpayers and boosting their profits. In interviews and at Congressional hearings, AIG and KBR have denied such allegations and said they fully complied with the law. They blamed problems in the delivery of care and benefits on the chaos of the war zones

September 27, 2011 Posted by | AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Corruption, Defense Base Act, DynCorp, Follow the Money, Government Contractor, Interpreters, KBR, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, State Department, Traumatic Brain Injury, Veterans, Wackenhut, War Hazards Act, Whistleblower | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Defense Base Act Class Action

Statement concerning filing of class action for fraud and bad faith against KBR, DynCorp, Blackwater, G4S/Wackenhut/Ronco Consulting, CNA Insurance, AIG Insurance and others who conspired to deny benefits to severely injured contractors and to harm them further

Scott Bloch  files complaint for $2 billion against major government contractors like

KBR, Blackwater.XE,  DynCorp, G4S/Wackenhut/Ronco Consulting and the global insurance carriers AIG, CNA, ACE and Zurich, on behalf of thousands of former employees, for unlawful, fraudulent and bad-faith mistreatment of injured employees and their families   

WASHINGTON, DC (September 26, 2011)

Since 2003, top government contractors like Blackwater, KBR, DynCorp, CSA/AECOM and ITT have been perpetrating a fraud on their employees and on the American public. 

The silent warriors who work for these companies, many of them decorated former military service members, have been injured, mistreated and abandoned by the contracting companies and their insurance carriers who have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars in premiums.

“It is a grave injustice,” Bloch said, “to those who rode alongside American soldiers, including Iraqi and Afghani Nationals, to be case aside without the benefits of the law.  We are supposedly trying to bring them the rule of law.  We are supposedly trying to encourage them in democratic institutions. 

We are the ones asking them to believe in justice and individual rights. 

This is a travesty to all Americans and those around the world who look to America for an example of humanitarian aid and proper treatment of workers.”

This is a lawsuit for damages in the amount of $2 billion to remedy the injuries and destruction caused to the lives, finances and mental and physical well being of thousands of American families and others whose loved ones were injured while serving America under contracts with the United States. 

It seeks an additional unspecified amount to punish the companies who made massive profits while causing this harm to people unlawfully and maliciously and working a fraud on the American public who paid them.  
“This abusive and illegal scheme by the defendants has been allowed to go on for too long. 

We are talking about loss of life, suicide, loss of homes, marriages, families split up, “ Bloch said, “and the culprits are the large government contractors who should have treated their employees better, and the mega-insurance companies who were paid a hefty sum to make sure the employees were taken care of with uninterrupted benefits in the event of injuries in these war zones.”
This complaint is filed due to actions and omissions of defendants, in conspiracy with others, and individually, to defeat the right of American citizens and foreign nationals to receive their lawful benefits and compensation under the Defense Base Act (“DBA”),  as it adopts the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”).  
The lawsuit explains that those sued engaged under the RICO statute in an enterprise of fraudulent and or criminal acts to further their scheme to defeat the rights of individuals who have been injured or suffered occupational diseases, and death, while on foreign soil in support of defense activities under the DBA.  

These acts were perpetrated repeatedly through bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, using telephones, faxes, and United States mail .
 “These are heroes, decorated by America’s Armed Services,” said Bloch. 

“Some of the foreign contractors were decorated special forces soldiers from their countries who assisted the United States in combating threats.  The sheer disregard for human dignity and law is reprehensible and deserves punishment. 

These families and many others who have been harmed need treatment, need compensation, need redress of the wrongs that have been perpetrated by these huge companies and insurance carriers for the last 10 years. 

They have earned $100 billion per year on the backs of these people, with the blood of these plaintiffs and those whom they represent.”
The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and covers individuals from all over the United States, South Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and other counties.  

Contact Scott J. Bloch, PA:
Scott Bloch, 202-496-1290
scott@scottblochlaw.com

September 26, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Defense Base Act, DynCorp, Follow the Money, Government Contractor, Interpreters, Iraq, KBR, L-3, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, State Department, Traumatic Brain Injury, USACE, USAID, Veterans, Wackenhut, War Hazards Act, Whistleblower | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

DynCorp fell short on Afghan police training

Aljazeera  August 16, 2011

A US-based military contractor has failed to provide nearly 60 per cent of the instructors needed to train Afghan police under a contract with the US government, according to an audit issued on Monday.

The audit focused on the transfer of the Afghan police training programme from the US State Department to the US Defence department.

The investigation, carried out jointly by both departments, criticised both institutions for a lack of co-ordination in regards to police training in Afghanistan, which is a priority for the US-led NATO coalition as it prepares to transfer security to Afghan forces.

Under a $1 billion, two-year contract signed between the Defence Department and DynCorps International in December 2010, the firm was required to have instructors in place within a 120-day deadline.

Defence officials “reported that the incoming contractor did not have 428 of the 728 required personnel in place within the 120-day transition period,” said the audit.

The most notable discrepancy was in the number of police mentors that DynCorps was supposed to provide to the Afghan forces.

The audit said that 213 of the 377 required “Fielded Police Mentors” were not in their positions during the transition period.

It said the shortage “placed the overall mission at risk by not providing the mentoring essential for developing the Afghan government and police force.”

Please read the entire story at  Aljazeera

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, DynCorp, State Department | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Four More Contractors to Get Piece of $10 Billion Global ‘Civilian Police’ Pie

US Aid and Trade Monitor

Five contractors this week secured another chunk of a $10 billion global law-enforcement project of the U.S. State Dept., which is deploying hired guns and consultants worldwide.

Although the department yesterday (May 11) identified the companies to whom it awarded new contracts, it did not specify the destination or mission assigned to the respective vendors. Rather, it will pay the vendors on an Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity, or IDIQ, basis.

DynCorp International, Justice Services International, MPRI, PAE Government Services, and Civilian Police International will provide a variety of “civilian police” (CIVPOL), corrections, and advisement services to clients of the State Dept.’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). The contractors on their websites are vigorously recruiting applicants in preparation of carrying out “task orders” that the State Dept. may submit.

According to a modified solicitation for the program, one of INL’s responsibilities is:

the provision of a wide array of support to criminal justice sector development programs worldwide.  Program countries/areas include Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Sudan, and the West Bank… The contracts provide criminal justice advisors and life and mission support (LMS).  LMS includes office and living facilities, subsistence, vehicles, and associated equipment and supplies.

Contractors must be able to deploy staff to targeted nations with as little as 72 hours notice from the State Dept., the Statement of Work (SOW) says.

Please read more here

May 13, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contracts Awarded, Government Contractor, Haiti, Iraq, Private Military Contractors, State Department, Sudan | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Colombia To Train Costa Rica’s Police Force

Inside Costa Rica

The Policía Nacional de Colombia (Colombia’s National Police) will begin tomorrow a training program for Costa Rica’s Fuerza Pública (police force), covering issues such as the training of officers, counter-narcotics and anti-corruption.

The Ministro de Seguridad, José María Tijerino, said at a news conference that it is an “exchange of experiences” to “professionalize” the police, thanks to the co-operation provided by Colombia.

The Colombian group is made of 13 officers that will be in Costa Rica until February 26, experts in counter-narcotics, intelligence, technology, research and human talent management, among others.

The Colombian police lieutenant colonel, Jaime Romero, explained that first they will learn how the police work in Costa Rica within the constitutional framework and the law, then identify the strengths and weaknesses and define strategies that could be applied.

Following in the second phase is the “development and planning” of actions to follow based on the needs raised by the Costa Ricans.

Next is the development and implementation of the strategies and monitor, a process that could take two years to complete, according to government projections.

Romero chose not to be specific on any recommendations for Costa Rica, because he does not yet fully know the security situation, but did say that not necessarily will the strategies used in Colombia be applied in Costa Rica.

Minister Tijerino stressed the importance of international cooperation on security issues for countries like Costa Rica who does not have an army – abolishing it in 1948.

February 18, 2011 Posted by | Central America, Civilian Police | , , , | Leave a comment

Overseas Contractor Count For Fourth Quarter 2010

Thanks to Danger Zone Jobs for this breakdown

This update reports DoD contractor personnel numbers in theater for the fourth quarter of 2010.  It covers DoD contractor personnel deployed in Iraq (Operation New Dawn (OND), Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR).

Previously for the 4th quarter FY 2010, USCENTCOM reported approximately 194,405 contractor personnel working in the USCENTCOM AOR.  Because aspects of the earlier census (which is a snapshot in time within the quarter), specifically the numbers in Afghanistan, appeared anomalous, a second count was undertaken.   The revised count shows a total of 176,340 contractor personnel working for the DoD in the USCENTCOM AOR.  This subsequent count reflects a reduction in both the number of US and TCN personnel in Afghanistan which had been previously reported.

(Prepared by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Program Support)

DoD Contractor Personnel in the USCENTCOM AOR

 

Iraq Summary
The main categories of contracts in Iraq and the percentages of contractors working on them are displayed below:

Base Support 43,759 59.0%
Security 11,628 15.7%
Translator / Interpreter 4,572 6.2%
Logistics / Maintenance 445 .6%
Construction 2,753 3.7%
Transportation 1,115 1.5%
Communication Support 646 .9%
Training 626 .8%
Other 8,562 11.6%
Total 74,106

OND Contractor Posture Highlights:

  • There was a ~6% decrease (from 79K to 74K) in contractors in Iraq compared to the 3rd quarter FY 2010 census due to ongoing drawdown in Iraq.
  • USF-I met its goal to reduce the contractor footprint to 50K-75K by Sep 30, 2010, and continues the contractor reduction in Iraq.  We expect a continued decrease in the number of overall contractors as FOBs close and military footprint is reduced throughout FY 11.
  • The military to contractor ratio in Iraq is now 1 to 1.12
  • DoD and DoS are conducting detailed planning for post-2011 contract support.

 

Afghanistan Summary

The main categories of contracts in Afghanistan are similar to those shown in the Iraq summary.  We are working to present a similar detailed breakout for Afghanistan.  We are currently capturing data by contracting activity as follows:

Theater Support – Afghanistan 11,428 16%
LOGCAP 23,274 33%
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 6,150 9%
DLA 8,500 12%
Other:* 21,247 30%
Total 70,599
*Includes Army Materiel Command, Air Force External and Systems Support contracts, Special Operations Command and INSCOM.

OEF Contractor Posture Highlights

  • The reported contractor personnel count in Afghanistan has decreased by ~34% (from 107K to 71K) compared to the 3rd quarter FY 2010 census.  This reported decrease is not due to a large reduction in contractor personnel, but rather is due to counting errors (primarily in one specific reporting activity), that have been perpetuated throughout this Fiscal Year.  These errors have been identified and subsequently corrected as part of the reconciliation aspect of the SPOT-plus effort.  This further demonstrates that all reporting activities must continue to transition from manual counts to the mandated automated system.
  • The military to contractor ratio in Afghanistan is 1 to 0.68.
  • Recent efforts to develop strategies to improve the viability of business in Afghanistan include developing a more skilled workforce, increasing business opportunities, increasing community cash flow, improving public infrastructure such as roads and utilities and community organizational capacity to maintain economic governance. All of these initiatives have a direct influence on the hiring of Afghani local nationals.

General Data on DoD Private Security Contractor Personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan

USCENTCOM reports, as of 4th quarter FY 2010, the following distribution of private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan:

January 13, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contingency Contracing, Department of Defense, Government Contractor, Pentagon, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mercs Win Billion Dollar Afghan Cop Deal. Again

by Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room

The solution for Afghanistan’s endlessly troubled police force? According to the Army, the same contractors that have trained them for the past seven years.

Danger Room has confirmed that DynCorp, one of the leading private-security firms, has held on to a contract with the Army worth up to $1 billion for training Afghanistan’s police over the next three years. With corruption, incompetence and illiteracy within the police force a persistent obstacle to turning over security responsibilities to the cops by 2014, NATO has revamped much of its training efforts — except, apparently, the contractors paid lavishly to help them out.

The details: DynCorp will provide security personnel to train the Afghan cops at 14 different locations across the country. Those trainers will support the NATO training command run out of Kabul by Lt. Gen. William Caldwell in getting the police into an “independently functioning entity capable of providing for the national security of Afghanistan,” the Army’s Research Development and Engineering Command says in the award. The contract runs for two years and earns DynCorp $718.1 million, but an option to re-up for a third year brings the total price to $1.04 billion.

And to think: this all could have slipped through DynCorp’s fingers. From 2003 to 2009, company held a contract with the Department of State for training the Afghan police — law-enforcement training has historically been a State Department operation — that earned the company over a billion. But last year, Gen. Stanley McChrystal successfully lobbied to place the police training under his control. An obscure Army entity usually dealing with counter-narcotics known as CNTPO let it be known in fall 2009 that DynCorp wasn’t part of the companies it considered for the bid. So DynCorp registered a complaint with the Government Accountability Office contesting CNTPO’s fitness to award the contract. GAO sided with DynCorp in March; the bid went out under the Research Development and Engineering Command instead this summer; DynCorp won yesterday.

“We are honored to continue to support coalition efforts to train the Afghan National Police under this competitively-awarded contract,” company spokeswoman Ashley Burke emailed Danger Room. “Our extraordinary law enforcement professionals, working at the direction of the coalition forces and side-by-side with the Afghan people, have helped to make significant progress in developing a civilian police force in Afghanistan under challenging circumstances. We look forward to continuing this important work.”

 

A series of audits over the years have chided the State Department’s oversight of DynCorp’s police-training contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but have mostly criticized the State Department, not the company. Still, the company’s performance in Afghanistan has recently raised eyebrows: in an incident disclosed last week, DynCorp guards assigned to protect Afghan President Hamid Karzai were fired after drinking and whoring in 2005; late payments to a subcontractor got an elderly U.S. citizen thrown in an Afghan jail this weekend; and WikiLeaks released a cable seeming to indicate that DynCorp guards hired young male prostitutes for a party it threw in 2009 for Afghan bigshots. (The company and the State Department deny that.)

But perhaps the biggest question surrounding the contract is the weakness of the Afghan police. Official U.S. complaints about corruption and incompetence have plagued the Afghan cops since a 2006 joint Pentagon-State inspectors-general inquiry gave the force poor marks, all while barely studying the DynCorp contractors who trained them. NATO has a goal of expanding Afghanistan’s cops to 134,000 by October, even as they’re considered the most troubled element of the Afghan security forces. The training command is short several hundred uniformed trainers that U.S. allies were supposed to provide. And now the same contractors who’ve trained the cops from jump are sticking around for the remainder of the effort.

“With years of hard-earned experience in the Balkans, East Timor, Haiti, Sudan, Liberia, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan,” Burke says, DynCorp “has provided more than 6,000 experienced civilian police advises in support of civilian police training programs around the world.”  Please see the original story here

December 22, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contract Awards, DynCorp, State Department | , , , | Leave a comment

Taliban Attack Afghan Guards in Bold, Deadly Raid

New York Times Asia KABUL — Taliban fighters in a rural area near the Helmand River staged an audacious nighttime raid early Thursday, swooping down on several hundred sleeping Afghan private security guards who were securing a road construction project, and killing at least 21, according to guards who escaped.

The attack was striking not only for its scale and viciousness but because it took place in the Helmand River Valley, where thousands of British troops have been stationed for the past three years and now American troops have entered to try to rout the Taliban.

News of the Taliban raid emerged Friday, as Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts and the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, met with President Hamid Karzai for the second time in four days to discuss corruption among members of the Afghan government, some of whom have been implicated in several major cases. Support for the nine-year war, and for Mr. Karzai, is ebbing in the United States, while General David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Afghanistan, has signaled that, if anything, the troops would need more time on the ground to accomplish their mission.

Mr. Kerry said in a statement that he hoped to see anticorruption agencies strengthened and said “the work of these entities must be allowed to continue free from outside interference or political influence, including with respect to ongoing cases.”

He was referring to Mr. Karzai’s sharp criticism of the work of the American-mentored Major Crimes Task Force and Sensitive Investigative Unit after a top Karzai aide, Mohammed Zia Saleh, was detained on graft charges. Mr. Karzai questioned the legality of both units and set up a commission to review their work.  Read the entire story here

August 20, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Casualties, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment

Ken McGonigle, British former policeman shot dead in Afghanistan

A British former policeman has been shot dead in Afghanistan after an insurgent prisoner escaped a prayer room in an army base, grabbed a weapon and opened fire.

Ken McGonigle, 51, from Co Londonderry, was working for a security company training Afghan policemen when he was killed alongside two United States Marines.

The prisoner escaped from a prayer room on Saturday night and got hold of an AK-47 assault rifle at a base in the northern Musa Qala district of Helmand province.

Mr McGonigle’s father said his son had been the killer’s first victim and the two marines had later been killed. The prisoner was then shot dead himself.

“Kenneth was the first man he saw – he opened up and Kenneth hit the ground,” Joe McGonigle said.

A statement for Nato-led forces in Afghanistan said: “The prisoner escaped a room where he was observing prayer time, acquired a rifle and subsequently engaged Afghan and coalition forces.

“The Marines were killed while trying to subdue the prisoner. The prisoner was later shot and killed by small-arms fire. The incident remains under investigation.” Mr McGonigle’s wife, Gail, and the couple’s children, Ruth, Dale, Alex and Jimmy, were being comforted at their home in Magheramason.

He had been training Afghan police for the past three months working with the New Century security company and was due to return home at the start of September.

His father added: “Our hearts are broken. It is an awful thing to happen but there’s nothing we could do about it.

“He wanted to be out there, he loved it.”

He said: “He was very well-liked, he was a fella that if you met him once, you would want to meet him again, and everyone was treated the same. He was very popular here in the neighbourhood, at school and everywhere else.”

New Century which is headed by Tim Collins, the former British Army officer best known for his rallying speech to troops about to invade Iraq, described Mr McGonicle’s death as a “tragic, but isolated incident” and said it was under investigation.

A company statement added: “His presence and contribution will be sorely missed by everyone in the company and at the Nato training mission.

“Ken was a highly professional, deeply competent, well-admired and thoroughly committed colleague who made a material difference through his work.” Musa Qala held a British garrison until it was handed over to the American marines earlier this year.

A spokeswoman for the British embassy in Kabul said: “A British national who was working as a police mentor for the US contractor, New Century Consulting, was tragically shot and killed by an escaped insurgent.

“Two US marines were also killed in the incident.”

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Casualties, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

DynCorp Garrison-Complex Delays Hampered Afghan Troop Training, Audit Says

By Tony Capaccio at Bloomberg

DynCorp International Inc. delays in completing a northern Afghanistan garrison complex forced Afghan troops to be housed in temporary facilities that exposed them to mud, freezing conditions, unsafe food storage and sewage, according to U.S. auditors.

Falls Church, Virginia-based DynCorp International, one of the U.S. Army’s largest contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, is at least 19 months late completing the Kunduz facility, according to U.S. auditors. The $72-million project is slated to be finished by August and house 1,800 troops.

“Pervasive delays” in construction projects for Afghan personnel are hampering U.S. efforts to build a credible Afghan security force, North Atlantic Treaty Organization trainers told investigators for Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Arnold Fields.

Delays at the Kunduz garrison project are “dramatically restricting training and operations,” said an audit Fields released June 29.

DynCorp spokeswoman Ashley Burke said in an e-mail “it is impossible to anticipate the myriad of unexpected challenges that face construction teams operating in hostile areas.”

“In addition to the challenges operating a project in a war zone, soil abnormalities have been a major issue impeding progress,” she said.

‘Terrible Conditions’

The DynCorp project is meant to support a U.S. effort to train and house the Afghan Army, which is scheduled to grow to 172,000 by October 2011 from 103,000 a year ago. Delays at the Kunduz complex have hampered training, the audit found.

“We saw the effects of construction delays on the development of units at that site,” said Emily Rachman, the senior auditor who compiled the report.

“We observed Afghan army personnel living in temporary facilities and dealing with terrible conditions that were impeding the training efforts of NATO mentors,” Rachman said in an interview.

During a February visit, auditors saw “Afghan army personnel coping with deep mud, freezing conditions, unsanitary shower and bathroom facilities, inadequate dining facilities, medically unsafe food storage and sewage being openly discharged on the surface of the compound,” the audit said.

German military mentors training the Afghan unit said “they were enormously frustrated,” Rachman said. “We went out and trudged through the mud at the site and observed it first- hand. The effect on training and mentoring is obviously enormous.”

Fields disclosed the basic construction delays and problems in an April 30 audit. It concluded the garrison in Kunduz province was unusable because of “poor quality welds, rust on steel supports” and “severe settling” of soil.

DynCorp Action

DynCorp’s Burke said the company hired geological experts to investigate the soil problems. The experts are working to “determine a definitive cause” so a corrective plan can be developed, she said. The company is making a series of interim repairs to contain the damage, she said.

Those include reinforcing foundations and adding additional soil grading to aid drainage from structures, she said.

The company has been docked $1.4 million so far for the cost of administering the contract beyond the scheduled completion date, said Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Eugene Pawlik. Under its contract, Burke said, the company is working to provide the proper justification for delays it believes fall “outside the contractor’s control” and hopes to receive the payments in full once the work is complete.

DynCorp is addressing all the problems and the complex is scheduled to open in August, Pawlik said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Capaccio at acapaccio@bloomberg.net

June 30, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, DynCorp, NATO, State Department | , , , | Leave a comment

DynCorp plans $455M debt sale

Washington Business Journal - by Jeff Clabaugh

Modified: Monday, June 21, 2010, 3:00pmFalls Church-based DynCorp International Inc., in the process of being acquired by Cerberus Capital Management LLP, says it will sell $455 million in new debt as part of the pending acquisition.

DynCorp will offer the debt in the form of seven-year senior notes. It plans to use the proceeds to refinance existing debt and finance costs associated with the Cerberus deal.

DynCorp (NYSE: DCP) agreed in April to be acquired by Cerberus for $1.5 billion in cash and stock. The merger is expected to close later this year.

DynCorps’s fiscal fourth-quarter net income was $24.5 million, up 27 percent from a year earlier. Revenue rose 31 percent to $1.06 billion, led by the acquisitions of Phoenix Consulting Group and Casals & Associates Inc., as well as new work in Afghanistan.  Original Here

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Corruption, DynCorp | , , , | Leave a comment

Former Sheriffs Deputy Wayne Willard Killed in Afghanistan

Mark Millican  Dalton Daily Citizen

Wayne Willard, who was killed Monday in a suicide attack in Afghanistan while working as a private contractor, was described by those who knew him as a humble law enforcement officer who left a legacy across the state and in war zones where America is involved in conflict and training missions.

“He was a real quiet individual, but he was assertive when he needed to be,” said Maj. John Gibson with the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office, where Willard worked for many years. “Wayne was just an outstanding officer from the standpoint of having a tremendous amount of patience when he was dealing with the public. And his ability as an instructor — as far as his passing on his training skills to other employees — was just invaluable. I mean, we sent him all over the state at other departments’ request to do trainings, so he was really strong in that area.”

Gibson called Willard “a good friend” who came to work at the sheriff’s office around 20 years ago when W.G. Tallent was sheriff. Willard first left the department to go to Bosnia on contract work during that conflict, came back to the sheriff’s office and then went to Iraq. Willard left the Calhoun Police Department — where he worked since 2001 — to go to work for Dyncorp, a private security firm, in 2008, according to a press release from the police department. Gibson said his specialty was training police officers.

“He was one of these guys, you know, you always hear about (his ability) — he was really, really skilled — but you’d never know it by talking to him,” he said. “He never even acknowledged his capabilitites (but) the officers, obviously, who worked with him were very aware of his capabilities, who were around him day to day. When I first met him I was working in the drug unit for the Dalton (Police Department), and he was assigned to the drug unit for the county (sheriff’s office), so we worked together a lot initially. He was a former military (U.S.) Marine Recon(naissance) officer (and) he was a highly trained individual. I hated to hear that about him, I hate to see him go, but in a war zone things happen. The last time I saw him was three or four years ago. He was always there, a dependable guy.”

Calhoun Police Chief Garry Moss said outside of his experience with Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams and as a bomb technician, Willard had a sense of mission for training fellow lawmen.

“It was my understanding he was working at a police training facility (when killed), helping train Afghan police,” he said. “What I remember about him was his enthusiasm and energy. He wanted to prepare police officers … and keep them prepared because he had a sense about the way things were changing in the world and he wanted to make sure the officers he trained were prepared for the future. He was an outstanding officer.”

The Calhoun Times reported that U.S. Embassy officials said a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the police training center in the southern city of Kandahar. It did not disclose the nationality of the other person killed. Moments later, an attempt by two other bombers to enter the compound was foiled by security forces who shot them to death, said reports quoting a spokesman for the provincial governor.

Moss said Willard left behind a wife and two children. A spokeswoman with Thomas Funeral Home in Calhoun (www.thomasfuneral.com) said the mortuary is handling arrangements, but it will be a week before the body is received and service times are announced.

June 9, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Casualties, DynCorp | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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