Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Unique training taking place in Dateland

By James Gilbert Yuma Sun Staff Writer

Civilian contractors are being taught how to maintain and operate ground- and balloon-mounted persistent-surveillance systems for the military by a privately owned technology company at a little-known facility near Dateland.

Called the Dateland Training Center (DTC), a research and development branch of the Gilbert-based STARA Technologies, the facility was established about nine years ago as a place to test precision air drop technologies, such as parachute systems.

However, according to DTC President Colin McCavitt, “blimps,” or aerostat/airship-mounted surveillance systems, are being used more often now to help protect U.S. American troops deployed at remote bases in Afghanistan.

About the size of a tractor-trailer truck, McCavitt explained, the airships are tethered to a very tall tower, say at a forward-operating base, and equipped with a wide variety of surveillance systems such as full-motion, 360 degree-panning video cameras and other sensory systems and radars.

He stated that last year the U.S. military bought 30 aerostat/airship-mounted surveillance systems and plans on buying about 30 more again more this year. When that happens, the military will need about 250 to 300 highly trained individuals to operate and maintain them. That is where, McCavitt said, the DTC comes in.

March 8, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors | , , , | Leave a comment

DynCorp Is Two Years Late Finishing Afghan Barracks Construction

By Tony Cappaccio at Bloomberg

DynCorp International Inc., the largest contractor in Afghanistan, is running two years late in completing construction of a barracks for use by Afghan security forces, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The $72.8 million, two-phase project for Kunduz was originally scheduled to be completed in June 2009. The date was extended to August 2010. The latest completion target is May 31, Corps spokesman Eugene Pawlik said in an e-mail yesterday.

Construction delays at the Kunduz barracks, in northern Afghanistan, and at other facilities throughout the country complicates the U.S. process of turning over security functions to Afghan forces, said Charles Tiefer, a member of the Commission on Wartime Contracting.

“It’s a setback in our hoped-for rapid build-up of the Afghan army’s infrastructure, which needs top priority if we’re to meet the deadline of turning responsibility for the country’s security to these Afghan forces in 2014,” Tiefer, a University of Baltimore professor, said in an e-mail today. The eight- member commission was established by Congress to monitor contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ashley Burke, a spokeswoman for Falls Church, Virginia- based DynCorp, said in an e-mail that “unanticipated soil abnormalities were a major issue impeding the construction progress.” DynCorp was acquired last year by New York-based Cerberus Capital Management LP.  Please read the entire article here

March 8, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, DynCorp, Government Contractor, USACE | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan court may indict CIA contractor for murder

(Reuters) March 8, 2011-

A Pakistani court is likely to indict a CIA contractor next week for murdering two men, lawyers said on Tuesday, despite U.S. insistence he has diplomatic immunity, acted in self-defense and should be released.

The arrest of American contractor Raymond Davis, 36, who shot dead two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore on January27 in what he said in was an act of self-defense, has put grave strains on relations between the United States and its important ally Pakistan.

“The lawyers of the victims pleaded that David be charged, but we contested it could not happen until we get complete documents on the case,” Davis’ lawyer, Zahid Hussain Bokhari, told Reuters.

“He is probably going to be charged with murder at the next hearing, which is on March 16.”

Before the next murder hearing, Davis has a hearing at the Lahore High Court on March 14 which could determine if he has diplomatic immunity and should be released.

Meanwhile, another American, identified as Aaron Mark DeHaven, arrested in the northwestern city of Peshawar for overstaying his visa, was released on 2 million rupees ($23,356.30) bail on Tuesday on the orders of a local court, jail officials said.

($1=85.25 Pakistani Rupee)

March 8, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Casualties, Government Contractor, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shipping companies can defend themselves against piracy

Maritime News

The Somali pirates and the merchant ships that ply the Indian Ocean have two things in common. The first, of course, is that they both make their living at sea. The second is that they lack sufficient incentives to change their harmful behaviour. The pirates persist

– with the help of criminal transnational investors and ever-more-sophisticated equipment – for the simple reason that piracy pays. Ransoms have been spiraling upward, totaling $238 million last year. The Indian Ocean is just too vast to effectively police, and too many ships are easy pickings. In short, the pirates have no reason to change course. But the shipping companies apparently lack reason to change course as well. Their vessels aren’t sufficiently hardened against attack, perhaps because they can rely on the world’s navies for protection. And until recently, when pirate cruelty and greed began to get out of hand, they may have calculated that it was cheaper and safer to pay a ransom occasionally than take more drastic measures.

Is this behaviour harmful? Of course it is. Paying ransoms to pirates only encourages piracy, drawing more pirates and investors into the increasingly lucrative racket and underwriting more effective pirate ships, weapons and technology. Every dollar paid in ransom makes the seas a more dangerous place.  Please read the entire article here

March 8, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Pirates, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment

British are no strangers to guns for hire

Ben Macintyre The Times The Australian March 8, 2011

MUAMMAR Gaddafi lost his few remaining shreds of legitimacy in many eyes when he turned to mercenaries to shore up his regime. As many as 6000 “dogs of war”, hired guns recruited from Chad, Congo, Liberia and other parts of Africa brutalised by war may have been flown in by the Libyan dictator in the past few weeks.

Reports of mercenaries firing on the insurgents have become a leitmotif of the conflict, proof of Gaddafi’s ruthlessness, desperation and weakness. Machiavelli (Gaddafi’s mentor in so many ways) warned: “He who holds his state by means of mercenary troops can never be solidly or securely seated.”

What kind of government brings in hired guns to back up its own troops? Answer: the British government.

New figures reveal that contracts worth a record pound stg. 29 million ($46.4m) were awarded last year to British private security firms operating in Afghanistan, many of them fulfilling functions that would formerly have been performed by the military.

In the past 10 years, there has been an astonishing growth in private military and security companies (PMSCs), a boom created by the war in Iraq, sustained by the conflict in Afghanistan, and operating around the world. The annual revenue for British PMSCs leapt from pound stg. 320m in 2003 to more than pound stg. 1.8 billion in 2004. At the height of the Iraq war, there were estimated to be three private security employees for every British soldier.

Please read the entire article here

March 8, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Libya, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , | Leave a comment