Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

If State Dept Is Not Cancelling Iraqi Police Training Program, Why Is Its Contractor Packing Up?

Excerpts from:  DiploPundit  May 16, 2012

Last week, NYT reported that the U.S. May Scrap Costly Efforts to Train Iraqi Police. We blogged about it in State Dept May Dump Multi-Billion Dollar Iraqi Police Program; Noooooooo! Not So Says Embassy Baghdad.

During the Daily Press Briefing of May 14, the State Department Spokesperson clarified that “we have no intention to cancel our police training program in Iraq,” and told reporters that the department “had considerable difficulties with that story.”

If that is so, how come it has not requested a retraction of this NYT story? But more to the point, why it its contractor handling the police training program in Iraq, packing up?

Either the NYT got this right or the NYT got this wrong.

And while State is working on “that set of issues” we heard from an official familiar with the program both under DOD and State that the contractor for the Police Development Program is packing up and will be out of there by this summer.

“If DoS intends to continue the program, they had better let the primary contractor know this because it is shuttering their operation as we speak.”

Our source says that there are less than 50 police trainers currently working under this contract, and by August 2012, all of them, will leave Iraq and finally end their embassy compound sequestration.

Somebody please send this tip to the spokespersons in Foggy Bottom and the US Embassy in Baghdad, in case this item was deemed “need to know.”

Please read the entire post at DiploPundit

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Iraq, State Department | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Security is nationalised in Afghanistan – but will expats feel any safer?

France 24 International News FOCUS  May 16, 2012

18 months after Hamid Karzai vowed to shut down private security firms in Afghanistan, it’s finally happening.

By July, all security contracts will have been handed over to the Interior Ministry-owned Private Protection Force, or APPF.

Despite the upcoming deadline, many foreign companies still haven’t made the switch.

Poorly trained and barely equipped, the new guard force is perceived as an additional security threat to expats, already working in an increasingly hostile environment

Please see the video of program here

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, ExPats, NGO's, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , | Leave a comment

Staff Sgt. Israel P. Nuanes of the 84th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion killed in Afghanistan

Las Cruces Sun News   May 16. 2012

LAS CRUCES – The U.S. Department of Defense has confirmed the passing of U.S. Staff Sgt. Israel P. Nuanes of Las Cruces who was serving in Afghanistan.

Nuanes, 38, of Las Cruces died May 12, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained during an enemy attack with an improvised explosive device, according to the DOD.

Nuanes served in the 741st Ordnance Company, 84th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, 71st Ordnance Group, of Fort Bliss, Texas.

“I extend my deepest sympathies and prayers for the family and friends of Staff Sergeant Nuanes,” said Congressman Steve Pearce in a news release. “My heart goes out to his family and to the families of our fallen heroes across the nation. We will never forget the sacrifice he made to defend our nation and preserve our freedoms. His admirable service to our nation and his dedication to preserving liberty will long be remembered in New Mexico and across the U.S.”

The Sun-News is pursuing more information, and will post updates as they become available.

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan agrees to reopen NATO supply route to Afghanistan, but for a fee

McClatchy   May 16, 2012

ISLAMABAD — The cost of the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan is about to rise by $365 million annually under an agreement that would reopen a key NATO supply route through Pakistan that’s been closed for nearly six months.

The accord, which the Pakistani government announced late Tuesday, would revive the transport of vital supplies of food and equipment from Pakistani ports overland to land-locked Afghanistan. In return, the U.S.-led coalition will pay Pakistan a still-to-be-fixed fee of $1,500 to $1,800 for each truck carrying supplies, a tab that officials familiar with negotiations estimated would run nearly $1 million a day. The officials requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to reveal details of the agreement.

Pakistan closed the land route to supplies headed to the coalition after American aircraft mistakenly attacked two Pakistani border outposts Nov. 26, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers. Since then, supplies for coalition forces in Afghanistan have passed through one of two routes that stretch from Afghanistan through central Asia and Siberia to Georgia on the Black Sea. One of the routes is nearly 6,000 miles long. The Pakistan route is less than 500 miles.

Officials in Washington said they didn’t know how much of the new cost the United States would bear. As the United States contributes more than two-thirds of the 130,000-strong international force, which operates under the command of NATO, it’s expected that Washington will pay most of the new fee.

Please see the original and read more here

 

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, NATO, Pakistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Defense authorization bill could bar private security contractors from Afghanistan

The Washington Business Journal  May 16, 2012

The House of Representatives will likely consider this week the defense authorization bill, which among other things would prohibit the Department of Defense from awarding contracts to private companies for security-guard services at military facilities in Afghanistan.

The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act states that appropriated funds cannot be used for any contract for security-guard functions at Afghanistan facilities where members of the military are garrisoned or housed or to provide any other security for the armed forces in Afghanistan. It also prohibits the use of funds to employ the Afghan Public Protection Force, which the Afghan Ministry of the Interior has offered to provide additional security.

Referencing February statistics from the DOD, the bill notes that there have been 42 insider attacks on coalition forces since 2007 by the Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police or Afghan civilians hired by private security contractors to guard U.S. bases and facilities in the country.

“Better security and force protection for members of the Armed Forces garrisoned and housed in Afghanistan can be provided by United States military personnel than private security contractors or members of the Afghan Public Protection Force,” according to the bill.

In a released statement on the bill, the Obama administration strongly objected to the provision, saying that it would “require either additional troops to perform security functions or a reduction in combat missions that current force levels perform.”

“It could also undermine civilian-military coordination and increase risk for certain development projects that are critical to ensuring a stable Afghanistan through the transition period to 2014,” the White House said.

Please see the original and read more here

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Screaming Eagle’ Soldiers Oversee Demining

All Africa May 15, 2012

United States Africa Command

Kisangani — Years after the Great War of Africa ended, remnants of war are still scattered throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the aftermath of one of the deadliest conflicts worldwide since World War II.

In an effort to help the DRC reduce the number of land mines and unexploded ordnance, four soldiers from the 184th Ordnance Battalion (EOD), out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky provided a train-the-trainer course with 11 Forces Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo (FARDC) deminers to improve their explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) skills.

This engagement, which is part of the Humanitarian Mine Action program, took place April 6 through 27, 2012 at Camp Base in Kisangani, the capitol of the Orientale Province in the DRC.

The main objective of this exercise was to improve the FARDC deminers’ EOD skill sets to a point where they can set up a sustainable program in the DRC and to improve relations between the DRC and the United States, said Captain Charles A. Schnake, the exercise officer in charge.

“The HMA mission gives EOD technicians a chance to share lessons-learned with our allies and to sustain amiable relations. It’s also an opportunity for U.S. soldiers to experience a once in a lifetime mission to work in new environments. It was important to me because it gave me the chance to make a lasting impact in the sustainability of life-saving skill sets with our partners overseas,” Schnake, a Honolulu, Hawaii native said.

The first three days of the engagement focused on assessing the level of proficiency for the FARDC deminers. After their progress was evaluated, the Congolese soldiers were taught ordnance identification, explosives safety and theory, metal detector operations and demolitions.

Staff Sergeant Robert L. Hayslett, the head instructor and noncommissioned officer in charge of the mission, said he enjoyed seeing the DRC military eager to learn, broaden their skill set and accomplish the mission.

“The United States has the resources and the personnel with the experience available to teach these critical skills to these soldiers, it’s nice to see the U.S. has a vested interest in the area. My favorite part was the interaction with the foreign students, getting to interact with a foreign military.

This event is an opportunity that not a lot of soldiers have, and we can now take these partnering experiences back and use them abroad,” Hayslett, a Newville, Pa. native said.

During the 21-day program of instruction, both sides were able to take away important lessons from the experience.

Please see the original and read more here

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment