Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Joe Biden’s Uncounted Angels

by David Isenberg at Huffington Post  September 11, 2012

No disrespect to Beau, Biden’s son, who served honorably in Iraq but perhaps if he was working  for KBR or Academi, instead of the Delaware National Guard, Biden might have been more sensitive to those who are also sacrificing.

If you weren’t listening closely you might have missed it but last week, at the Democratic national convention, Vice President Joe Biden gave a major diss to the private military and security contracting (PMSC) industry.

In the course of his speech he said:

And tonight — (applause) — and tonight — tonight I want to acknowledge — I want to acknowledge, as we should every night, the incredible debt we owe to the families of those 6,473 fallen angels and those 49,746 wounded, thousands critically, thousands who will need our help for the rest of their lives.
Folks, we never — we must never, ever forget their sacrifice and always keep them in our care and in our prayers.

Biden might actually be a bit off; another famed Biden gaffe perhaps. The official Pentagon estimate through Sept. 7 for fatalities, which includes Defense Department civilians is 6,594 but their wounded estimate is exactly the same as Biden’s.

Don’t get me wrong. As an American and military veteran the toll of the military dead and wounded, especially those killed or wounded in Iraq, a war of choice, not necessity, tears at me. All these deaths and casualties should be remembered.

But as long as we are going to do body counts let us not low ball. What about all the PMSC personnel who have also made the ultimate sacrifice?

I’ve written about this before but since this is such an unappreciated subject, let’s review.

The U.S. Department of Labor publishes figures based on data maintained by its Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, saying, “These reports do not constitute the complete or official casualty statistics of civilian contractor injuries and deaths.” These figures are not that useful as they refer to numbers of claims filed and not actual total fatalities. Their wounded totals also include figures for those injuries where there was no lost time or where lost time was just three or four days.

Still, through June 30 this year, the number of claims filed for Iraq and Afghanistan total 47,673 and 17,831, respectively. The number of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are 1,569 and 1,173. So that’s 2,742 dead “fallen angels”, who were working to support U.S. troops, diplomats, and private firms per overall U.S. goals in those countries, that Biden did not include.

By the way, to get an idea of the sheer Joe Heller surrealism of trying to track contractor casualties see this post by Overseas Civilian Contractors.

A better sense of the toll can be seen in this 2010 paper written by Prof. Steve Schooner and Colin Swan of George Washington University Law School. As they noted:

As of June 2010, more than 2,008 contractors have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another 44 contractors killed were in Kuwait, many of whom supported the same missions. On top of that, more than 44,000 contractors have been injured, of which more than 16,000 were seriously wounded (see Figure 3). While these numbers rarely see the light of day, Figure 1 reflects the startling fact that contractor deaths now represent over twenty-five (25) percent of all U.S. fatalities since the beginning of these military actions.

In fact, in recent years contractors have, proportionately speaking, sacrificed even more than regular forces.

What is even more striking is that — in both Iraq and Afghanistan — contractors are bearing an increasing proportion of the annual death toll. In 2003, contractor deaths represented only 4 percent of all fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan. From 2004 to 2007, that number rose to 27 percent. From 2008 to the second quarter of 2010, contractor fatalities accounted for an eye-popping 40 percent of the combined death toll. In the first two quarters of 2010 alone, contractor deaths represented more than half — 53 percent — of all fatalities. This point bears emphasis: since January 2010, more contractors have died in Iraq and Afghanistan than U.S. military soldiers. In other words, contractors supporting the war effort today are losing more lives than the U.S. military waging these wars. Indeed, two recent estimates suggest private security personnel working for DoD in Iraq and Afghanistan — a small percentage of the total contractor workforce in these regions — were 1.8 to 4.5 times more likely to be killed than uniformed personnel.

No disrespect to Beau, Biden’s son, who served honorably in Iraq but perhaps if he was worked for KBR or Academi, instead of the Delaware National Guard, Biden might have been more sensitive to those who are also sacrificing.

By the way, lest you think I’m a Republican partisan, neither Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney at the Republican national convention so much as mentioned Iraq or Afghanistan, let alone casualties. That might be funny, if it wasn’t so pathetic, given that this is the party that normally falls all over itself, playing up its supposed support for wartime sacrifice.

Follow David Isenberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/vanidan

September 11, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Department of Defense, Iraq, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Department of Labor and Supreme Group, A Cover Up?

In the second quarter of 2010 The Department of Labor reports that the Supreme Group had 192 employee death claims filed

http://www.dol.gov/owcp/dlhwc/dbaallemployer6-30-10.htm

The Supreme Group shows no prior death claims filed dating back to September of 2001.

While no single insurer shows death claims filed amounting to this number for this time period

CNA shows 46 death claims filed

Zurich shows 105 death claims filed

And the DoL lists 103 death claims to an uninsured employer (there were previously none listed)

http://www.dol.gov/owcp/dlhwc/dbaallcarrier6-30-10.htm

See Also Failure to Secure DBA Coverage, Failure to Report Claims

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We filed FOIA’s on February 22, 2012 and again on March 8, 2012

Which included the following:

    1.    Any and all complaints, statements, or reports to U.S. Dept. of Labor (DoL) concerning the activities of Supreme Group, Supreme Food Service, and their subcontractors

    2.    Any and all letters, reports, e mail, memoranda or other record showing communications with people regarding the activities of and/or the filing of DBA claims by Supreme Group, Supreme Food Service, and their subcontractors

             3.        Any and all report(s) of investigation or other memoranda or record concerning results of investigation conducted by DoL or any person working for DoL concerning the activities of  and/or the filing of DBA claims by Supreme Group, Supreme Food Services, and their subcontractors

.

We understand that when filing FOIA requests they must be worded properly

But are we to believe that there were 192 Death Claims filed in one quarter by one company and that during this same quarter over 100 Death Claims were filed to an uninsured employer,

AND NO ONE HAD ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT AT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR?

July 16, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Defense Base Act, War Hazards Act, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment