Defense firm links with Va.-based Sterling
An East Tennessee defense contractor has joined forces with a Virginia firm.
EOD Technology announced Wednesday that it has merged with Reston, Va.-based Sterling International to form Sterling Global Operations.
The new company will be based in Lenoir City, and EODT CEO Matt Kaye will serve as president and CEO of the new venture.
Kaye said Wednesday that the combined companies form “the world’s preeminent conventional munitions disposal organization.”
Asked about the benefits of the deal for EODT, Kaye said: “It really diversifies our customer base. It strengthens our footprint around the world and provides us greater breadth and depth of resources.”
EODT got its start in 1987 as a company specializing in explosive ordnance disposal, and for years specialized in cleaning up contamination at former U.S. military sites. During the George W. Bush administration, EODT branched out into security operations and eventually became a major player in that market.
The company has also received some unwelcome scrutiny in connection with that work, however. In 2010, a U.S. Senate committee criticized EODT for its hiring practices in Afghanistan, and the following year it was revealed that the U.S. State Department had fired the company from a contract to guard the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
EODT was raided by federal agents in 2010, although no charges have been filed in connection with the raid.
According to a news release, EODT’s employee stock ownership plan acquired Sterling International. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The release said Sterling manages a $175 million weapons removal and abatement program for the State Department, and Kaye said that in comparison to EODT, the Virginia firm is more involved in the work of nonproliferation.
“While the activities that (EODT does) are nonproliferation, they’re much more in a mass-quantity stockpile reduction,” he said. “Sterling is on the forefront of … assisting countries with treaty compliance (and) establishing mine action centers.”
Kaye said Sterling has approximately 150 employees, and the new company will have about 3,500 employees.
After a round of layoffs earlier this year, EODT said it had 250 American employees and 3,000 foreign nationals.
Kaye said Sterling International’s program manager for conventional weapons destruction will remain in that position with the new company.
Sterling’s website does not identify the company’s top executives, and Kaye declined to identify the founder or CEO of the company. “He’s asked not to be named,” Kaye said, adding that the individual would stay on as an executive adviser.
The release said the combined companies will continue to serve existing customers, but will also expand into markets including energy exploration and development, and judicial and criminal justice support.
The new company will have annual revenues of $150 million.
Knoxville Biz February 28, 2012
Lenoir City defense contractorEOD Technology said Tuesday it is laying off 48 headquarters employees.
In a news release, the company said it was restructuring its business model in response to federal budget cuts, especially those associated with its work in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The release said several government contracts to protect U.S. troops and manage explosive ordnance were expected to extend well into 2012, but have ended earlier than expected because of accelerated U.S. troop withdrawal plans. Following the layoffs, EODT will have 250 American employees and 3,000 foreign nationals. The company said employees who are laid off will be offered severance packages.
“Our employees are remarkable, highly skilled people who are part of protecting the lives of American troops and foreign nationals,” Matt Kaye, EODT’s CEO, said in the release. “As any organization that works with government understands, we recognize that the budget environment is always changing, sometimes unexpectedly. Unfortunately, we must take this action, as many companies have been forced to do, to remain competitive.”
The company said it is boosting its emphasis on land mine removal and disposal, and expanding its work with the oil and gas industry.
Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) October 11, 2011
The 2011 Annual Summit of the Stability Operations Industry takes place in two weeks and ISOA is pleased to highlight featured speakers for the event.
Jack Straw, UK Foreign Secretary under Prime Minister Tony Blair from 2001 – 2006, will be addressing the Summit dinner on 25 October. Straw was instrumental in crafting and coordinating international missions in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. He currently serves as an MP in the UK Parliament.
Chris Shays and Michael Thibault, Co-Chairs of the Commission on Wartime Contracting, will offer valuable insight in to the recent CWC Final Report and its implications for the industry on the morning of 25 October.
Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp, Former Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will address participants on the following day and discuss the role and value of the private sector in supporting vital U.S. policies abroad.
“This year’s speaker line-up is the most impressive collection of expertise and influence in the history of our Summit,” stated Doug Brooks, ISOA President and Founder. “It is a must-see for companies looking toward their future bottom-line.”
The Summit kicks off on Monday 24 October, with opening remarks from Summit chair, Ambassador David Litt (ret.) and former, long-time Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Ike Skelton. Lunch speakers include Ambassador Eric Edelman (ret.), former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and David T. Johnson, current Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
The ISOA Annual Summit is the premier event of the stability operations industry, drawing a diverse group of speakers and attendees from government, military, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. A detailed agenda and further information about the Summit can be found online at http://www.stability-operations.org/summit2011.
The ISOA Summit is sponsored by Mission Essential Personnel, Dyncorp International, SOC, LLC, Triple Canopy, L-3 MPRI, PAE, Inc., Olive Group and EOD Technology.
Summit sponsorships, exhibitor spaces and advertising opportunities can be found on the event website, or requested from Melissa Sabin at msabin(at)stability-operations(dot)org.
ISOA is the international trade association of the stability operations industry, promoting ethics and standards worldwide and advocating for effective utilization of private sector services. ISOA members are leaders in the industry and are supported by ISOA’s outreach, education and government affairs initiatives.
In August 2009, the Pentagon awarded five Theater-wide Internal Security Services (TWISS) contracts for site security in Iraq. These contracts, awarded to EOD Technology, Inc.; Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, LLC; Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group; Triple Canopy, Inc.; and Protection Strategies Inc., have a combined value of $485 million.
U.S base commanders nominate contracting officer’s representatives (CORs), who are responsible for verifying the U.S. government receives what it pays for. The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) appoints and trains CORs and manages their activities. DCMA uses Quality Assurance Representatives (QARs) to monitor the CORs’ and contractors’ performance.
Yet although COR duties are critical to the U.S. government’s oversight of the TWISS contracts, almost 40% of the CORs it surveyed said the training they received did not prepare them for their duties and 25% said they lack sufficient time to conduct effective oversight, according to an audit report “Control Weaknesses Remain in Oversight of Theater-wide Internal Security Services Contracts,”
released today by the Office of the Special Inspector General For Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).
Why is this important? Please read the entire story at HuffPost
Federal agents raided the Tennessee headquarters of a security contractor involved in Afghanistan and Iraq on Wednesday on warrants that officials said were related to alleged violations of defense-related export controls.
The contractor, EOD Technology Inc., provides security and other services for the State and Defense departments. It was selected in late September to take over security for the U.S. Embassy compound in Kabul.
One federal official said the alleged offenses fell under a law known as International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which governs the export and import of certain defense-related items. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation, would not specify the items in question but said the case involved exports to Iraq.
Reached by telephone Thursday, an EODT receptionist said that senior officials were all in a meeting and were unavailable for comment. On Wednesday, a company statement said that “this event came as a complete surprise to us. We are a responsibly run company, and adhere to the highest ethical standards. We are unaware of anything that could have triggered this event.”
The raid, directed by the U.S. attorney for eastern Tennessee, included agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Court documents related to the action were sealed and law enforcement officials said they would make no public comment on what they described as an ongoing investigation begun more than a year ago by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
EODT was cited in an October report issued by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for concerns about Afghan guards it had hired that “have been involved in activities at odds with U.S. interests in the region,” including providing information to Iran. In its response to the committee, the company said that all its employees had either been recommended or vetted by the U.S. military.
The company is also the subject of a lawsuit filed in October by a Kuwait-based subcontractor who alleges that armed EODT employees broke into its compound in Kabul, threatened personnel there, and stole contract goods.
In both Iraq and Afghanistan, many of the company’s contracts relate to “point security” – providing guards outside military forward operating bases and construction projects. Over the past several months, it has won Defense Department contracts to provide security at bases in southern and eastern Afghanistan.
Selection as one of eight security companies eligible to bid on task orders under the State Department’s Worldwide Personal Protective Services contract – and its winning bid to provide security for the Kabul Embassy – lifted EODT into the big leagues of security contracting.
A State Department official said “we did not know” that EODT was under federal investigation when the selection was made. While lists of companies who have been “debarred” from contract competition are reviewed before awards are made, the official said, “there is no register of companies that are under investigation.”
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that “we’re reaching out to the federal agency involved” in the case “to obtain more information.”
Every five years, the State Department sets a target amount for what it will cost to protect its installations abroad and selects companies eligible to bid on individual task orders. In its previous two iterations, the worldwide security contract granted eligibility to only a handful of companies, including Dyncorp International, Triple Canopy and Blackwater, now known as Xe Services.
When selecting companies for the current five-year contract, completed in September, “we wanted a greater range to choose from” and “qualified more companies than in the past,” including EODT, the State Department official said. Costs under the contract have also ballooned, with an increased U.S. civilian presence in Afghanistan and the anticipated withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq at the end of next year. The current contract sets a cap of $10 billion for all task orders until its expiration in 2015.
Founded by two retired Marine sergeants in 1987, EODT focused its operations for many years on munitions management, including the clearance of ordnance, hazardous materials and chemical-warfare material. Like many similar small firms, it moved into the mushrooming area of private security contracting with the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the expansion of operations in Afghanistan Please see the original here
EODT took advantage of situation in Iraq, inspector general says
A federal watchdog indicated Thursday that this week’s raid on a local defense contractor is aimed at bringing accountability to those who have tried to take advantage of the situation in Iraq.
Stuart Bowen is the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, a position created by Congress in 2004 to provide accountability for the use of funds for Iraq relief and reconstruction. In an interview Thursday, Bowen said his office has more than 100 ongoing cases, including a case related to Wednesday’s raid on Lenoir City contractor EOD Technology.
The IG said most of the cases are executed through task forces, such as the one that participated in the Wednesday raid. He added that the U.S. Army’s criminal investigation division ‘played a major role’ in getting that case put together. Bowen, a graduate of the University of the South, said his agency also works closely with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, which is an arm of the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General.
‘This is not the first, and it won’t be the last, time that we work with those agencies … as well as (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to hold accountable those who have taken advantage of the chaotic situation in Iraq for their criminal, personal benefit,’ said Bowen.
Asked if that’s what he believes happened in the case of EODT, Bowen replied, ‘Yes, that is why the search was carried out.’
In a statement issued Wednesday, EODT officials said they didn’t know of anything that could have triggered the raid. ‘We obviously would not have been selected for some of the sensitive and important projects we handle for our country around the world had we not been thoroughly investigated before and found to be trustworthy,’ the statement said.
Federal agents, assisted by the Lenoir City Police Department, raided EODT’s three-building campus on Old Highway 95, in Lenoir City, and an EODT facility in Roane County on Wednesday, and were seen carrying paperwork between buildings and escorting occupants of the buildings to their vehicles. By Thursday morning, activity at both sites appeared to be at an end.
In recent years, EODT has faced scrutiny in court, in Congress and by military officials. In September, a report from the Senate Armed Services Committee alleged that EODT ‘partnered with local strongmen’ to support its operations in Adraskan, a village in Afghanistan’s Herat Province. The report said EODT had garnered a contract worth nearly $7 million to provide security at a facility in the village, and that the company assigned quotas to local strongmen or ‘notables’ to staff its guard force. Among those who recommended men for hire, the report said, was ‘General’ Said Abdul Wahab Qattili, who allegedly recommended some men who had previously been fired by another contractor for reportedly providing sensitive security information to a Taliban-affiliated warlord.
In a press release, EODT said its contract required the company to use Afghan personnel from the area surrounding the contract location. ‘The local leaders which EODT sought out to assist in hiring personnel were persons made known to EODT by the U.S. military or were commonly known leaders within that area,’ the release said. ‘In any event all leaders which EODT utilized were made known to the U.S. military at every stage of mobilization.’
The company also said the name of any Afghan hired by EODT was provided to the appropriate person, as designated by the contract, for approval of the hire.
In October, a Kuwaiti manufacturer of temporary housing was among the plaintiffs that sued EODT in U.S. District Court, alleging that the company stole more than $1 million worth of prefabricated shelters. Neither EODT nor its officials named in the lawsuit could be reached for comment at the time.
EODT has also clashed with some of its former employees. In 2009, the company sued five former employees for $80 million, and accused them of stealing company secrets to form a competing company. That suit was later dismissed.
One of those former senior managers had been accused in a 2007 Army investigation of helping secure $2.5 million in contracts for EODT through inside information he received from an Air Force captain with whom he was having an extramarital affair. The Army threatened to ban EODT from government work because of allegations against the employee, but eventually decided against a suspension or debarment.
In March, one of the former employees sued by EODT filed his own suit against the company in Loudon County Chancery Court, alleging a wide variety of misconduct by the company, including the violation of federal arms export laws and overcharging on government contracts. The company responded by calling the claims ‘sensational, unsubstantiated, and untrue allegations (used) as a tactic to obscure the real issues of the case.’
Senate panel: U.S. money was funneled to Afghan warlords with links to violence
The leading Senate panel on military affairs has found that several private security contractors in Afghanistan funneled money from their Pentagon contracts to warlords and strongmen linked to murder, kidnapping and bribery.
The private security contractors at the center of the yearlong Senate Armed Services Committee investigation also used U.S. taxpayers’ money to pay off individuals who supported the Taliban or took action against NATO-coalition forces in Afghanistan, according to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the panel’s chairman.
One of the companies investigated, ArmorGroup, a subsidiary of the British company G4S, relied on Afghan warlords — some of whom were Taliban supporters — to provide manpower for the company’s guard force at an Afghan air base, the report said.
During the contract period with the U.S. Air Force, one of the warlords who provided security forces for ArmorGroup killed another warlord in a shootout at a bazaar, according to the report. A third warlord working with ArmorGroup was killed in a U.S.-Afghan military raid on a Taliban meeting at his home.
A second company, EOD Technology (EODT), relied on local powerbrokers to supply personnel for its guard force, including one individual said to have raised money for the Taliban. EODT also hired personnel that had previously been fired by ArmorGroup for passing sensitive information to a Taliban-linked warlord, according to Levin.
EODT is registered as a foreign corporation in Tennessee.
The investigation also looked into more than 125 Pentagon security contracts in Afghanistan that were in place from 2007 to 2009. The panel found that contractors did not properly vet their personnel or ensure they received adequate training. The investigation revealed wasted resources and “wide gaps in government” oversight that allowed “dangerous” failures to take place, Levin said.
EODT Becomes Charter Signatory of International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers
LENOIR CITY, Tenn., Nov. 12, 2010 /PRNewswire/ –– EOD Technology, Inc. (EODT), a professional services company providing strategic stability operations support worldwide, was one of 45 international firms to become Charter Signatories to the International Code of Conduct (ICoC) for Private Security Service Providers. The ICoC establishes global standards for the private security industry and sets the stage for eventual company certification and oversight mechanisms.
The signing ceremony was hosted by the Swiss Government in Geneva on Nov. 9. The ICoC is the result of a 15 month multi-stakeholder process including private security companies, industry associations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)/civil society, with the assistance and support of the US, UK, and Swiss Governments. The signing ceremony was followed by several events which continued through the next day, largely focusing on initiating the next steps spelled out in the ICoC.
EODT President and CEO Matt Kaye, signing the ICoC on behalf of EODT, attended this ceremony and corresponding events alongside representatives from the US Department of State, US Department of Defense, the UK Government, Swiss Government, civil society, and the leaders of the other 45 security companies. EODT General Counsel Erik Quist, who was one of the key private security industry representatives involved in drafting the ICoC, also attend and was chosen to participate on a select panel of security industry, government, and civil society members to discuss independent mechanisms for governance and oversight. Going forward, EODT will be working with and providing assistance to the group charged with initiating the ICoC’s next steps. “This Code is a strong document and an important step in building an effective scheme for improving this industry’s human rights performance,” said Human Rights First’s Devon Chaffee, who spoke at the signing ceremony.
“As a market leader, EODT has worked for nearly five years with the International Stability Operations Association and other groups to establish enforceable operational and ethical standards as the benchmark for private security contractors,” said EODT’s President and CEO Matt Kaye. “EODT is delighted to be among the Charter Signatories of the ICoC. The signing of this historic International Code of Conduct is a great first step toward ensuring that all security companies adhere to the same high standards that EODT always has. We look forward to the US and UK Governments finalizing their efforts to require ICoC compliance as a condition to the award of their security contracts, as well as the general continuation of this process to gain widespread acceptance of the ICoC and ensure all security contractors embrace the accountability, transparency, and oversight it will require.”