Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

ACADEMI — ex-Blackwater — Boosts State Dept Business, Eyes Acquisitions:

AOL Defense June 8, 2012

How confident is the new management at private security contractor ACADEMI — formerly known as Xe and, also, infamously, as Blackwater — that they’ve turned the company around?

Last month, apparently without attracting any public attention (until now), they quietly bought another security firm, International Development Solutions, and took over its piece of the State Department’s $10 billion World Protective Services contract, which then-Blackwater got kicked out of years ago.

And ACADEMI plans on further acquisitions, CEO Ted Wright confirmed in an exclusive interview with AOL Defense.

The company has spent a year rebuilding and is set to grow again, said Wright, who took over in June 2011. (He was hired by a new ownership team that bought out Blackwater founder Erik Prince the previous December). “The things we said we were going to do a year ago, we’ve kind of done,” said Wright, just back from visiting employees in Afghanistan.

Since he started, the company has not only a new name but a new management team, a new board of directors — in fact it didn’t even have a board before — and a new corporate headquarters in Arlington, looking across the Potomac River straight at the headquarters of the State Department. Many of the employees doing security work in the field are new, Wright said, and the core of ACADEMI’s business, its training cadre, has turned over almost completely: Only about 10 instructors remain from the old days, compared to 30 new hires, with another 20 on the way.

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June 8, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor, State Department, Xe | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Blackwater’ gets new US contract

Private Security Firm known as “Xe” has a slice of new $10B State Department despite repeated violations.

Despite US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign promise to no longer award military contracts to Blackwater – the now renamed notorious security contractor – the US state department has recently awarded the company another lucrative contract.

Blackwater was renamed Xe after a string of legal cases against the company in the US and in Iraq.

Wired.com reports that while neither Xe nor Blackwater appear on the list of eight firms hired for the Worldwide Protective Services contract (a group of contracts combined into one), one of the company’s fronts, International Development Solutions LLC (IDS) is on the list.

In total, the contract for all eight companies is worth up to $10bn.

“When I am president I will ask the Joint Chiefs for their help in reducing reliance on armed private military contractors with the goal of ultimately implementing a ban on such contractors,” Clinton said during her presidential campaign in 2008.

Indeed, Clinton was the only co-sponsor in the US senate of the Stop Outsourcing Security Act, introduced in 2007.

She used the issue to differentiate herself from her chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama, who said that if voted into office, he would not rule out the continued use of military contractors.

But reporter Spencer Ackerman, who wrote the story for Wired.com’s Danger Room, says that Clinton only took that stance “in order to gain some traction” during her campaign and that “it was clear that she didn’t mean what she said”.

Despite working for the Obama administration, where the president himself never ruled out the use of contractors, Clinton, Ackerman said, has options.

“She could stop using any particular contractor if she wanted to,” Ackerman said.

Mysterious company

It is unclear what IDS will do in order to fulfil its contract or how much its portion of the contract is worth.

A press officer from the state department returned Al Jazeera’s call, but was unable to say what specific services IDS could provide and why, given Blackwater’s tarnished reputation, (which lead to the company’s name change in 2009) it was still eligible for such a contract.

She did, however, read out a prepared statement, indicating that while the state department is aware of IDS’s ties to Blackwater, that that fact was not prohibitive in accepting its bid.
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October 3, 2010 Posted by | Blackwater | , , , , | Leave a comment