Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

‘Old cluster bomb’ kills three Iraqi children

AFP at Google   May 15, 2011

DIWANIYAH, Iraq — Three young boys were killed and another was badly wounded on Sunday when an unexploded cluster bomb detonated in south Iraq, medical and security officials said.

The children, who officials estimated were aged between six and 12, were playing in a garden in the village of Al-Attah, just east of the southern city of Diwaniyah, when the bomb exploded at about 2:00 pm (1100 GMT).

“Diwaniyah hospital received the bodies of three children killed by an old cluster bomb, and one other was seriously wounded,” said Ahmed al-Bideri, spokesman for the provincial health department.

A police official, who declined to be named, confirmed the toll and also attributed the explosion to a cluster bomb.

Iraq last year asked for international help to clear an estimated 20 million unexploded land mines and ordnance that are a legacy of the 1980-1988 war with Iran, the 1990 assault on Kuwait and the 2003 US-led invasion.

Please read the entire article here

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Casualties, Demining, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Iraq, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. touts success at Iraq demining

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 (UPI) — U.S.-led efforts in Iraq have cleared more than 190 million square feet of land from unexploded ordnance, the U.S. State Department said.

The State Department said Iraq is near the top when it comes to nations plagued with land mines and unexploded ordnance. Most of those, the department said, are the consequence of more than 30 years of conflict and the 1980s war between Iran and Iraq.

In 2010, the U.S. government spent nearly $25 million to destroy conventional weapons scattered across the country.

The United Nations, however, estimates that there are 20 million land mines scattered across Iraq, with many of those contaminating agricultural land.

The State Department said it cleared more than 190 million square feet of land from land mines and unexploded ordnance, though parts of the country are still riddled with the weapons.

There are nearly a dozen national and international agencies, including the U.S. government, working to get rid of conventional munitions in Iraq.

“Despite progress, much work remains ahead,” the State Department said.  Please see the original here

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Demining, ERW, Iraq, State Department | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review finds that bomb-sniffing dogs in Afghanistan and Iraq may not be up to snuff

LA Unleashed

The State Department’s inspector general said Friday that bomb-sniffing dogs in Afghanistan and Iraq aren’t being tested properly and may not be able to effectively detect explosives.

The inspector general’s review found that the companies hired to supply and train the animals weren’t testing them for all of the scents of the most commonly encountered explosives, increasing the chance of a dog missing a bomb in a vehicle or luggage. That puts U.S. diplomats at risk, the inspector general said.

The companies — U.S. Training Center in Moyock, N.C., a business unit of the company formerly known as Blackwater, and RONCO Consulting Corp. in Washington — also used expired or potentially contaminated materials for the scent tests, the inspector general’s report said.

Susan Pitcher, a spokeswoman for Wackenhut Services, RONCO’s parent company, called the inspector general’s review “inaccurate.” She said a canine expert engaged by the State Department to verify the detection capabilities of the dogs concluded that they complied with the required standards.

Pitcher, however, said that the company had not been provided the expert’s report, receiving instead what she described as “on-site briefings” about the results.

The inspector general’s office said it had not been given the results of the expert’s inspection when it released its report.

The U.S. Training Center did not respond to a request for comment on the inspector general’s report.

The inspector general’s review was limited to three canine programs handled by U.S. Training Center and RONCO. The report did not say how many dogs each contractor provides.

Overall, the State Department uses nearly 200 bomb-sniffing dogs. The report only offers a glimpse of the costs of these services, saying the State Department pays $24 million a year alone for canine services at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The report faults the department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which is responsible for managing the canine program, for weak oversight. Investigators found that the contractors, not the bureau, were running the program and policing themselves.

During visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, the investigators did not meet any bureau personnel with expertise in bomb-sniffing dogs. “They depended upon the knowledge and expertise of the contractors to ensure all contractual requirements and other standards were met,” according to the report.

The contractors told the investigators “that no outside organization with expertise in explosive detection canines had ever reviewed their operations in Iraq or Afghanistan,” the report said.

In comments printed in the report, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security said it is taking steps to improve the canine program and plans to hire an independent expert who will ensure all the contract requirements are met properly.

Original Article here

October 13, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, G4S, Ronco, Safety and Security Issues, State Department, Wackenhut | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments