Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Contractors’ role grows in drone missions, worrying some in the military

by David S Cloud McClatchy Washington DC  December 29, 2011

 After a U.S. airstrike mistakenly killed at least 15 Afghans in 2010, the Army officer investigating the accident was surprised to discover that an American civilian had played a central role: analyzing video feeds from a Predator drone keeping watch from above.

The contractor had overseen other analysts at Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field in Florida as the drone tracked suspected insurgents near a small unit of U.S. soldiers in rugged hills in central Afghanistan. Based partly on her analysis, an Army captain ordered an airstrike on a convoy that turned out to be carrying innocent men, women and children.

“What company do you work for?” Maj. Gen. Timothy McHale demanded of the contractor after he learned that she was not in the military, according to a transcript obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

“SAIC,” she answered

Her employer, SAIC Inc., is a publicly traded Virginia-based corporation with a multiyear $49 million contract to help the Air Force analyze drone video and other intelligence from Afghanistan.

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December 30, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors | , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 US forces mistakenly killed by drone attack in Afghanistan

By Jim Miklaszewski Chief Pentagon Correspondent NBC

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Marine reservist and a Navy corpsman were killed in a drone airstrike in Afghanistan last week in an apparent case of friendly fire, U.S. military officials tell NBC News.

Marine Staff Sgt. Jeremy Smith and Navy Corpsman Benjamin Rast were reportedly killed Wednesday by a Hellfire missile fired from a U.S. Air Force Predator in what appears to be a case of mistaken identity, NBC reported. Smith and Rast were part of a Marine unit moving in to reinforce fellow Marines under heavy fire from enemy forces outside Sangin in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.

The Marines under fire were watching streaming video of the battlefield being fed to them by an armed Predator overhead. They saw a number of “hot spots,” or infrared images, moving in their direction. Apparently believing that those “hot spots” were the enemy, they called in a Hellfire missile strike from the Predator.

 

April 11, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Friendly Fire | , , , | Leave a comment