Chinks in PMSC Armour?

Chinks in PMSC Armour?

Published on August 29, 2014 by

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The collapse of GoAGT has led to renewed scrutiny of the marsec industry. 

Chinks Appear in the Maritime Security Armour

An Op-Ed piece by Simon Biggs, ASKET Ltd.

Recently, we have seen the catastrophic failure of several larger and seemingly more robust private maritime security companies (PMSCs). PMSCs that have continued to promote their reliability and professionalism up until the day they collapsed, they will certainly not be the last as the industry goes through its greatest test to date. Continue reading

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The Expanding World of Poverty Capitalism

In Orange County, Calif., the probation department’s “supervised electronic confinement program,” which monitors the movements of low-risk offenders, has been outsourced to a private company, Sentinel Offender Services. The company, by its own account, oversees case management, including breath alcohol and drug-testing services, “all at no cost to county taxpayers.”

Sentinel makes its money by getting the offenders on probation to pay for the company’s services. Charges can range from $35 to $100 a month.

The company boasts of having contracts with more than 200 government agencies, and it takes pride in the “development of offender funded programs where any of our services can be provided at no cost to the agency.”

Sentinel is a part of the expanding universe of poverty capitalism. In this unique sector of the economy, costs of essential government services are shifted to the poor. Continue reading

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Chairman’s Column – a note from Erik Prince

Africa Monitor


fsgteam | August 28, 2014

Chairman’s Column – a note from Erik Prince

Eni and Repsol have evacuated expatriates from Libya in the face of escalating violence in Tripoli, on the heels of Total pulling out its foreign staff as the worst fighting in six months rocked the capital. Ten Chinese construction works kidnapped by Boko Haram in Cameroon in May are still being held in captivity. Attacks by al-Shabaab along Kenya’s coast have left at least 60 dead, and the violence shows no signs of slowing.

The litany of challenges literally overwhelms the daily newscast: from civil wars uncorked by departed past dictators to strife caused by religious extremism, corruption and just plain criminal gangsters.  Africa is a continent that is undoubtedly on the rise, and the opportunities that exist to invest in frontier projects are unparalleled. But the economic transformation underway and the influx of foreign capital are affecting political landscapes across the continent, unleashing seismic geopolitical changes. Countries like Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, Kenya, Libya, and others are grappling with unresolved issues of inequality, marginalization, radicalization, and power-sharing that have simmered and remained relatively dormant—until now. From al-Shabaab in the East to Boko Haram in the West, foreign companies and African governments alike are dealing with increasingly complex security environments. Many of these African governments, from Cameroon to Mali to South Sudan, are working hard to continually attract much-needed investment into their burgeoning economies, but the daunting security challenges they face are at times beyond their limited capacity to effectively address.

I fundamentally believe in the nexus between economic development, peace and stability, and security. They are inextricably intertwined: you cannot have sustainable economic development without a stable, secure environment, and sustainable economic development in turn reinforces stability and long-term prospects for peace within a country.  The majority of human beings want the dignity of a job, not to be a dependent on aid. Violence and instability have robbed many individuals in the fragile states in Africa of that dignity, reducing them to a dependency that becomes institutionalized and traps them in a future with little opportunity, which breeds resentment and fuels the conditions for extremism that is on the rise in the Sahel and Magreb. These fragile countries in Africa have been historically trapped in a vicious cycle of instability and poverty. Corruption and despair give way to an embrace of radicalism brutality.  Giving investors the confidence to break that cycle to the mutual benefit of both their corporate profitability and the socioeconomic development of their host country has been difficult.

Underdeveloped countries are hindered by a lack of necessary infrastructure, transport, and logistics that enable them to not only provide adequate state services but also the kind of supply chain networks and market access companies need to flourish. The infrastructure and logistics in countries like South Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Nigeria, and others are often unreliable, inadequate, and at times prohibitively expensive. Unless companies can function with the knowledge their assets, operations, and most importantly, personnel, are safe in volatile areas, it becomes difficult to encourage them to be frontier investors in a region. As it exists right now, there are severe gaps in the provision of these kinds of expeditionary logistics solutions that can serve governments, companies, and NGOs in Africa.

FSG was created to be that missing link. It was created to provide a self-supporting ecosystem of services that create the necessary pre-conditions for success in Africa.  An expeditionary construction and engineering division that can build anything from roads to ports to airstrips in even the most inaccessible, remote terrains. A safety and security team that provides, among other services, aeromedical evacuations, contingency planning, evacuation and employee field training so personnel and assets can operate safely.  A logistics division that uses innovative technologies and operational models tailored to the supply chain challenges of the region to ensure an efficient flow of goods and provision of services. And an aviation division that provides professional transport solutions, enabling the movement of people and assets to anywhere on the continent. We endeavor to be the first into an area and the last to leave. We don’t aspire to be the low cost provider, but ultimately the low risk provider. The most reliable partner a customer can expend upon.

All of this is done with a deep, nuanced understanding of the geopolitical landscape in which we operate. Our research team closely monitors the security and political situation in our areas of operation and the impact of global security events on those areas, and that awareness and analysis informs our understanding of the risks and opportunities that exist in these rapidly evolving, complex environments. The FSG Africa Monitor (www.fsgroup.com/africamonitor) serves as an information-sharing platform curating news and commentary about the continent and providing proprietary analyses via our bi-weekly reports. These reports will not only be a source of news, but aim to ignite a dialogue between the leaders of FSG and other thought-leaders in the private and public space working on these multi-faceted challenges. I encourage you to sign up for the Africa Monitor to be part of the conversation and learn more about my company’s activities across the continent. Going forward, I will inform you through these reports of my ongoing understandings and views on critical developments in the security field.

 

Erik Prince

August 5, 2014

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Blackwater trial: Defense attorney says Iraqi police ‘scrubbed scene’

Blackwater trial: Defense attorney says Iraqi police ‘scrubbed scene’

 

This June 11, 2014, file photo shows former Blackwater Worldwide guard Nicholas Slatten leaving federal court in Washington after the start of his first-degree murder trial. Slatten and three other Blackwater Worldwide guards are on trial for the killing of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 18 others in Nisoor Square in Baghdad, bloodshed that inflamed anti-American sentiment around the globe.
Cliff Owen/AP
By Pete Yost

The Associated Press
Published: August 28, 2014
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This Sept. 25, 2007 file photo shows an Iraqi traffic policeman inspects a car destroyed by a Blackwater security detail in al-Nisoor Square in Baghdad, Iraq. After years of delays, four former guards from the security firm Blackwater Worldwide are facing trial in the killings of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 18 others in bloodshed that inflamed anti-American sentiment around the globe. Whether the shootings were self-defense or an unprovoked attack, the carnage of Sept. 16, 2007 was seen by critics of the George W. Bush administration as an illustration of a war gone horribly wrong. A trial in the nearly 7-year-old case is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Wednesday, barring last-minute legal developments.
Khalid Mohammed/AP

WASHINGTON — A defense attorney told a federal jury Wednesday that Iraqi national police removed evidence that would prove Blackwater security guards were being fired on by insurgents, prompting the guards to return fire in shootings that killed or wounded over 30 Iraqi civilians. Continue reading

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Is America’s Second Contractors’ War Drawing Near?

Is America’s Second Contractors’ War Drawing Near?

Invisible Soldiers: How America Outsourced Our Security
Invisible Soldiers: How America Outsourced Our Security Courtesy Simon & Schuster

Four years ago this Sunday, President Barack Obama declared the end of the Iraq war. So much of that fight and our current involvement in the Middle East is carried out by a privatized military. Here’s why that matters Continue reading

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Bashir Najib National Transportation Services

Bashir Najib National Transportation Services

B-408308.21: Aug 20, 2014

View Decision (PDF, 6 pages)

Contact:

Ralph O. White
(202) 512-8278
WhiteRO@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Bashir Najib National Transportation Services (BNN), of Kabul, Afghanistan, protests the U.S. Transportation Command’s (USTRANSCOM) award of multiple contracts pursuant to request for proposals (RFP) No. HTC711-13-R-R002, for commercial trucking services in Afghanistan. BNN protests that the agency did not evaluate proposals using a “plug” number for certain security services, and that the agency improperly failed to provide BNN an opportunity to lower its pricing to account for changes in security costs.

We dismiss the protest. Continue reading

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East Silk Route Logistics, LLC

East Silk Route Logistics, LLC

B-408308.22: Aug 18, 2014

View Decision (PDF, 8 pages)

Contact:

Ralph O. White
(202) 512-8278
WhiteRO@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

East Silk Route Logistics, LLC (ESR), of Kabul, Afghanistan, protests the U.S. Transportation Command’s (USTRANSCOM) award of multiple contracts pursuant to request for proposals (RFP) No. HTC711-13-R-R002, for commercial trucking services in Afghanistan. ESR asserts that the agency failed to properly perform a price realism evaluation in connection with the contract awards.

We deny the protest. Continue reading

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New Hagedorn book should stir national debate


New Hagedorn book should stir national debate

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Historians years from now might praise Ann Hagedorn, a Denison University alum, whose latest book, “The Invisible Soldiers,” comes out in September. And they might wonder how she got started. Continue reading

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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Got Help From Actual Pentagon Military Adviser

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Got Help From Actual Pentagon Military Adviser

Plus, Hurt Locker writer and Kill Bin Laden author also gave advice to Sledgehammer Games for the upcoming shooter.

 

In a bid to create a more authentic experience, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games sought out advice from experts in numerous fields. One such expert was a “scenario planner” from the United States Department of Defense, studio co-founder Michael Condrey told The Guardian in a story about the game published today.

“Three years ago, right after we finished Modern Warfare 3, we started thinking about how to change Call of Duty,” Condrey said. “We brought in a lot of outside help–military advisers, futurologists–we got together with a scenario planner from the Department of Defense, who is active in the Pentagon. His job is to think about future threats and prepare ‘what if’ scenarios for the US government. So we asked him, what do you think will be the conflict of tomorrow?”

Conflicts immediately ruled out by this source were China, a revival of the Cold War with Russia, and a consolidation of Islamic extremist states, Condrey said. This defense adviser, instead, said a cash-rich private military company could be the next major threat to the security of the United States. This is the theme Sledgehammer Games eventually went with for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Continue reading

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Behind the Blackwater Trial

Behind the Blackwater Trial

BY Quynhanh Do | Aug. 27, 2014 | 2:27

A look at why the case of four Blackwater guards, accused of murdering 17 Iraqis in Nisour Square on Sept. 16, 2007, has taken so long to reach the courtroom.

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