From Black Gold to the Deep Blue Sea

One small step for regulation, one large step for those looking for security jobs in the maritime sector. The Baltic and International Marine Council (BIMCO) announced Feb. 7 that work on the drafting of an industry standard contract for the employment of security guards on ships has now reached phase two of its development.

The GUARDCON Sub-committee has completed its initial drafting of the contract and has now entered into a consultation process with private maritime security companies and marine underwriters.

Meanwhile, a recent study by the One Earth Future Foundation.found that Somali piracy in the Indian Ocean costs the global economy some $7 billion a year, with ships forced to travel faster over longer routes and increasingly hire armed security guards.

According to the Financial Times the industry pulls in $52.2m a month from an estimated 1,500 escorted journeys, according to the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, which represents 120 armed security outfits.

The study showed world governments spending at least $1.3 billion trying to
control the problem, a figure dwarfed by shipping industry costs estimated
at up to $5.5 billion.

Shippers also spent more than $1 billion on private security guards, often armed, a figure that was rising sharply. Half of all ships were carrying guards by the end of last year, against an average of 25 percent for the whole year.

Not to be snarky but that means the private security companies that combat the pirates were earning much more than the pirates themselves.

Meanwhile, another sector those looking for security jobs is the energy field. According to one extraordinarily high priced research report:

Over the next decade, global demand for oil & gas is set to rapidly increase as rising populations and economic growth help to drive the industry. This will create a need for additional oil & gas infrastructure to be constructed. At the same time, many countries around the world are currently facing a number of security challenges stemming from civil unrest, terrorist activities, and a competitive global market. Together, these factors will create substantial opportunities for companies involved in the oil & gas infrastructure security market as a range of products and services will be needed to protect both existing and future assets. Visiongain calculates the global oil & gas infrastructure security market will reach $29.16bn in 2012.

Although the full report is beyond our budgetary reach the online summary does list a few of the leading security players. These include such companies as Aegis Defence Services Limited, Andrews International, Control Risks, G4S, GardaWorld, and Triple Canopy, So, if guarding hydrocarbon infrastructure strikes your fancy you might try contacting them.

That was the good news.

The bad news is that over in Iraq the government wants to and wants to limit the operations of security firms. According to the Iraqi Parliament’s security and defense committee there are around 65 security companies, more than half of them Iraqi and the remainder foreign. The companies will not be banned completely, but the goal will be to reduce their number to the minimum. The committee has the right to ban any company that does not follow the rules.

Furthermore, the Washington Post reported that the State Department has asked each component of its mission in Iraq to analyze how a 25 percent cut would affect operations.

The State Department pushed back but Thomas Nides, deputy secretary of State for management and resources, did say that “quite frankly, I am hopeful that over the next few months we will be able to reduce our size by reducing our dependency on contractors…. We owe it to the taxpayers.”

Finally, for those looking for jobs in Afghanistan,  the February 11 New York Times reported that more civilian contractors working for American companies than American soldiers died in Afghanistan last year for the first time during the war.

American employers here are under no obligation to publicly report the deaths of their employees and frequently do not. While the military announces the names of all its war dead, private companies routinely notify only family members. Most of the contractors die unheralded and uncounted — and in some cases, leave their survivors uncompensated.

“By continuing to outsource high-risk jobs that were previously performed by soldiers, the military, in effect, is privatizing the ultimate sacrifice,” said Steven L. Schooner, a law professor at George Washington University who has studied the civilian casualties issue.

Last year, at least 430 employees of American contractors were reported killed in Afghanistan: 386 working for the Defense Department, 43 for the United States Agency for International Development and one for the State Department, according to data provided by the American Embassy in Kabul and publicly available in part from the United States Department of Labor

The Mexican Market


There was good and bad news the past week for those seeking security jobs. The good news was that new markets are emerging. The bad news was various stories reminding us of how challenging and dangerous the work can be. In case anybody doesn’t already have this imprinted on their brain, be careful out there.

Good news first: if anyone out there reading this is in Texas we suggest you read the Jan. 19 Austin American-Statesman article about how Some private security companies in Austin and across Texas have begun tapping into a burgeoning demand: personal protection services for wealthy Mexican citizens visiting the United States.

While the demand for these services are miniscule compared to what Mexicans spend back in Mexico it is enough to attract notice. Companies such as Professional Bodyguards LLC, which has offices in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio and of BlackStone Group Security in Austin, Reynolds Protection based in Dallas .are among those tapping into this market

And, if you are in Mexico there is a very big market for bodyguards. The Tuscon Sentinel reports that during the five years since President Felipe Calderón took power and declared war on drug cartels, Mexico has been shaken by 47,000 drug-related murders as well as rocketing levels of kidnapping and extortion.

In the same period, Mexico’s biggest security firm, Multisistemas de Seguridad Industrial, says it has grown by 70 percent. Those looking for armed security jobs take note: it now has an army of more than 10,000 private security guards — including many former soldiers — who are licensed to carry guns to protect the company’s 2,500 Mexican clients. Many foreigners, including Hollywood stars, diplomats and businessman, also hire entourages of bodyguards when they traipse around Mexico.

The Washington Post reported that U.S. security contractors are looking for new security jobs in Mexico.

DynCorp International has job openings in Mexico for aviation instructors and mechanics. The consulting firm Kroll hires anti-kidnapping specialists to protect Mexican business executives. MPRI is training Mexican soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques.

The companies are beckoned by swelling pots of public and private contracting gold. In November, the Pentagon’s counter-narco-terrorism program office solicited bids on more than $3 billion in contracts worldwide, with an unspecified amount destined for operations in Mexico. The State Department has pledged nearly $2 billion in drug war aid to Mexico since 2008, much of it available to U.S. companies that can provide equipment or services to the embattled Mexican government.

There are no precise figures on the number of U.S. security contractors working in Mexico, but the Pentagon and the State Department spent $635.8 million on counternarcotics contracts in Latin America in 2009, a 32 percent increase from 2005, according to a Congressional analysis prepared last year.

On the bad news front Todd Walker, a contractor, working for killed in AAR Airlift was killed  in a helicopter crash in Hemland Province, Afghanistan.

McClatchey newspapers reports that Warren Weinstein, the Pakistan country manager for J.E. Austin Associates, a contractor for the US Agency for International Development, who was kidnapped in August from his home in Lahore, Pakistan, is in the custody of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants in North Waziristan. Militants and security analysts said retired Pakistani militant commanders were acting as interlocutors to negotiate Weinstein’s release, but they predicted a drawn-out process that could take years.

On the legal front KBR will not face a federal lawsuit over civilian truck drivers killed in Iraq, the 5th Circuit ruled.

Steven Fisher and Timothy Bell were killed on April 9, 2004, during an  insurgent attack on their military supply convoy. Their families filed suit and claimed said that KBR knew its convoys were particularly vulnerable to attack on April 9, 2004, the one-year anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.

Despite this knowledge, the complaint says KBR intentionally misled the drivers about their safety during recruiting and orientation activities.

But the appellate court ruled that the Defense Base Act prevents a fraud claim for a covered injury.

“It is a generally accepted proposition of workers’ compensation law that an employer’s deceit that precedes and helps produce an otherwise compensable injury merges into that injury for purposes of compensation coverage,” she wrote.

So, if your employer lies to you about how safe a mission is and you get killed your family can’t do anything. It seems KBR was MIA when it came to the course on ethical corporate conduct.

Where the Jobs Will Be

Some recent contract awards may be sources of work for those looking for overseas security contracting jobs. UPI reported that advanced training technologies for U.S. Special Operations Forces are to be supplied by CACI International under a $22 million task order. The award, issued under the Global Battlestaff Program Support contract, is for one base year of performance with four one-year options.

Under the award, CACI will support the U.S. Special Operations Forces Planning, Rehearsal and Execution Preparation efforts by supplying advanced modeling and simulation data for fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.

For those with mechanical skills ManTech International Corporation was awarded a contract modification by the U.S. Army’s TACOM Contracting Center to continue providing logistics sustainment and support for the U.S. Military’s MRAP. The award is valued at $100.8 million for the initial two month period of performance and includes eight additional one-month options valued at $406 million if all options are exercised, for a total award value of $506.8 million.

Under this contract ManTech provides rapid assessment and repair of battle-damaged MRAP FoV systems, immediate repair of mechanical failures, and technology insertion, system integration, Work is being performed in Afghanistan, Kuwait and at locations throughout the U.S. and OCONUS as required.

Also, on Jan. 11, CACI announced that it has been awarded one of six prime positions on the Defense Language Interpretation Translation Enterprise (DLITE) contract to support the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). The DLITE contract is a key element of INSCOM’s mission and calls for staff assistance for more than 28 mission-critical languages in support of the Department of Defense.

With this new work, CACI will provide translation and interpretation services for personnel. In addition, the company will provide equipment, supplies, facilities, transportation, tools, materials, supervision, and other non-personal services. This indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity award has a ceiling value of $9.7 billion and a period of performance of five years.

Another company to target for those seeking security jobs is DynCorp. Washington Business Journal reported that on the heels of reporting 11 percent growth during the third quarter, DynCorp International Inc. announced that it hired 12,300 workers in 2011 to support government programs — more than 10 percent of which came from the Washington area.

The hiring surge sets a new record for the Falls Church-based contractor, which now counts 27,000 employees, 400 in the region. More than 800 local people were hired during 2011, but the majority of them are now supporting overseas programs primarily for the departments of State and Defense.

Finally, the private intelligence firm Stratfor released a recent analysis on maritime piracy that noted a new development; the use of private navies with armed guards protecting ships transiting the Gulf of Aden. If you are looking for an armed security job note that Convoy Escort Programme Ltd., the world’s first private navy to protect merchant ships from Somali pirates, intends to deploy seven armored former naval patrol boats, each with an eight-man security team. Convoy Escort reportedly will charge about $30,000 for a boat traveling in a convoy of about four commercial vessels for three to four days — cheaper than the minimum $56,000 charged for private armed contractors on board vessels.

Perils of Afghanistan and Potential of Iraq

Afghanistan is a dangerous place and not just because of the Taliban. The media reported that an investigation into the March 2011 death of Army Spc. Rudy A. Acosta of Santa Clarita and the rogue private security firm recruit who killed him was completed by the United States military eight months ago but never sent to Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee who demanded the probe.

On April 14, just 26 days after it was ordered, the shooting probe done by an appointed U.S. Army investigator – detailing interviews, identifying problems and listing recommendations about the recruiting done by private contractors was complete. However, the first McKeon heard about the report findings was December 19.

For our purposes the most “significant” of the report’s findings, was that Afghan national Shia Ahmed, who killed Spc. Acosta – recruited by private military contractor Tundra just 10 days before the killings – had been fired from the very same firm a year earlier for threatening to kill American soldiers.

Shia Ahmed had expressed intentions to target U.S. soldiers in July 2010 at FOB Blackhawk (Spin Boldak) and was subsequently fired by his first line supervisor.

“However, Tundra failed to ensure his files were updated to reflect that he should not be hired again,” the investigator wrote.

Obviously Tundra’s vetting procedures left everything to be desired. Those seeking security jobs in Afghanistan should take note.

Speaking of companies with problems it was reported recently that a private security guard in Iraq says in a class action suit that his employer SOC Nevada made its employees work up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, in “ultrahazardous conditions” without overtime pay or breaks.

“SOC’s core mission changed from ‘Securing Our Country’ to ‘Lining Its Pockets’ when it began to recruit employees … under false promises of a fixed salary and scheduled with time off,” lead plaintiff Karl Risinger says in the complaint in Clark County Court.

Meanwhile those looking for jobs in Iraq should take heed of a recent analysis by the It notes:

When considering the 5,000 security contractors, it is important to remember that there are two different classes of contractors who work under separate contracts (there are contracts for perimeter guards and personal security details in Baghdad as well as for security personnel at the consulates in Basra, Erbil and Kirkuk). The vast majority of security contractors are third-country nationals who are responsible for providing perimeter security for the embassy and consulates. The second, smaller group of contract security guards (from 500 to 700, many of whom are Americans) is responsible for providing personal security to diplomats, aid workers and other embassy or consulate personnel when they leave the compound. A parallel team of OS [CIA Office of Security] contract security officers, funded under the CIA’s budget, provides security for CIA officers when they leave the compound.

Also note that the State Department will, finally, be taking oversight seriously; at least far more so than it has done in the past. In Iraq, a team of some 200 DSS special agents now oversees U.S. security operations; that is one tenth of all DSS staffers. By contrast, a typical U.S. Embassy has two or three DSS special agents assigned to it). For those working security jobs don’t plan on being able to do any more vodka butt shot parties.

It is also worth remembering, as Stratfor points out, that despite all the high profile publicity now being given to State Department use of contractors in Iraq, that the “DSS has used contract security guards to provide local guard services on the perimeter of almost every U.S. embassy and consulate in the world for decades. Even small embassies have dozens of contract guards who provide 24/7 perimeter security.” For those looking for overseas security contracting jobs please remember that there are a lot of private security jobs out there aside from Iraq.

Finally, do you like the job of working a job over in Bahrain, Greece or Jordan or other overseas locations?  L-3 Communications recently announced that its Link Simulation & Training (L-3 Link) division has won a re-competition for the U.S. Air Force’s F-16 Training System. Under an existing F-16 contract, L-3 Link is currently supporting 183 F-16 pilot and maintenance trainers. With this new award, it will provide uninterrupted support to these training devices when the F-16 ATD contract expires in December 2011 and the F-16 Training System contract begins in January 2012. L-3 Link is now overseeing all F-16 training systems support for the U.S. Air Force around the world and F-16 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) countries, including Bahrain, Greece and Jordan.

The New and Improved Security Jobs Exchange

We are proud to launch the new and improved Security Jobs Exchange.  Over the past months we received some great feedback from our jobs board users and that feedback is driving improvements.  What started out as a way to help a few friends and colleagues stay current in their security professional careers has turned into something a little bigger. We’ve been working to bring anyone interested a professional, consolidated site for security related jobs openings and other career related services. We want to continue doing that and manage growth at the same time. Here are some of things you’ve told us you want:

  • More security related jobs
  • Additional help getting your resume/CV in front of employers
  • A more user-friendly way to create a profile
  • More job alerts
  • A better way to subscribe to job feeds
  • More descriptive job categories
  • A way to “save” jobs you like and come back to them later
  • Faster loading job pages

We think we’ve answered the mail. Starting today you will see a new “look and feel” to the jobs board. That’s because we using a new, more robust technology. Our jobs board is now its own web site and although still closely connected to it is no longer embedded in it.

Check it out, find a job and advance your career!

You will find the new jobs board at:





After Congress, Grayson returns to whistleblower suits

— posted by Mark Schlueb on August, 29 2011 6:07 PM

Former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson made a name for himself before he went to Congress by suing defense contractors for what he labels war profiteering.

Now that he lost his seat representing Florida’s 8th Congressional District, Grayson has returned to that work.

Federal whistleblower law allows private citizens to sue on behalf of the federal government and collect a portion of any money collected. Representing whistleblower clients Drew Halldorson and Brian Evancho, Grayson sued DynCorp International LLC and The Sandi Group (TSG), claiming the contractors had ripped off the government for work in Iraq.

Congressman Tierney to Introduce Legislation on Commission on Wartime Contracting Recommendation

Congressman Tierney to Introduce Legislation on Commission on Wartime Contracting Recommendation

August 31, 2011

Attention: open in a new window. Washington D.C. – Congressman John Tierney, Ranking Member of the National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations Oversight Subcommittee, announced legislation to create a permanent inspector general for contingency operations starting with Iraq and Afghanistan. Tierney urged congressional leaders to swiftly pass this legislation in light of the new report released today by the Commission on Wartime Contracting, which indicates that at least one in every six dollars of U.S. spending for contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, or more than $30 billion, has been wasted. Congressman Tierney was one of the leaders who helped establish the Commission in 2008 to investigate precisely this type of wasteful government spending.

“The Commission on Wartime Contracting’s conclusions are alarming, and its recommendations must be taken seriously by Congress. In that regard, I plan to introduce legislation next week that reflects one of the Commission’s strategic recommendations to create a permanent inspector general for contingency operations. It is clear that we need to have systems in place to audit and monitor how US taxpayer dollars are being spent as soon as the U.S. puts troops on the ground and to enhance prospects for the future safety of our troops. The kind of waste we have witnessed in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be repeated,” Congressman Tierney said.

McCaskill Statement on Wartime Contracting Commission report

McCaskill Statement on Wartime Contracting Commission report

 August 30, 2011

“It is shocking that the Commission found such rampant waste, fraud, and abuse in government contracting. It is disgusting to think that nearly a third of the billions and billions we spent on contracting was wasted or used for fraud. This modern-day Truman Committee gets to the bottom of some of the worst abuses of American tax dollars and has succeeded in capturing the scope of contracting failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. It offers a roadmap for bringing accountability to government contracts and rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars. I applaud the Commission for their thorough, comprehensive, and bipartisan review and I plan to begin working immediately to implement their recommendations. We cannot repeat these mistakes The American people deserve better.”

Former Qaddafi Mercenaries Describe Fighting in Libyan War

Former Qaddafi Mercenaries Describe Fighting in Libyan War

By Peter Gwin Aug 31 2011, 8:26 AM ET
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of ethnic Tuaregs left Mali to fight for Muammar Qaddafi. Now, some are returning home to tell their story

gwin aug31 p.jpg

Tuareg mercenaries, like the above pictured Niger-based fighters, have been reported fighting for Qaddafi in Libya / Reuters

TIMBUKTU, Mali — Last month at a guesthouse within sight of the rolling dunes of the open Sahara, I sat down to await one of Muammar Qaddafi’s mercenaries. Through an intermediary he agreed to meet and explain why the Tuareg — an ancient Saharan people who inhabit large desert swathes of Libya, Mali, Niger, and Algeria — would help the Libyan leader crush the democracy protests — including unarmed civilians, women, and children — and eventually join in all-out war against the ensuing rebellion

I learned about him when a Tuareg elder told me that in recent weeks more than 200 Tuareg fighters had returned from Libya to Timbuktu and the surrounding villages. He said that hundreds more had returned to other towns in eastern Mali. Local leaders were worried, he said, that these men could be the leading edge of a large wave of mercenaries returning from the fighting in Libya and that they could set a match to northern Mali’s own brittle mixture of ethnic rivalries.
“We would kill three or four in the front of the crowd and they all ran away”


Military Spending Waste: Up To $60 Billion In Iraq, Afghanistan War Funds Lost To Poor Planning, Oversight, Fraud

Military Spending Waste: Up To $60 Billion In Iraq, Afghanistan War Funds Lost To Poor Planning, Oversight, Fraud

Defense Spending Wasted

RICHARD LARDNER   08/30/11 06:57 PM ET

WASHINGTON — As much as $60 billion in U.S. funds has been lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade through lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and payoffs to warlords and insurgents, an independent panel investigating U.S. wartime spending estimates.

In its final report to Congress, the Commission on Wartime Contracting said the figure could grow as U.S. support for reconstruction projects and programs wanes, leaving both countries to bear the long-term costs of sustaining the schools, medical clinics, barracks, roads and power plants already built with American tax dollars.