NGO Security: Find Your Career Niche

By Phil Dwyer

This past Sunday, March 18th, al Qaida militants gunned down a Pennsylvania-born development worker in Yemen.  Al Qaida claimed that Joel Shrum, who was teaching English at a language institute, was “proselytizing under the cover of teaching.”   In January of this year U.S. Special Forces parachuted into Somalia and rescued Jessie Buchanan and her Danish colleague from armed gunmen. In October, 2011, British aid worker Linda Norgrove was killed in Afghanistan in an attempt to rescue her from her captors. And recently there has been a significant uptick in instability and violent reactions in Afghanistan following events like the massacre of Afghanis by Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales on March the 11th.

Consider the implications to NGO security.

By the nature of their work, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) send staff into insecure environments, often times warzones—countries like Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and Iraq. Nearly every country in Africa has some level of development presence.  In the decades since 1990 the amount of international development activity has significantly increased due to major developments in technology, our ability to travel the world freely and events like the global war on terror.

From 2000 to 2008 the number of violent acts against, including the killing of, aid workers rose from 42 per year to 165, according to the 2011 Aid Worker Security Report.  Only in the last few years have those numbers begun to decline.  The total number of incidents reported in 2009 was 129.  One theory accounting for this recent decline are stepped up efforts of NGOs in areas of risk and security management.

These organizations now understand they need to spend money on security.  As the economy begins to recover from the downturn and world events continue to focus both media and public attention on deplorable conditions, the international development sector will continue to grow, and so will the amount of money spent on security.

So if you’re looking for a job in the security industry, I have a suggestion: NGO Security.

FIND YOUR NICHE

To remain a well-paid security professional means you need to stay “in-demand” in today’s job marketplace.  One great way to keep the demand up is to find a career niche and establish yourself in it.  Many security professionals are realizing the benefits of focusing in an area of the security industry and building their personal ‘brand’ as an expert in that niche.   Examples of niche security areas include maritime security, extractive security and VIP close protection.

To suggest that finding a niche and establishing yourself in it is easy or happens overnight is wrong; it will take time and dedicated effort.  You might have to say no to some contracts and hold out for others in order to amass a density of requisite expertise.

The point here is the niche strategy: find one and focus on it completely, the career payoff could be tremendous.

International NGOs (INGOs) address a wide range of social issues such as fighting hunger, relieving pain, and developing infrastructure and capacity in developing nations.  They seek money from donors to do this, and they compete to win projects funded by government agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

NGOs are often called ‘implementation partners’ because they are doing the work on the ground to advance the policy and strategy objectives of their donors. They’ll hire the young hippie chick who wants to save the world and send her somewhere that might be scary.  That organization has a ‘duty of care’ obligation to fulfill relative the hippie chick and that’s where security comes in.

NGO Security; What is it?

Armed security is only part of the answer, and only sometimes.  The way an NGO approaches risk and security management depends on many things, but most importantly it depends on money.  Security planning and implementation costs, there is no getting around them.

Generally speaking the security triangle model (Van Brabant, 2001) comprised of protection, deterrence and acceptance holds true in the NGO world.  On one side of the spectrum you have the large USAID implementation partners who can often afford to have in-house security departments that oversee contracts with private security contractors (PSCs) who provide deterrence in the NGO’s operating regions.  More often you have small NGOs with more modest budgets for security.  When they operate in non-secure regions they adopt the acceptance part of the triangle more openly and depend heavily on clear lines of communication with the beneficiary population to warn them of threats.

The real answer is that NGOs both large and small are finally spending money to develop their own operational security frameworks.  These frameworks are comprised of security policy, minimum operating security standards (MOSS), training, and standardized communication tools used to convey security relevant information such as alerts, specific threat analysis, etc.  This is the right approach to security and will help to further reduce security-related incidents.

Positioning Yourself: Security as an Enabler, Not a Constraint

There are a range of security related positions relevant to NGOs; from the organization’s Director of Security to a local, static security guard.  NGOs are like businesses in many ways, most of them want to grow and expand.  This means they need to view security as an enabler, not a constraint. They need that outlook to be at the foundation of their security platform and they needs security professionals who support that mindset.

The uncompromising mindset doesn’t work here: “No, we can’t go in that direction at all; it is far too dangerous and everybody has to be back in the residence by dusk, no questions asked.”  Ok, the situation might dictate that posture now, but for some in the security profession this mindset is the context for decision making all of the time.  This is not the mindset of the successful NGO security professional.

If you really want to be good in this niche you need to approach things differently.  Be always mindful of your ultimate charge; the safety and security of your client but be creative and offer alternatives. Don’t give the team a blanket “No”. Think outside the box and help them get to a “Yes”.  Figure out a way to use security to enable their core business and you’ll become the team’s rising star.

One type of security position within the NGO community that I see as influential is that of “Regional Security Advisor”.  Different organizations will call the job different things but the role is pivotal because it sits at the crossroads of policy and tactical implementation.  This is a security professional who makes things happen in the field within the context of the organization’s security framework.  This person, generally, has the following skills:

Hard

Soft

  • Qualified security and/or risk management background.  In many cases military experience is good here.
  • Specific, on-the-ground experience in the region which the position covers
  • Excellent written communication abilities.
  • Networker.  Can build or expand a network of contacts quickly and can do that
  • Patient enough to work with an organization who might view security negatively.
  • Level-headed enough to think quickly and rationally on their feet in sometimes dangerous situations
  • Consultative in nature viewing security as a business enabler

NGO Security Tomorrow; More Jobs

NGO security is a great niche to pay attention to now because it only gets bigger in the future.  If you’re a security professional who has overseas experience and even experience dealing with NGOs or USAID, you’re already headed in the right direction.  Another trend to keep in mind comes back to the major PSCs.  As current conflicts wind-down, or at least get smaller, these companies are going to be forced into areas like NGO security as larger contracts dwindle.  I see this happening now; major security contractors who aren’t already doing it are eyeing NGO security.

If they’re looking at it you should be too.  The real question is; will you be positioned to get these security jobs when they open up?

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

Image: washingtonpost.com

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 Stratfor.com. 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.

Looking for Contracting Work in Africa?

This week’s review of job opportunities starts with Africa; a region that is very appropriate to look at considering that today’s private security industry exists, in large part, due to the work of the legendary company, Executive Outcomes; the mother of all modern private security contractors.

An article published last week by the International Relations and Security Network noted that last June DynCorp International announced that it had been awarded a State Department contract to provide training to the military of theDemocratic Republic of the Congo. While details remain ambiguous, the contract does specify that the task order was issued by the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs, has a base time limit of one year with two additional option years and will focus on training junior to mid-level military personnel in functional areas such as communications, logistics and engineering.

As contracts go this is not a big one; the total potential revenue is $17.1 million if both option years are exercised. But the contract was awarded as a task order under the Africa Peacekeeping Program (AFRICAP) The AFRICAP program supports regional stability in Africa by building the capacity of African countries and regional organizations to prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts on the African continent. Thus, if DynCorp does reasonably well in implementing the contract, not a high bar to clear as performance metrics in the contracting world goes these days, it can expect other AFRICAP contracts.

Of course, job opportunities  in Africa are hardly new. In the past, in terms of AFRICAP contracts, both Pacific Architects and Engineering and DynCorp worked under aU.S. contract to provide logistical support to Africans engaged in peacekeeping in Darfur, Sudan. DynCorp also provided logistical support and training for peacekeepers in Liberia and Somalia.

Those interested in finding jobs in Africa should also check out companies like L-3’s MPRI and Northrop Grumman. In the past MPRI has provided training for the militaries of Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal under the State Department’s African Contingency Operations and Assistance Program, (formerly the African Crisis Response Initiative), and separately provided training and analysis to the South African military.

Meanwhile, for those who are Pakistani nationals an article in Danger Room details what are both a job opportunity and a dilemma.

The State Department recently announced it’s seeking local Pakistani guards to keep its diplomats safe at the embassy in Islamabad and consulates in Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar. Those guards will need to “deter potential terrorist attacks,” according to a contract pre-solicitation, by “restricting entry of unauthorized personnel, operation of walk-through metal detectors, and hand-held detectors.”

That’s the good news. The bad news is:

It’s disturbingly too easy to imagine Pakistani guards working with terror groups to give dangerous people access to a U.S. official or facility, both alluring targets. Pakistani troops whom the U.S. has funded and equipped for a decade, at a minimum, look the other way when insurgents fire rockets at U.S. troops across the border in Afghanistan. Hired Pakistani guards could just as easily ignore the trill of a hand-held metal detector. Or strap themselves with explosives.

What kind of background checks will those guards go through? It’ll be “conducted by the Contractor in accordance with Pakistan law,” the pre-solicitation announces. State’s trust-but-don’t-verify record doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Security contractors who’ve passed background checks have ended up holding frat-style parties on the job, engaging in extracurricular sex trafficking, snorting coke…. The list goes on and on.

State’s in a bind here. Hiring U.S. contractors to protect its diplomats carries risks. But so does hiring Pakistani guards. It’s almost like outsourcing security responsibilities is an inherently flawed concept.

Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

Libya: Gaddafi Out, Contractors In

While it is never going to reach the scale of Iraq and Afghanistan, Libya is a place to look for those seeking overseas security contracting jobs.

It turns out this was the case even before the fighting that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi was over. It was reported late last month that Gary Peters, a private security contractor and former soldier fromCanada admitted he helped Colonel Gaddafi’s son Saadi, for whom he was a longtime bodyguard, flee Libya last month, by driving him across Libya’s southern border to Niger, asTripoli was falling to anti-Gaddafi rebels. Peters is president of Can/Aus Security & Investigations International Inc. in Cambridge, Ontario.

More importantly, there is going to be a lot of pressure, from both Libyans themselves as well as foreign countries, to increase Libyan oil exports as quickly as possible.  That is going to mean security jobs and strengthening of the Libyan Workforce. If you remember what Erinys did in Iraq (see below) you get the idea.

Interestingly, a UK oil firm with links to the private-security sector is seeking a contract from Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) to provide security at oil installations.  That company, not surprisingly is Heritage Oil, headed by chief executive Tony Buckingham, a former SBS officer. Those who have been around a while will recall that Buckingham was also closely connected with Sandline International, the PSC that shut down in 2004, and the legendary Executive Outcomes.

Reportedly Heritage has had a presence in easternLibya since as early as April this year and one of its representatives was accompanied by John Holmes, a retired officer from theUK’s SAS.

Holmes is now a leading figure in theUK’s private-security sector. He was a director of Erinys International and continues to provide security services to oil and gas companies. He also founded another security company, Titon International.

Contractors are also going to be needed to help secure the stockpiles of weaponry – can you say MANPADS? -that were freed up from Gaddafi’s arsenals and are now considered to be a serious security threat, not only for Libya but for other countries as well.

The New York Times reported that the State Department is sending dozens of American contractors to Libya to help the new Libyan government track down and destroy heat-seeking antiaircraft missiles looted from government stockpiles that could be used against civilian airliners.

The security contractors, weapons and explosives specialists, are part of a growing $30 million American program to secure Libya’s conventional weapons arsenal, which were plundered during the fall of Gaddafi’s regime.

In fact, this effort goes back some months. In June it was reported that theUnited States was paying British and Swiss mine-clearing groups nearly $1 million to search for loose antiaircraft missiles inLibya and dispose of them, so they do not fall into the hands of terrorist groups.

As of mid-October the State Department had sent 14 unarmed civilian contractors, many with military experience, to be part of teams led by Libya’s Transitional National Council. An additional two to three dozen contractors are expected to join the effort over the coming weeks.

Reconstruction will also be a priority and planning for that has been going even when the war in Libya was still going on. Back in August it was reported that a recruitment campaign led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) sought to deploy a Country Representative and Deputy Country Representative to Libya, where vendors will work with the USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) within the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict,  and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA).

With all of that said keep your eyes open, follow the flow of money and find your next job!

Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

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 securitycontracting.net 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:

http://securitycontracting.net/network/securityjobs

 

 

 

 

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.