The Danger Zone

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PMC

PMC

Civilian contractors have frequently played an important role in American military operations. George Washington hired civilians to haul the Continental Army's equipment; supply vendors followed the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War.

Indeed, today's military recognizes the use of civilian contractors as a force multiplier in stabilization efforts. Although sometimes expensive, contractors are capable of supplying immediate expertise and manpower much more rapidly than the military can grow subject matter experts.

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Leaving Afghanistan Will Be More Expensive Than Anyone Expects

Penalties for broken contracts, fees for shipping equipment, and salaries for the Afghan military are just a few of the costs that will hit the United States as it leaves.

U.S. President Joe Biden has announced the full withdrawal of U.S. and coalition forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 this year. This policy has some in Washington banking on a windfall of freed-up money for other defense priorities.

Don’t count on it.

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Afghanistan

Afghanistan

The departure of thousands of U.S. defense contractors from Afghanistan by May 1 - set by a deal last year with the Taliban – may be “more devastating” to Afghan forces than an American troop pullout, a U.S. government watchdog warned on Wednesday.

The assessment by John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), came as the Biden administration presses the Taliban and Kabul to consider a proposed peace accord and reviews the February 2020 agreement amid surging violence.

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A volley of rockets targeting an airbase in Iraq's Kurdistan region late on Monday killed a foreign civilian contractor and wounded five others and a US soldier, the US-led coalition said.
The attack was the first time Western military or diplomatic installations have been targeted in Iraq in nearly two months, after a string of such incidents.

Under former US President Donald Trump, Washington had vowed that the killing of an American national in such a rocket attack would prompt a mass bombing campaign in Iraq, although Iraqi officials are unsure if the Biden administration would stick to the policy.

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us-contractor

us-contractor

BACKGROUND: This report provides Department of Defense (DoD) contractor personnel numbers for 1st quarter Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) and the current status of efforts underway to improve management of contractors accompanying the United States (U.S.) Forces. It includes data on DoD contractor personnel deployed in Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (OFS); Iraq and Syria, Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR); and the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR).

KEY POINTS: During 1st quarter FY21, USCENTCOM reported approximately 38,164 contractor personnel supporting DoD in the USCENTCOM AOR, a decrease of approximately 5,645 from the previous quarter.

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Professional Overseas Contractors

Professional Overseas Contractors

In September 2007, a convoy of armored vehicles carrying private security contractors employed by the firm then known as Blackwater USA approached a large traffic circle in Baghdad. Minutes later, 17 Iraqi civilians in that square were dead, and 24 others had been wounded.

The sentencing this month of four Blackwater guards in the attack — which included the slaying of a 9-year-old Iraqi boy and a young mother — has focused new attention on what can happen when armed contractors encounter civilian populations amid the haze of conflict. But by the time the guards confronted the crowd in Nisoor Square, and the bullets started flying, it may already have been too late to avert the tragedy.

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PMC

PMC

Jonathan Powell — Private military and security companies have been regular fixtures in conflicts across the globe. For Africa, these corporations became increasingly visible with their role in civil wars in Angola and Sierra Leone.

More recently, reports in 2015 indicated the Nigerian government contracted a number of companies to aid in counterinsurgency efforts targeting Boko Haram.

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LOGCAP-V

LOGCAP-V

By Ross Wilkers — Some transition and startup activities are going forward on the Army’s massive LOGCAP V global logistics program but the coronavirus pandemic continues to push back the timeline for being fully up and running.

Now that full operational capability is not expected until next year and the timeline for the transition itself is also being extended because of base access and border restrictions abroad, Vectrus CEO Chuck Prow said Wednesday during the company’s second-quarter earnings call.

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Afghanistan-camp

BACKGROUND: This report provides Department of Defense (DoD) contractor personnel numbers for 4th quarter Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) and current status of efforts underway to improve management of contractors accompanying United States (U.S.) Forces. It includes data on DoD contractor personnel deployed in Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (OFS); Iraq and Syria, Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR); and the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR).

KEY POINTS: During 4th quarter FY20, USCENTCOM reported approximately 43,809 contractor personnel supporting DoD in the USCENTCOM AOR, a decrease of approximately 5,128 from the previous quarter.

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Blackwater

Adam Gonzales was an Army infantryman who served in a long-range surveillance detachment for a brief time in 2003 before deciding to look at other opportunities. One arose in the form of a security job with the then-relatively unknown contracting firm Blackwater.

His journey took him from the Army to a Blackwater training facility in North Carolina. There, the one-time Army grunt had to compete against members of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, SEALs, Rangers and force recon Marines for a spot at Blackwater – and a $15,000 a month salary.

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