The Danger Zone

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An Inside Look at Training the U.S. Special Forces

Maintaining success in any job can be challenging if you’re not supported by the right team, but for highly-skilled military units tasked to protect the nation, it’s especially essential.

The United States Special Operations Forces (SOF) play a significant role in the U.S. military and its personnel are often placed in dangerous situations while performing combatant command operations. Fortunately, these warriors have the backing and expertise of KBR’s human performance team, a group of specialists focused on optimizing SOFs mental and physical health.

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BACKGROUND: This report provides Department of Defense (DoD) contractor personnel numbers for 2nd 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 2nd quarter FY20, USCENTCOM reported approximately 52,142 contractor personnel supporting DoD in the USCENTCOM AOR, an increase of approximately 1,678 from the previous quarter.

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PMC, women

Lack of clarity about the application of international law norms and inadequacies of existing regulatory regimes covering private military and security companies have reinforced concerns about transparency and accountability in respect of gender-related violence, harassment and discrimination. This chapter focuses on the main issues and legal concerns raised by the impact of the privatisation of war on women, both as PMSC employees and civilians. Part I highlights how armed conflict, civil unrest, occupation and transition have a detrimental effect upon the lives of women with particular reference to safety, displacement, health and economic disadvantage. Part II provides a summary of existing international humanitarian law and human rights provisions relating to women. Part III examines recent developments within the United Nations, the work of the ICRC, and international criminal law jurisprudence shaping these legal norms. Part IV considers the key recommendations of recent international and international initiatives covering PMSCs and women.

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For a moment, I felt what it is to be an American civilian contractor in Iraq.

About a hundred yards into Iraq, we stopped to pick up weapons. A half dozen Kurds in white Citroëns met us in a trash-strewn lot just over the border from Kuwait. They were unloading the guns onto the trunk of one of their cars as we pulled up. The pile amounted to a small armory: German MP5 submachine guns, AK-47s newly liberated from the Iraqi army, 9mm Beretta pistols, and dozens of magazines of ammunition.

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DOD — Today the Department of Defense provided to the Congress the semiannual report, “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan,” covering events during the period of June 1 to November 30, 2019.

The report was submitted in accordance with requirements from the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, as well as subsequent amendments.

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Private Military 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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In 2016, one in four United States armed personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan was a private contractor. This means that the war is already being outsourced, yet scholars, the media, and the general public know almost nothing about it.

The debate on privatizing the war in Afghanistan is heating up yet again, with Democratic lawmakers pledging to end so-called "forever wars." The public is slowly recognizing the war's hidden costs and global scale.

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NY TIMES has reported the United States has been quietly reducing its troop strength in Afghanistan despite the lack of a peace deal with the Taliban, weakening its hand in any future negotiations with the insurgents.

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executive outcomes

executive outcomes

Executive Outcomes is regarded as the leading proponent that effectively established Private Military Companies (PMCs) as an industry. Executive Outcomes was founded in 1989 by veterans of the South African Defense Force and registered in Britain in 1993. Executive Outcomes was nothing less than the world’s greatest corporate army that conducted direct combat operations on a sustained basis. On 01 January 1999, Executive Outcomes abruptly ceased operations after an extraordinary decade of diverse and controversial military actions across the African continent.

Executive Outcomes, the mercenary firm based in Pretoria, South Africa, and manned mostly by former members of the South African Defense Force, had proven to be a decisive factor in the outcome of some civil wars in Africa. Involved in forcing rebels to the negotiating table in Sierra Leone and more well-known for contributing to the Angolan government's success in forcing UNITA to accept the Lusaka Protocol in 1994, Executive Outcomes reportedly had a web of influence in Uganda, Botswana, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Lesotho and South Africa.

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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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