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Posts Tagged ‘Private Security Contractors’

Overseas Contractor Count – 4th Quarter FY 2012

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 27, 2012

Thanks to Danger Zone Jobs for this Post

This update reports DoD contractor personnel numbers in theater and outlines DoD efforts to improve management of contractors accompanying U.S. forces. It covers DoD contractor personnel deployed in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Iraq, and the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR).

In 4th quarter FY 2012, USCENTCOM reported approximately 137,000 contractor personnel working for the DoD in the USCENTCOM AOR. This total reflects no change from the previous quarter. The number of contractors outside of Afghanistan and Iraq make up about 13.7% of the total contractor population in the USCENTCOM AOR. A breakdown of DoD contractor personnel is provided below:

A breakdown of DoD contractor personnel is provided below:

DoD Contractor Personnel in the USCENTCOM AOR

Total Contractors U.S. Citizens Third Country Nationals Local & Host Country Nationals
Afghanistan Only 109, 564 31,814 39,480 38,270
Iraq Only* 9,000 2,314 4,621 2,065
Other USCENTCOM Locations 18,843 8,764 9,297 782
USCENTCOM AOR 137,407 42,892 53,398 41,117

*Includes DoD contractors supporting U.S. Mission Iraq and/or Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq

Afghanistan Summary

The distribution of contractors in Afghanistan by contracting activity are:

Theater Support – Afghanistan: 16,973 (15%)
LOGCAP: 40,551 (37%)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: 7,647 (7%)
Other:* 44,393 (41%)
Total: 113,736
*Includes Defense Logistics Agency, Army Materiel Command, Air Force External and Systems Support contracts, Special Operations Command and INSCOM.

OEF Contractor Posture Highlights:

There are currently approximately 109.5K DoD contractors in Afghanistan. The overall contractor footprint has decreased 3.7% from the 3rd quarter FY12.

The contractor to military ratio in Afghanistan is 1.13 to 1 (based on 84.2K military).

Local Nationals make up 34.9% of the DoD contracted workforce in Afghanistan.

Iraq Summary

Contractor Posture Highlights:

The total number of contractors supporting the U.S. Government in Iraq (DoD+DoS) is now approximately 13.5K, which meets the USG goal of reducing the contractor population at the end of FY 2012.

The Department of Defense and Department of State continue to refine the requirements for contract support. Some contractor personnel employed under DoD contracts are supporting State Department and other civilian activities under the Chief of Mission, Iraq. These DoD contractors are provided on a reimbursable basis.

General Data on DoD Private Security Contractor Personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan

USCENTCOM reports, as of 4th quarter FY 2012, the following distribution of private security contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq:

Total* U.S. Citizens Third Country National Local & Host Country National
DoD PSCs in Afghanistan 18,914 2,014 1,437 15,413
DoD PSCs in Iraq 2,116 102 1,873 191

*These numbers include most subcontractors and service contractors hired by prime contractors under DoD contracts. They include both armed and unarmed contractors. They do not include PSCs working under DoS and USAID contracts.

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Iraq | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Contractors in War Zones: Not Exactly “Contracting”

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 9, 2012

There are more contractors than troops in Afghanistan

Time’s Battleland  October 9, 2012 by David Isenberg

U.S. military forces may be out of Iraq, but the unsung and unrecognized part of America’s modern military establishment is still serving and sacrificing — the role played by private military and security contractors.

That their work is dangerous can be seen by looking at the headlines. Just last Thursday a car bomb hit a private security convoy in Baghdad, killing four people and wounding at least nine others.

That is hardly an isolated incident. According to the most recent Department of Labor statistics there were at least 121 civilian contractor deaths filed on in the third quarter of 2012. Of course, these included countries besides Iraq.

As the Defense Base Act Compensation blog notes, “these numbers are not an accurate accounting of Contractor Casualties as many injuries and deaths are not reported as Defense Base Act Claims. Also, many of these injuries will become deaths due to the Defense Base Act Insurance Companies denial of medical benefits.” To date, a total of 90,680 claims have been filed since September 1, 2001.

How many contractors are now serving on behalf of the U.S. government?

According to the most recent quarterly contractor census report issued by the U.S. Central Command, which includes both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as 18 other countries stretching from Egypt to Kazakhstan, there were approximately 137,000 contractors working for the Pentagon in its region. There were 113,376 in Afghanistan and 7,336 in Iraq. Of that total, 40,110 were U.S. citizens, 50,560 were local hires, and 46,231 were from neither the U.S. not the country in which they were working.

Put simply, there are more contractors than U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

These numbers, however, do not reflect the totality of contractors. For example, they do not include contractors working for the U.S. State Department. The CENTCOM report says that “of FY 2012, the USG contractor population in Iraq will be approximately 13.5K.  Roughly half of these contractors are employed under Department of State contracts.”

While most of the public now understands that contractors perform a lot of missions once done by troops – peeling potatoes, pulling security — they may not realize just how dependent on them the Pentagon has become.

Please read the entire post here

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Defense, Iraq, KBR, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Post-traumatic stress and the hired gun

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 1, 2012

What is not known is the impact among those who work in the armed private security sector

“There’s loads of loose cannons running around”

BBC Scotland  October 1, 2012

Former SAS soldier Bob Paxman – who served in Iraq as well as other hostile environments – is one of a growing number of former servicemen who say they have suffered with the mental health condition Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

After a number of years in the military, Paxman retrained as a private security contractor, on protection contracts in Africa and Iraq.

He says as a result of being constantly in a dangerous environment and witnessing colleagues being killed and maimed he was diagnosed with PTSD.

The stress disorder is thought to affect up to 20% of military personnel who have served in conflict zones, according to research published by the National Center for PTSD in the US.

What is not known is the impact among those who work in the armed private security sector, many of whom are drawn from the military.

Yet the condition, says Paxman, led to him having flashbacks and becoming violent and paranoid.

“I was a danger to the public, a danger to myself,” Paxman says.

“A danger to whoever was perceived as being the enemy.”

Please read the entire article here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Dropping the DBA Ball, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

At Least 59 Civilian Contractor Deaths Filed on in Second Quarter of 2012

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 3, 2012

See New Third Quarter Numbers HERE

WE ARE THE BEST KEPT SECRET OF THE WARS

According to the Department of Labor’s Defense Base Act Claim Summary Reports there were at least 59 Civilian Contractor Deaths filed on in the second quarter of 2012.

Keep in mind that these numbers are not an accurate accounting of Contractor Casualties as many injuries and deaths are not reported as Defense Base Act Claims. Also, many of these injuries will become deaths due to the Defense Base Act Insurance Companies denial of medical benefits.

Many foreign national and local national contractors and their families are never told that they are covered under the Defense Base Act and so not included in the count.

6 Contractor Deaths this quarter were in Iraq

42 Contractor Deaths  were in Afghanistan

1 Contractor Death is Nation Pending

1 Contractor Death  in the United States

1 Contractor Death in the  United Arab Emirates

2 Contractor Deaths in Qatar

1 Contractor Death in Columbia

1 Contractor Death in Pakistan

1 Contractor Death in Liberia

1 Contractor Death in Mozambique

1 Contractor Death in Tajikistan

At least 2, 685  Defense Base Act Claims were filed during this quarter

At least 59 were death claims

At least 1074 were for injuries requiring longer than 4 days off work

At least  92 were for injuries requiring less than 4 days off work

At least 1460were for injuries requiring no time off of work

A total of 87, 505  Defense Base Act Claims have been filed since September 1, 2001

Contact dbacasualty@yahoo.com for questions regarding these numbers

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Department of Labor, Iraq, Political Watch | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Consequences of Pursuit of Profit: All Protected by DBA’s Exclusive Remedy at the expense of the US taxpayer

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 7, 2012

That dispute led to the under-equipment and under-preparation of the security team on which the four Blackwater employees died.   Their deaths led the military to launch an invasion of Fallujah.

So here it is: A contract dispute led to a major development in a major war of the United States – and that is Paul’s point.

David Isenberg at PMC Observer

Reduced to its essentials every argument and debate about the use of private military and security contractors comes down to two words; outsourcing and privatization. The argument is simply whether they are good and bad.
Personally I think that, like most other things, the answer is maybe. Hey, if you want absolutes take up physics.

But lately, partly I suppose, in response to the predictable quadrennial Republican party blather about the glories of the free market – cue the inevitable segue into why America needs a purported businessman like Mitt Romney to “fix America” – my repressed academic side has been pondering the pitfalls of privatizing the battlefield.

Before going any further let me acknowledge the contribution and sacrifice of PMSC personnel. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never has so much depended on such an unacknowledged few.

That said, let’s turn to one of the iconic contractor moments of the U.S.involvement in Iraq; the killing of four Blackwater contractors in Fallujah in 2004.

Last year law professor Arthur J. Jacobson of Yeshiva University publishedan article in the  Cardozo Law Review.   The occasion was a symposium in honor of Paul R. Verkuil, who is on the Cardozolaw school faculty. Verkuil is author of the 2007 book Outsourcing Sovereignty: How Privatization of Government Functions Threatens Democracy And What We Can Do About It.

In his article, Outsourcing Incompetence: An Essay in Honor of Paul Verkuil Jacobson provides some detail regarding that tragic day that is not appreciated by the public.  I realize the following quote is long but it is necessary to appreciate the true impact of what happened.

The four Blackwater employees who were dismembered and mutilated in Fallujah, where they ended up while guarding a convoy, is a grim reminder of how the military must react to contractor actions. The Marines had to secure that city after that gruesome event, which was not in their plans beforehand.

Paul’s conclusion about the Fallujah incident is ineluctable. The Department of Defense, it appears, outsourced to Blackwater a task that it regarded as amenable to outsourcing, rather than as an inherent government function. Were the Department of Defense to offer a justification of this decision, they would argue that providing security to a supply convoy is akin to an ordinary civilian security operation – like night watchmen at a construction site or armed guards accompanying an armored car – and is thus distinguishable from combat, which, as most today would probably agree, is
an inherent government function.  But the reality of a theater in combat does not permit so fine a distinction to be drawn.  The Blackwater employees had necessarily to engage in combat, and their defeat drew the Marines into a combat operation they had neither desired nor planned. Contracting with Blackwater to provide security for convoys thus wound up diverting the United States military from operations they had in fact planned, and calling into question the competence of a military that could so unwittingly be the cause of its own distraction.

Paul’s Blackwater story is bad enough. The real story is worse. I asked Erik Wilson, a captain in the United States Marine Corps and a first-year law student at Cardozo, to look into the Fallujah incident a little more closely. Here is what he found.

The U.S. Army did not hire Blackwater directly. The prime contract, part of the Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), was between the Army and Halliburton. It was a contract to supply Camp Ridgeway, an Army base near Fallujah.

Halliburton then subcontracted the supply contract to KBR, and KBR subcontracted it to ESS. It was ESS that hired Blackwater to provide security for the convoys to Camp Ridgeway. Four subcontracts connect, or separate, Blackwater from the ultimate recipient of its services. That looks like an awfully long chain of subcontracts. But things were not so simple.

Let’s start with the top of the chain. It was actually KBR’s predecessor, Brown & Root, and not Halliburton, that had the first LOGCAP contract with the Army. This was back in the 1990s, at the beginning of the LOGCAP program. In 2002, Halliburton created KBR (merging two of its subsidiaries, Brown & Root and M.W. Kellogg), and replaced the former Brown & Root as the prime contractor. Halliburton was thus the prime contractor at the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003. The LOGCAP contract Halliburton signed at that point, known as LOGCAP III, was the second renegotiation of the initial LOGCAP contract between the Army and Brown & Root. Halliburton’s role under LOGCAP III was only to guarantee KBR’s services, and the Army and other federal auditing agencies dealt directly with KBR, not with Halliburton. Halliburton was involved in LOGCAP III only because it owned KBR. Thus, after Halliburton divested itself of KBR in 2007, KBR once again became the prime contractor in the LOGCAP IV contract, which is just now coming into
effect.

Now let us consider the bottom of the chain. ESS did not hire Blackwater directly. It hired Blackwater through a proxy company, Regency Hotel and Hospital Company of Kuwait. What happened was this: Regency and Blackwater had submitted a joint proposal to replace ESS’s existing private security contractor, Control Risks Group. Once Regency/Blackwater won the contract, they renegotiated it to make Regency ESS’s subcontractor and, in turn, make
Blackwater Regency’s subcontractor. Apparently Blackwater wanted this arrangement so it could get exclusive credit for the successful security operations.

The presence of Regency in the chain is important because a dispute erupted between Blackwater and Regency about the armoring of the vehicles to be used in protecting the convoys. According to Captain Wilson, Blackwater used its
subcontractor status to “blackmail” Regency, saying that Regency now had to provide weapons, armor, and other supplies, and that Blackwater would not supply them. The apparent aim of this strategy was to get Regency either to pay for Blackwater’s supplies or default on their contract, which Blackwater would try to take over at an increased profit once Regency was no longer in the way. Captain Wilson believes that Blackwater probably could not have gotten the security contract on its own and that it teamed with Regency for credibility, then tried to cut Regency out.

Partially as a result of this dispute between Regency and Blackwater over equipment funding, the Blackwater team was extremely underequipped and underprepared for the March 31, 2004, mission in which four Blackwater employees died.

I want to pause here in telling the story to make a comment. Outsourcing government tasks to a firm in the private economy subjects those tasks to the push and pull of the economy. I do not have the illusion, and neither does Paul, that elements of the bureaucracy are without their own motivations and distortions, but when you sign up with the private economy, you agree to participate in the private economy’s motivations and distortions. Let’s be blunt. There was a dispute between Regency and Blackwater over who would pay to armor the security for the convoys. That dispute led to the under-equipment and under-preparation of the security team on which the four Blackwater employees died. Their deaths led the military to launch an invasion of Fallujah. So here it is: A contract dispute led to a major development in a major war of the United States – and that is Paul’s point.

Please go to David’s blog and read the entire post

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, KBR, Misjudgements, Political Watch, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Blackwater settles Nisoor Square lawsuit

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 6, 2012

Charlotte lawyers sought damages in six deaths and injuries in 2007 incident that sparked debate over use of private security contractors.

Charlotte Observer January 6, 2012

Ali Kinani

The security firm formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by six victims or their families in the Sept. 16, 2007 shootings in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square, an incident that remains a flashpoint over the use of private contractors in war.

Charlotte law firm Lewis & Roberts represented the vicitims and announced the undisclosed settlement in a statement this evening.

“With respect to the Iraqi families and individuals who were plaintiffs in this lawsuit (it) provides them with compensation so they can now bring some closure to the losses they suffered,” the statement reads.

The lawsuit was the last active civil suit stemming from the incident, in which five Blackwater guards were accused in 14 deaths.

It was the second confidential settlement with the company’s corporate successor, Arlington-Va.-based Academi announced Friday, days after the final U.S. troops left Iraq.

A federal appeals court ended a lawsuit over an episode that produced one of the more disturbing images of the war: the grisly killings of four Blackwater security contractors and the hanging of a pair of their bodies from a bridge in Fallujah.

Families of those victims reached a confidential settlement with the company’s corporate successor, Arlington, Va.-based Academi, and the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the suit last week. The settlement was first reported Friday by The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va.

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Iraq | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Civilian Contractor or Mercenary? Who do you work for, What is your job?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 19, 2011

Guest  Commentary September 19, 2011

In response to Civilian Contractor or Mercenary?

Wow.. that pretty much proves everyone (Our Government and News Sources) have been misleading the public doesn’t it?

“(F) Hs not been sent by a State which is not a party to the conflict on official duty”

Well the US Govt sent most of the guys and most of the guys were in the military, active or reserve

“(D) is neither a national of a party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a party to the conflict”

Well, if you are working for your own Govt.. it is clear your not a Mercenary!!

A mercenary is someone who works for a “Foreign Govt”. Most had govt orders and some had Diplomatic Passports. Explain that one!!!

You need to ask yourself why our own Government would allow such a misconception to continue on for so long?

I will tell you why.. remember the Blackwater shooting in September 2007 they so widely publicized? Well if they admitted it was really a diplomatic mission from the State Department that was involved, how would that look diplomatically?? I will tell you.. not very good. So they blame it on an “Evil Private Company” that is scolded and is “Put out of business” so the other countries think we are being tough… then that company opens under another name and all the workers are seamlessly transferred over and continue working.. Hummm

Lets take a closer look.. really what is the difference between a US Soldier and a “Contractor”

1) Volunteered for service: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

2) Received payment for services: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)
by the US govt directly or indirectly
(“did it for money, or Country”)

3) US Govt provided weapons and
equipment: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

4) Had to sign a contract to Join: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

5) Had to have a US Govt Security
Clearance: US Soldier (Not Required) Contractor (YES)

6) Took orders from the US Govt: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

7) Had to take an Oath and swear
allegiance to the US Govt: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)
8) Was paid directly or indirectly
by US Tax payers: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

9) Had a term of enlistment or contract: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

10) If wounded in a war zone would be
medically evac’d by the US Govt: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

11) could carry a loaded firearm
anywhere including inside the
US Embassy: US Soldier (Some) Contractor (YES)

12) Provided medical care by the
Military Hospitals inside the
war zone: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

13) Have full access to Military
APO/AFO mail system: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

14) Traveled by US Military Aircraft: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

15) Officially conducted offensive
operations: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (NO)

16) Officially conducted defensive
operations: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

17) Had access to Military Commissary
PX/BX and health and welfare
privileges: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

18) Had the ability to detain anyone
suspected of committing a crime or
threat against US or coalition forces: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

19) Authorized by the US Govt the use
of deadly force: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

20) Authorized the use of Deadly force
against fellow Americans in the event
a dignitary (Diplomat, Congressman
Senator or Presidential figure) was
in imminent danger: US Soldier (YES) Contractor (YES)

I can go on and on… So can you please tell me the difference?? Most of you out there are probably now realizing that you have been in the ether, and now are beginning to realize it, someone didn’t tell us the truth!!!

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Mercenary, Political Watch, State Department, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Kabul Attack Underlines Importance of Embassy Security

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 14, 2011

 

Despite all ArmorGroup is still adverstising for this position

by Jake Wiens at POGO September 14, 2011

Armed with rockets and machine guns, a group of militants yesterday launched a sophisticated attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul from a partially constructed building about half a mile away, reports the New York Times.

The attack comes just months after two separate attacks rocked Afghanistan’s capital. The first was a June attack on the famed Inter-Continental Hotel, which reportedly claimed the lives of at least 10 people. Following that attack, at least nine people were killed and dozens more were injured when Taliban militants, dressed as Afghan women, detonated car bombs at the British Council on Afghanistan’s Independence Day in late August.

Although no embassy personnel were harmed during today’s attack on the Embassy, the brazen midday assault, coupled with the previous attacks, is a reminder that security of the Embassy remains paramount.

Back in 2009, POGO wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to raise concerns about the State Department’s management of Armor Group North America (AGNA), the contractor responsible for guarding the Embassy in Kabul.

The letter garnered international attention largely because of the “Lord of the Flies” environment depicted in photographs and videos released by POGO. But lost in much of the coverage was the threat to the Embassy’s security posed by State’s ineffectual oversight of AGNA.

Among the security vulnerabilities documented by POGO in 2009:

• Chronic guard turnover which, according to POGO sources, may have been as “high as 100 percent annually”;

• Nearly two-thirds of the guard force could not “adequately speak English,” which raised concerns that the guards could not communicate effectively if under attack; and

• Guard shortages resulted in “14-hour-day work cycles extending for as many as eight weeks in a row”

A subsequent report by the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) verified and expanded upon many of POGO’s findings. The report, published in September 2010, found that “AGNA has been unable to maintain the number of guards or the quality level required by the contract.” The OIG also found that “To manage staffing shortfalls, AGNA hired and put on duty Nepalese guards without verifiable experience, training, or background investi¬gations, which violates its contract” and that AGNA “firearms instructors qualified guards who did not actually meet the minimum qualification score on the firing range.”

This July, AGNA paid $7.5 million to the U.S. government to settle a qui tam lawsuit by a former employee who alleged AGNA’s performance in 2007 and 2008 put the security of the U.S. Embassy at risk.

AGNA’s parent company said the settlement was made solely “to avoid costly and disruptive litigation—and that there has been no finding or admission of liability.” The parent company, WSI, also stated, “At all times, the Embassy was secure.”

In an attempt to replace AGNA, the State Department last September selected EOD Technology (EODT) to take over security of the Embassy. But shortly following that announcement, a report by the Senate Armed Service Committee (SASC) documented both EODT and AGNA’s use of warlords with possible ties to the Taliban to staff their respective guard forces. A couple months later, EODT’s offices were raided by federal agents in connection with a separate investigation into “potential export violations.”

Following news of that raid, POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian argued that security of the Embassy should be an inherently governmental function, carried out by government employees rather than contractors. “If there’s a better argument for making this mission an inherently governmental function, this situation is it,” she said. “We’ve got one discredited company to be replaced by another discredited company,” she added.

Following a delay, EODT was scheduled to take over from AGNA this May, a State Department spokesperson told Mother Jones magazine. But in response to a POGO query, an AGNA spokesperson confirmed that AGNA is still responsible for Embassy security and also that the Embassy was “part of the insurgent citywide attack in Kabul today.”

There is no indication, at this point, that inadequate security contributed to yesterday’s attack. But as the Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC) recommended in its final report, the government should evaluate the risk of using private security contractors at each static-security site. And if it’s determined that the risk is too high, the security contractors should be phased out. Yesterday’s attack presents an unwelcome reminder that it may be time to reevaluate the security situation at the Embassy in Kabul.

Please read the entire article at POGO here

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Political Watch, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Two New Contractor PTSD Suicides this week

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 19, 2011

It is with sorrow that knows no bounds this evening

that we must announce that

the contractor community has lost two more lives

to PTSD

only five days apart

They were both former DynCorp employees covered by CNA under the Defense Base Act

Two families, which both include children, left with the horror and guilt that suicide leaves in it’s wake

Out of respect for these grieving families we are withholding details until a more suitable time

Please keep these families in your hearts and prayers

May our departed friends find the peace they were deprived of here

___

To those of you suffering from PTSD,  to those friends of these contractors suffering from PTSD, please do not wait for for your employer or the insurance company to fulfill their obligations.

Both of these deaths could easily have been prevented by proper screening and prompt treatment.


Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Dyncorp, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

CRS Report: Defense Department’s Use of Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan & Iraq

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 25, 2011

February 21, 2011

Background Analysis and Options for Congress

by Moshe Schwartz  Specialist in Defense Aquisition

See this report at ProPublica

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Department of Defense, Injured Contractors | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama presides over a private contractor boom

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 25, 2011

The use of armed private contractors has soared in Afghanistan since President Obama took office, a report finds

War Room Salon February 25, 2011

The number of private security contractors working for the Defense Department in Afghanistan has more than tripled to about 19,000 since June 2009, according to a new congressional study.

The study found a steady increase in private security contractors — most of whom are Afghans — since the DOD started tracking the data in September 2007.

That trend accelerated markedly once President Obama took office, and the number of security contractors has increased at a faster rate even than the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Check out this chart from the study:

And here are the top-line numbers:

 

From December 2008 to December 2010, the number of U.S. troops and DOD contractor personnel in Afghanistan increased. However, the number of security contractors increased at a much faster rate (413%) than total contractors (22%) or troop levels (200%). As of December 2010, security contractor personnel made up 22% of all DOD contractors and was equal to 20% of the size of total U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan.

The study also found that contractors are a whopping 2.75 times more likely to be killed in Afghanistan than uniformed troops. It’s also worth noting that, as I’ve previously reported, contractor deaths are not closely tracked and publicly disclosed in the same way that troop deaths are.

Please see the original at Salon

  • Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at jelliott@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More: Justin Elliott

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Blackwater Contractor in Iraq Cannot Exclude Compensation Under § 112

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 1, 2011

From Tax Professor Blog

The Tax Court yesterday held that a Florida man who earned $98,400 in 2005 working for Blackwater (since renamed Xe) providing security services to the U.S. Army in Iraq could not exclude the compensation from income under § 112 as “combat zone compensation of members of the Armed Forces.

Holmes v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2011-26 (Jan. 31, 2011).

The Tax Court concluded that the taxpayer did not serve in the Armed Forces of the United States but instead was a private citizen hired by and paid by a private company (Blackwater). The Tax Court refused to impose a penalty because the taxpayer relied on an IRS memorandum wrongly stating that civilian personnel in direct support of combat zone military operations qualified for the § 112 exclusion. (Hat Tip: Bob Kamman.)  Please see the original here

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Taxes | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

State Department Says no more TCN PSD’s

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 19, 2010

ALCON,

·         The ADPM announced today that the DoS has finalized their decision to remove TCNs from PSD positions due to the requirement for secret clearances.

·         There will be a transition plan to replace TCN personnel with US as they arrive starting with the next PSS course graduation in November.

·         He will be talking with PMO to see if there are other positions elsewhere within the company.

·         If personnel have other opportunities and want to depart sooner, he will look into pro-rating bonuses.

John O’Ryan, PMP

Deputy PSD Commander

DynCorp International CIVPOL-Iraq

U.S. Department Of State

International Narcotics And Law Enforcement

LSA Butler, Bagdad, Iraq

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Dyncorp, Iraq, State Department | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

UK troops join former US personnel in ‘toxic’ lawsuit

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 10, 2010

Hot off the UK Press from Brit Guy

By Rajini Vaidyanathan  Reporter, BBC Radio 4’s PM

Seven former British soldiers are suing an American defence firm, accusing it of exposing them to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals in Iraq.

The men were providing security at a water plant near Basra where sodium dichromate was discovered.

They claim that its operator, Kellog Brown and Root (KBR), failed to protect them from the substance.

The men join 98 US soldiers suing KBR. It denies the allegations, saying necessary precautions were taken.

“If I’d have known what I now know, I would not have gone on that site and I would not have made my men operate on that site,” says Andy Tosh.

The former regiment sergeant served in several combat zones but it is his time in Iraq in 2003 which has left him worried for his future.

“I’m used to risking my life or defending the right cause if you want to call it that. But again that’s against things you would expect.

“You join the military to do a job, not to get exposed to a toxic chemical through a contractor,” he adds.

The lawsuit he and his former colleagues have joined relates to the time they spent providing security at the Qarmat Ali water plant, which was pumping water to nearby oil wells.

‘Rashes and nosebleeds’

The plant was run by the defence contractor KBR, a company which until 2007 was part of the Halliburton oil corporation.

When the men began working on the site in May 2003 they noticed a reddish orange powder, some of it in bags, some of it in the drains and in the sand.

Initially they thought little of it, but Sgt Tosh says he became concerned when he and some of his team developed rashes, nosebleeds, and breathing problems after coming into contact with the substance.

“In August I had a severe rash on my forearms and hands. I’ve operated all over the world, from South America to the Arctic, I’ve never had any rash like that before,” he says.

“I was that concerned that I did go and see the station medical officer in Basra.”

A few months after the men arrived, notices started to appear around the plant, explaining that the coloured powder was in fact a highly toxic substance – sodium dichromate, the same chemical which was brought to attention in the film Erin Brockovich.

“At the time the warning signs went out around a pump room where this sodium dichromate had been stored in bags previously, and then they said that the orange powder…was actually sodium dichromate.

“Later on, they moved us from where we were operating, but not very far, only 100 metres away from the site.

“Once the warning signs went up, we never saw any US national guards again, we were told that there was nothing to worry about, it’s all fine.”

Sgt Tosh says he believes the US guards left in fear for their safety.

During the time he remained on the site he says he saw KBR workers there, many of them wearing protective clothing.

Chemical exposure?

Sodium dichromate is a highly carcinogenic substance, used as an anti-corrosive.

Medical experts say it can cause nosebleeds, damage to the septum, breathing problems and even in some cases lung cancer.

In the 36-page lawsuit, the soliders claim that KBR “disregarded and downplayed” the dangers of being exposed to the chemical.

In response, KBR says the sodium dichromate was left at Qarmat Ali by Iraqi workers under Saddam Hussein’s regime and that it took action to make the site safe.

It adds that it notified the US Army Corps of Engineers of the presence of the substance and its dangers.

A statement from KBR goes on to say: “Air sample tests performed by the US Army Center for Health Promotion Preventative Medicine and the British Military and KBR showed no dangerous levels of airborne chromium hexalvelant.”

The defence contractor further contends that no medical data support the claims that soldiers and KBR workers suffered from nosebleeds and respiratory problems caused by sodium dichromate.

This is something almost 100 soliders in the United States dispute.

Ninety-eight former members of the US military are already suing KBR, claiming they have contracted serious illnesses from their time at the plant.

“I have a laundry list of health problems,” explains Larry Roberta, who served with the Oregon National guard.

“I only have 60% lung capacity, I have very low testosterone, I have two types of inhalers, I can’t walk a block with passing over.

“To me there’s no doubt the cause is sodium dichromate. That was the turning point exactly, that was when my health went like a car over a cliff.”

Roberta says the orange dust was everywhere at the plant, and he even ended up eating it when it landed on his food.

“It’s just a real horrible, disgusting taste. It’s a real heavy metal taste. It’s like if you were to run outside and lick the lampost.”

Side-effects

The issue of chemical exposure at the Qarmat Ali water plant has been the subject of a number of hearings in the US Senate.

Dr Herman Gibb, an expert on sodium dichromate who gave evidence to those hearings, says it can take years for the side-effects of the chemical to manifest.

And that is the concern among the British troops who have filed the lawsuit.

“We just want our day in court,” explains John Gledhill, from Retford in Nottinghamshire.

“I want to know we can get some medical screening because there have been numerous national guardsmen over in America who were at the water treatment plant at the same time as us who’ve got symptoms.

“I’ve got no symptoms at the minute, but it’s a carcinogenic compound so we don’t know what the future holds.”

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence says it takes “very seriously” any suggestion that troops may have been exposed to levels of sodium dichromate in Iraq in 2003.

But it goes on: “This was examined at the time and there was no cause for alarm…the results of sampling showed that levels of sodium dichromate were significantly below UK government and US Army guidance levels and should not have had any effect on the patrolling guard force.

“Should any new evidence come to light, we will obviously consider it.”

The ex-servicemen on the lawsuit are also calling for an enquiry into the matter at Westminster.

“It’s a bit of a silent risk,” says Jim Garth. “It’s something we knew nothing about.”

“Granted it wasn’t a British installation, but we were tasked with guarding this installation by our superiors – and it looks like this could be a killer as well as the other things in a war zone that can kill you.” Original here

Posted in Burn Pits, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, KBR, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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