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Posts Tagged ‘contractors’

Contractors also lost in the Iraq War

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on December 25, 2011

Letter at The Daily Advance Elizabeth City NC  December 24, 2011

Kudos for your recent editorial regarding the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. You captured the ambiguity that Americans experience as the troops come home. On the one hand, we are thankful for those who have safely returned.

On the other hand, we can not help but wonder if the sacrifice in lives and treasure was justified — particularly given the initially erroneous and changing justifications for the war from the Bush administration.

I take issue, however, with your reporting of American casualties. In addition to the thousands of servicemen who lost their lives or suffered devastating wounds, there were hundreds if not thousands of contractors who were also casualties of the conflict. Accurate figures hard to come by — apparently as a deliberate policy of the U.S. State Department in order to avoid public scrutiny of our extensive use of contractors in this war.

Some might argue that contractors, who were in Iraq for economic reasons, are somehow less patriotic and less deserving of our concern than our military heroes. However, the reality of our voluntary military in conjunction with the dismal job market in recent years has no doubt led many young people to enlist, at least in part, for economic reasons. This is not to question the patriotism of those in the military but to point out that economic issues ultimately led many of our people to wind up in Iraq — and many did not come back alive and many came back severely wounded and scarred.

Many of those contractors are our friends and neighbors — employed by Academi — formerly known as Blackwater and headquartered in Moyock. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our fellow citizens who served in Iraq whether military or contractor — in spite of our lingering doubts about why we were there.



Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Injured Contractors, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Should we care if a contractor dies in a warzone?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 25, 2011

“I’ll say it, because it’s true. If a few contractors get killed nobody seems to care,” he said. “We’ve over-relied on contractors because they’re, like, free.” 

Christopher Shays Commission on Wartime Contracting

How vital are contractors to U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan?

By Matthew Weigelt at Federal Computer Week

A former senior Defense Department official said April 25 contractor employees, who encompass half of the workers overseas, are at least worth a notice from the government when they are killed during their work in contingency operations.

DOD sends out multiple notices each day about military casualties, particularly in war zones in southwest Asia. The announcements note the soldier’s age, hometown, rank and battalion. They also say in very general terms how the solider died.

Meanwhile, contractors are seen as expendable or of little consequence, although they are vital to fulfilling operations, said Jacques Gansler, formerly undersecretary of defense for acquisition, logistics and technology. He made the comment to the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. DOD operations wouldn’t succeed without contractors, he said..

“Last week by coincidence I talked with the Department of Defense person who publishes the weekly listing of people killed, and I insisted that they also list the contractors,” he said, adding that more contractors have died often times than people in uniform.

Contractors are critical to the government’s success in contingency operations yet they’re undervalued despite being half of the total workforce and the crutch on which the government rests.

Gansler, who led the Commission on Army Acquisition and Program Management in Expeditionary Operations and is now with the University of Maryland’s Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise, said language matters in how contractors are described in publications and reports — or the lack of any mention — from the government.

If contractors are depicted only as the default option, they will continue to be cast in the same light, he said.

Christopher Shays, co-chairman of the commission and former House member, agreed with that view of contractors.

“I’ll say it, because it’s true. If a few contractors get killed nobody seems to care,” he said. “We’ve over-relied on contractors because they’re, like, free.”

Does the government — particularly DOD — need to give more attention to the deaths of contractors in combat zones? What do you think? Please click here to see the original post and to leave your comments

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Commission on Wartime Contracting, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, Injured Contractors | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Two Contractors killed in CIA bombing worked for Xe Blackwater

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 4, 2010

Xe spokesman Mark Corallo declined to confirm whether the men worked for the North Carolina-based company. A former U.S. intelligence official has said that a suicide bomber killed eight people inside a CIA base in Afghanistan, including four CIA officers, three security guards and a Jordanian intelligence officer. Here

CNN: Xe contractors killed in CIA bombing


Posted: Jan. 2, 2010

Moyock, N.C. — Two CIA contractors killed in a bombing in Afghanistan Wednesday were employed by North Carolina-based Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, according to CNN.

A former intelligence officer told CNN that two of seven deceased worked for the private security and training firm based in Moyock, a small community in Currituck County.

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The Shadow Army Awaits Deployment

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on December 1, 2009

Forgotten and Ignored:  The Shadow Army Awaits Deployment

By: Rayne Monday November 30, 2009 6:55 pm

I was taken to task for allegedly ignoring the role of military-industrial complex corporations in my recent post about the decision-making process leading up to tomorrow’s anticipated announcement regarding U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. Concern about corporate interests is well-placed, but it’s only a portion of the picture. Contractors have been a nagging problem since the U.S. began military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. With a current ratio of nearly two contractors to every soldier, the immediate problem is the number of the non-military personnel — a virtual shadow army — we are about to deploy in an escalation in Afghanistan, and the one still on the ground in Iraq.

Coincidentally, today represents the deadline which House Oversight and Government Reform Chair Eldolphus Towns set for Defense Secretary Robert Gates to report the number, size, and details of contracts awarded for work being performed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Towns’ letter is dated November 3, giving Gates nearly a month to get his hands around these numbers and report them.

Towns has even allowed Gates to report the numbers from the Department of Defense’s records without commenting in his letter about the rather disconcerting numbers Towns has already seen based on reports from the General Accounting Office and the Commission on Wartime Contracting.

The CWC, a bipartisan entity authorized by and reporting to Congress, reported a wide range of numbers depending on the tracking source. The DOD’s Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) reported 160,000 contractors working for the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and several other smaller and less active arenas this summer. However the U.S. Army Central Command’s quarterly census reported a much different number — 242,000 contractors, with much of the data gathered by hand rather than through reports. As the CWC noted, that’s a difference of roughly 80,000 between the two tallies.

Although CENTCOM’s census doesn’t include contractors working for Department of State or the Agency for International Development (USAID) and SPOT does not account for foreign nationals, it’s generally believed that 80,000 is still too broad a spread in numbers and cannot account accurately for the difference in contractors between the two systems.

Read the full post here

Why not watch and see tomorrow night, Wednesday and beyond who really does ignore the shadow army we’ll be deploying?

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Obama to Announce Increase of Troops for Afghanistan on Dec 1

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 24, 2009

With the associated increases of one contractor to one soldier

What a windfall for AIG and CNA

From the Huffington Post

President Barack Obama is expected to announce a “sizable” increase in US troop levels in Afghanistan early next week, tentatively during a prime-time speech on Tuesday, December 1, according to media reports.

Obama met with his war council on Monday evening to decide how many troops to send in addition to the 68,000 already deployed. According to the Associated Press, “Military officials and others said they expect Obama to settle on a middle-ground option that would deploy an eventual 32,000 to 35,000 U.S. forces to the 8-year-old conflict.” McClatchy is reporting that Obama plans to send 34,000. General Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in the region, had been pressing for 40,000.

After Obama’s announcement next Tuesday, General McChrystal, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, are expected to testify on Capitol Hill.

The president had been reluctant to make a decision without an exit strategy, a theme echoed today by Robert Gibbs. The White House press secretary told reporters that it’s “not just how we get people there, but what’s the strategy for getting them out.”

Below, an official White House photo by Pete Souza of President Obama meeting last night with his national security team to discuss Afghanistan in the Situation Room.


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Contractors in Iraq to be Subject to American Laws

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 19, 2009

Under American law, the Defense Base Act, they’ll still be allowed to kill, maim, or allow their employees to be raped, just not anyone else.

Courthouse News Service

by Nick Wilson

WASHINGTON (CN) – Senators introduced legislation Wednesday that would bring foreign military contractors under the jurisdiction of American laws following an appeal from the parents of a soldier allegedly killed by a contractor in Iraq.
In introducing the legislation, Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight Chair Claire McCaskill from Missouri told the story of Lt. Col. Dominic Baragona who was allegedly killed when a contractor’s truck slammed into him in 2003. The man’s parents spent years appealing to the Defense Department, the Bush administration and the Army to seek accountability and information regarding their son’s death.
The family sued Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport Company (KGL), the contracting company, in 2006. McCaskill said the contracting firm did not show up before the court until after the family won a $4.9 million judgment. The contractor then argued that the government does not have jurisdiction over it and the court vacated the judgment.
“The need for Congress to act with this legislation has raised serious questions for me about the systematic failures that have allowed companies like KGL to escape accountability for their actions,” McCaskill said.
The subcommittee also released a report showing that federal agencies rarely dismiss abusive contractors.
The investigation revealed that over the last five years, the Defense Department Office of Inspector General reported 2,700 convictions, but the Defense Department only debarred 708 contractors.
The Department of Homeland Security did not debar any contractors in 2006, despite widespread reports of waste, fraud and abuse following Hurricane Katrina.
The “Lieutenant General Dominic ‘Rocky’ Baragona Justice for American Heroes Harmed by Contractors Act” would require foreign companies that enter into contracts with the United States to consent to personal jurisdiction in cases involving serious injury, death or rape.

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Labor Day Message to Hilda Solis, Secretary, US Department of Labor

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 6, 2009

Having just read your  Labor Day Statement,  we are convinced that Injured Overseas Contractors and their imagesfamilies are nowhere on your radar screen.

You say that over the last seven months you have met with many individuals and organizations.   We were disappointed that you did not respond to our requests to meet with you.   We had asked to discuss, in a helpful and positive way, the inequities these Injured Contractors suffer under the Defense Base Act which your department oversees.

You ask us in your statement to personally commit to play a role in the recovery of our economy and our nation. To reach out to those needing help.  To do the work that will keep America Working.

Hilda Solis we ask you to personally commit that your/our Department of Labor allow us the opportunity to recover physically, mentally, and economically as the law provides under the Defense Base Act.

Reach out to your Department of Labor who is charged with ensuring that Defense Base Act Workers’ Compensation benefits are provided for covered employees promptly and correctly.

Do the work, get to know your OWCP/DHWLC/DBA,  your OALJ’s, and BRB’s.

Open your eyes to who is standing in the way of ensuring that DBA benefits are provided for covered Injured Contractors promptly and correctly.

Read some of the decisions your ALJ’s make based on the testimony of questionable doctors, witnesses, and evidence.

Question  the person who was put in charge of Policy, Regulations and Procedures for the Defense Base Act who cut her teeth with AIG and CNA’s defense lawyers and helped promote their biased book via this position of public service.

Look into the knee jerk, biased recommendations that come from some of your District Directors and some of their Claims Examiners.

Do they work for you, the injured contractor, the taxpayer or do they serve their own purpose?

Ask why CNA and AIG are never fined as the law requires for multitudes of blatant infractions of the law year after year.

Ask why CNA, AIG and the lawyers get away with relentlessly continuing hearings, thus dragging claims out for six years and longer while refusing to pay for medical and disability to the injured worker but buffing up their own financial award.

Some of these hearings will make public record of damning information vital to many other claims, including many that were already denied and will have to be re-examined.

Is your DoL helping to keep this information in the dark?

Will your legacy be the continued abuse of thousands of Injured Americans and Foreigners working on US Contracts when you personally could have stepped in and made this CHANGE?

What a stimulus to the economy it would be to get Injured Overseas Contractors and/or their families back to being the contributing members of America that they were working on behalf of when they were injured or killed working in countries all over the world.

The only stimulus the DBA currently provides is to insurance companies like  AIG and CNA, hordes of lawyers,  and your department facilitates it.

You came to us with the promise that there was a new sheriff in town and that you would be heard.

Make our Labor Day, be heard, speak up about these abuses to Injured Contractors and demand that they stop.

Maybe then, hopefully together, we can assure that the Defense Base Act is implemented as Congress intended.

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No Respect

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 29, 2009

This is a little OT again but should interest everyone Ollieenough to cross post from Civilian Contractors

Regret the ring wing left wing language as we try to avoid that here

Colonels’ Corner by Ollie North

Bagram, Afghanistan —  It is amazing how a change of geography can alter perception. In the weeks leading up to this, my 16th FOX News deployment to cover the fight against radical Islamic terror, the news was full of attacks on civilian contractors. The target: Those who have been providing support for U.S. military and intelligence operations since Sept. 11, 2001.

“Contractor” is the new dirty word in the so-called mainstream media and in Washington. On Capitol Hill, contractors are the Rodney Dangerfields of the war – they just don’t “get no respect.” Here, where the war is being fought, contractors are regarded as essential to victory.

The attacks on civilian contractors didn’t begin with this summer’s hemorrhage of congressional leaks, sensational disclosures of classified information, threats of inquisitions and the appointment of a special prosecutor. Civilian contractors have been in the crosshairs of Congress since George Washington had to defend buying beans, bread, bandages and bullets from sutlers accompanying the Revolutionary Army. In the opening days of World War II, then-Senator Harry Truman became famous for threatening to “lock up” civilian contractors for producing sub-par munitions and President Dwight D. Eisenhower ominously warned against the threat of a “military-industrial complex.”

However, all that is pale by comparison to the viscera now being aimed at civilian contractors supporting the campaigns in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates and in the shadow of the Hindu Kush. Though the mainstream media and congressional critics initially ignored the essential role played by civilian security and logistics contractors in the opening months of Operation Enduring Freedom, they went into high dudgeon when the Bush administration began preparations for liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein.

It has gone downhill since.

Critics on the left are quick to point to events like the 2007 incident in Baghdad that led to the prosecution of security contractors for using excessive force in carrying out protective duties. On Capitol Hill, members of Congress have threatened to cut the budgets of federal agencies that use security contractors instead of government employees to protect key personnel and sensitive installations. At the Pentagon — which uses more civilian contractors in the war effort than any other U.S. government entity — the response to the criticism was capitulation.

In April, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced plans to hire 30,000 additional Department of Defense employees to cut the percentage of work being done by contractors. The FY 2010 Defense Budget request replaces nearly 14,000 contractor personnel with government employees, even though the “lifetime cost” — counting government benefits and retirement — will more than double the expense to American taxpayers. The numbers don’t mesh, but when it comes to getting the press and politicians off the backs of Pentagon poobahs, cutting contractors loose is apparently a small price to pay.

Unfortunately, dollars may not be the only thing lost.

Last week, in the midst of the firestorm over U.S. intelligence agencies using private contractors, General Michael Hayden, CIA director from 2006-09, asked a telling question: “Who is the best individual available for this task at this moment?” With more than 30 percent of his former agency’s work being performed by contractors, the answer is obvious. He went on to note that the CIA uses contractors for their “very discreet skill sets” and “as an integral part of our workforce.”

The CIA isn’t alone. Here in Afghanistan there are more than 74,000 military contractors and the number is increasing as more U.S. and NATO troops “surge” into the theatre. Though it’s unlikely to make the lead story in any of the mainstream media, contractors are performing tasks that U.S. government entities either cannot do or that cannot be done as economically. A few non-sensational, but essential examples:

— The Afghanistan Border Police (ABP) has the mission of securing the country’s porous borders — an absolutely crucial task if the fight against the Taliban is to be won. The ABP is being recruited, screened, trained, equipped and advised by fewer than 140 private contractor personnel. To date they have deployed more than 3,600 new ABP officers.

— The Counter Narcotics Police and the Afghanistan Narcotics Interdiction Unit (NIU) are being mentored, trained and supported by fewer than 40 private contractors. These law enforcement units are key components in denying the Taliban and Al Qaeda revenues from opium production.

— In the 11 months since I was last in Afghanistan, private contractor aircraft have flown more than 12,000 sorties, delivering nearly 6 million pounds of cargo, 5 million pieces of U.S. mail and 59,000 personnel to installations around the country. Contractor aircraft have also air-dropped more than 640,000 pounds of urgently needed, food, water, ammunition, and medical supplies to troops on the battlefield. For last week’s presidential elections, contractor aircraft airdropped equipment and ballots to remote polling stations.

Like it or not, our modern, all-volunteer military cannot fight or even prepare to do so without civilian contractors. Propagandists for the left know it is no longer politically correct to attack young Americans in uniform, so they aim their viscera at military, logistics, security and intelligence support contractors instead.

Disparaging and de-funding civilian contractors is just one more way of disarming America, but at the end of the day, we won’t win without them.

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TACTICOR CNA’s third party “medical”? provider in South Africa

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 22, 2009

For those contractors here in the states who have been forced to use Total Medical Services, or another third party medical provider, our South African mates would like you to meet

TACTICORDinosaur Eye 2

These are the spies that claims adjusters like Donna Sprags hire to take care of your prescriptions and medical supplies, nothing really important hey?  These companies will charge CNA for making your life more miserable than it needs to be, then CNA will turn around and bill the taxpayer.

From their website

“TACTICOR is a security and investigations company strategically located throughout the world to conduct efficient medical claims investigations/services in Iraq, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, South America, Europe and the Pacific,  Security Services in Iraq and Afghanistan; and law enforcement and military training to US Military Units and USCorporate security personnel.

With years of US Governmental service in the FBI, police departments and military,our staff of dedicated professionals has extensive expertise in intelligence and investigations, security management and operations, tactics and training, language and translation, counterterrorism investigations and operations, crisis managementand planning and emergency medical services.

TACTICOR employs a global network of US and foreign professionals in order to provideunique overseas security and overseas investigation services exclusively for US Corporate Clients.


Do they leave any doubt as to how little the well being of the injured contractor has to do with the US Corporate Clients Goals?

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Reminder to Contractors Regarding Iraqi Jurisdiction

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 15, 2009

This is a little OT but the State Department would like this information to reach as many contractors as possible.

Email us at for the original document as a PDF File for Printing and Posting.

Staff Notice US Embassy

USG Contractors and Contracting Officers Representatives under
COM Authority

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Contractors Using Military Clinics

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 7, 2009

Contractors Using Military Clinics

Civilians Also Are Not Paying, Audit Says

By Walter PincusWashington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 7, 2009

Military clinics and field hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan have supplied more than $1 million a month in health-care services to civilian contractors during the past two years without seeking reimbursement from their employers, as provided by law, according to a new audit by the Defense Department inspector general.

The report, issued Monday, noted that all costs associated with both emergency and primary medical care are reimbursable to the government and are the responsibility of the contingency contractor personnel, their employer or their health insurance provider.

Yet the study found that Army, Navy and Air Force clinics and hospitals were not billing contractors because there was no unified system for doing so. Moreover, more than half the contracts were vague about who pays for the medical treatment of employees, although the law is clear on this point, the IG found.

Investigators cited cases in which contractors were hospitalized with heart problems, pneumonia, an accidental self-inflicted gun shot or injuries from a blast, but the medical facilities did not bill the patients’ employers for $141,340 for their stays. At the time, the military did have rates of $2,041 a day for nonmilitary inpatients and $195 per visit for outpatients.

Read the entire story here


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A bit about the history of the DBA

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 27, 2008

Established in 1941, the Defense Base Act (DBA) provides the equivalent of workers’ compensation for civilian contractors working in contingency operations in overseas countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. “As designated by the Secretary of Defense, Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in Iraq are both contingency operations.” [1] The Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) 2.101 defines a Contingency Operation (10 U.S.C. 101(a) (13)) to be a military operation that:

“(1) Is designated by the Secretary of Defense as an operation in which members of the armed forces are or may become involved in military actions, operations, or hostilities against an enemy of the United States or against an opposing military force; or

(2) Results in the call or order to, or retention on, active duty of members of the uniformed services under section 688, 12301(a), 12302, 12304, 12305, or 12406 of 10 U.S.C., Chapter 15 of 10 U.S.C, or any other provision of law during a war or during a national emergency declared by the President or Congress.” [2]

DBA provides benefits in the event that civilian contractors are injured, killed, or kidnapped in the course of their work for US government agencies such as the various branches of the Department of Defense (DOD), U.S. Agency for International Development, (USAID), or the State Department.

According to government documents, the DBA “program was created to provide workers’ compensation protections for categories of workers who were outside the jurisdiction of other state or federal workers’ compensation systems. The extensions to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) were enacted to provide coverage to classes of workers who are not covered under any other statutes.”[3]

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