THE BLOG

Private Contractors to the Rescue?

01/15/2010 11:03 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The tragedy in Haiti will represent many things to many people. For some it will be a simple moral obligation to help those in dire need. For others it will be a chance to make money.

For private military and security contractors it will, to varying degrees, be both. From the very first day the earthquake struck word started circulating among contractor chat boards that various firms were certain to start hiring as they geared up to participate in the international assistance effort.

Almost immediately the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA), a well known trade group for private contractors, put up a new page on its website, listing those of its member companies "prepared to provide a wide variety of critical relief services to the earthquake's victims." Some of the companies provide services and products - construction equipment, life support, medical staff and clinics, communications, modular housing, emergency relief structures, vehicle maintenance, aerial support, search & rescue, helicopter & fixed wing services, airfreight & third-party logistics, cargo processing, crisis management support, infrastructure restoration -- that nobody should argue against, regardless of what one thinks of the role and impact of private contractors.

Typical of the ongoing recruitment efforts for security contractors is this notice :

Category:
Title: Personal Security Detail Personnel
Post Date: 1/14/2010

Description:

NEK is seeking qualified Personnel Security Detail personnel for an immediate OCONUS requirement. Applicants should have an extensive background in Department of Defense, State Department, Special Operations or Law Enforcement that depicts a very high level of maturity and experience that relates to PSD or similar requirements. Applicants should expect a quick deployment turnaround from notification of actual employment and should have in their possession current medical records/immunization records and passport on hand. Employment will encompass working in both hazardous environments and conditions with primitive living conditions. Resumes should reflect clear and concise past work history with full and current point of contact information, (email address/telephone numbers), for any references that are listed.

Based upon the high level of maturity, medical experience and the hazardous conditions that may be involved, NEK will offer high limit accident insurance.

It may sound callous to think of armed security in light of the staggering destruction in Haiti but as the Feral Jundi blog notes, "My guess is that massive looting and lawlessness will occur after the initial shock, along with attacks against aid workers and innocents in the weeks and months ahead. Providing security for these recovery operations will be very important if we really want to help Haiti."

But it not just armed guards being sought. Just as sought after, for example, are medical personnel, as detailed in this notice

Category:
Title: Special Operations Medics
Post Date: 1/14/2010

Description:
NEK is seeking qualified Special Operations Qualified Medics in support of Personal Security Detail and Disaster Relief Operations for an immediate OCONUS requirement. Applicants should have an extensive background in Special Operations Medicine and display a high level of experience and maturity. Experience in PSD assignments or equivalent is a plus. Applicants must be a graduate of either the Special Forces Medical Sergeants Course (SFMS, MOS 18D) or the Advanced Special Operations Combat Medic Course (ADSOCM). Applicants should expect a quick deployment turnaround from notification of employment and should have in their possession current medical records/immunization records and passport on hand. Employment will encompass working in both hazardous environments and conditions with primitive living conditions. Resumes should reflect clear and concise past work history with full and current point of contact information, (email address/telephone numbers), for any references that are listed.
Based upon the high level of maturity, medical experience and the hazardous conditions that may be involved, NEK will offer high limit accident insurance.

Groups like IPOA have long said that its member companies are an indispensable part of bringing both peace and stability to countries. Undoubtedly, many of them can make vital contributions. As many of them have made some very significant U.S. taxpayer provided profits in recent years in places like Iraq and Afghanistan perhaps they might want to first do some pro bono work now in Haiti , while waiting for a U.S. government contract to be issued. If they do then they deserve all sorts of kudos.