THE BLOG

The GAO Transcripts, Part 21: We Do Not Work For the U.S. Military

07/26/2010 08:16 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

This is the twenty first installment of the Government Accountability Office interview transcripts that were prepared pursuant to the July 2005 GAO report "Rebuilding Iraq: Actions Needed To Improve Use of Private Security Providers."

This interview was done with representatives of a British PSC. It is clearly not Aegis Defence and the GAO only interviewed five other British PSC. The British PSC mentioned in Part 4 of these transcripts was most likely either Hart Group or Control Risks Group so my best guess is that this one is Global Risk Strategies; especially as the transcript mentions the firm had a contract with Task Force Olympia, which was held by GRS. But that is just a guess.

To its credit the PSC tried to establish procures for working with the U.S. military. Unfortunately, they were not accepted.

Also to its credit, the PSC is quite clear on the dividing line between it and regular military forces:

None of ______________ contracts have a clause which requires them to comply with orders from MNFI commanders. ______________ would not allow employees to be under the command of the military. ______________ concern is that the military may ask them to take on a role that would be outside their normal business practices and might make their insurance invalid for example. This being said, the company will all ways try to comply with directions that help promote the safety of their clients and their personnel.

Standard disclaimer: I have put in ( _____ ) to reflect those words of phrases which have been blacked out in the transcript. I have also put in the underlining as it appeared in the original transcript. As in the transcript, I have left out letters from various words, even when it seems obvious what the word is.

Prepared by: Carole Coffey Index: C-BR65
Date Prepared: 5/19/05 DOC Number: 1325386
Reviewed by: Steve Sternlieb DOC Library: Goal 2
Job Code: 350544

Record of Interview

Title Record of Interview with representatives of ______________
Purpose To obtain information on working as a PSC in Iraq
Contact Method Face to Face
Contact Place ____________________________
Contact Date April 12, 2005
Participants GAO Steve Sternlieb AD DCM 202 512-4534
Carole Coffey AIC DCM 202 512-5876

Comments/Remarks:

Company Description and Security Overview

1. What contracts does ______________ have in Iraq?
•______________the contract for __________________________________________
contract to provide __________________________________________ The
contract was with the U.S. military Task Force Olyrnpia ______________ o longer has this contract. Also the company had a contract with the CPA to provide some security
within the green zone and provided security to ______________
Currently the company has the ____________________________

______________ as the contract to provide ____________________________
In addition, they have an on call service - people coming into Iraq can call and can be provided security on a short term basis.

2. What types of security (convoy, personal security, facilities) does ______________ provide for contractors and government agencies in Iraq?
• The company provides all of the above services as well as security management and advice. In the way of facilities security, they provide security for housing areas as well as work sites. The also provide security for convoys as they make their way into Iraq or as the convoys move through Iraq.

Chain of Command and Military Interaction

1. How does ______________ r its employees coordinate with the U.S. military? Has ______________ stablished any procedures for working with the military? Has the military established any procedures for working with PSCs that ______________ are of?

Page 1 Record of Interview

______________ has established procedures to be used at military checkpoints and when encountering U.S. military convoys. A ______________ representative noted that the PSCs have tried to develop some common procedures for dealing with the military at checkpoints or when they meet convoys however the procedures have not been accepted by MNFI. So as a result each company has established their own procedures and practices.

2. Has ______________ or its employees ever requested military aid or backup? If so, please explain incident and its consequences. What was your opinion of the assistance provided to you by the military?

______________ has never a requested a QRF from the U.S. military but did request assistance from one of the coalition partners and the assistance was never received. ______________ ndicated that they frequently receive medical assistance from the U.S. military and it is always first rate. The medical assistance is rendered without regard for contract or nationality of the contractor.

Have ______________ employees ever provided aid or backup to the military? If so, please explain.
• No

4. Has ______________ noticed any differences in dealing/coordinating with the Marines or coalition military as opposed to the Army?
• Each unit whether the are Marines or Army units have slight differences in
procedures, although all of the procedures are basically the same.

5. Has ______________ suffered any friendly fire incidents with the military or other contractors? Please describe the circumstances around these incidents and any actions the company may have taken to prevent such incidents in the future. To whom are these incidents reported? If these incidents are reported in writing would you make them available to us?
• ______________ has not been involved in any friendly fire incidents in Iraq. (Auditor's note: ______________ does not consider the firing of warning shots by U.S. military as a
friendly fire incident. Warning shots have been fired but ______________ has never had a vehicle damaged or a client or employee injured by U.S. troops so their do not consider that they have been involved in friendly fire. ______________________________________________________________________

6. Have ______________employees discharged small arms or other weapons in performance of contract(s) in Iraq? If so, does ______________ produce a report of these incidents? If these incidents are reported in writing would you make them available to us? • According to ______________there was only one incident when their employees had to fire their weapons and that was in a1-Kut-As it was explained, the philosophy of ______________ is not to fight but to flee, to get their clients out of a dangerous situation as quickly as possible. There vehicles are designed to withstand gun fire and they can run on flat tires, so there is really very little need to exchange fire with the insurgents.

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7. Has ______________ developed its own intelligence/information gathering capability? If yes, to what extent has this intelligence/information been shared with the military?
Also, does the military provide intelligence and security information to ______________
• Information gathering is a core business for ______________ so they have developed a
robust intelligence/information gathering capability which they share with the military and with other PSCs when appropriate.
• Intelligence is provided by the ROC, and the representatives of ______________believe
that the information provided the ROC has improved over the past few months. ______________ will use this information when they are planning movements around the country and when they are going into a new area.

8. Are there any interoperability issues between ______________ and the military?
• Yes, because PSCs and the military can not communicate over radios. However, when wants to contract the military they call the ROC and the ROC contacts the appropriate military unit. They believe that this communications system works fairly well. Also, they have cell phones which may or may not work and satellite which can be used. If they have the necessary numbers etc they can call the military units directly. ______________in-country teams try to get to know the local commanders in areas they are working so that if they require assistance or support they can contact the appropriate people directly. The informal personal contacts and networks were particularly important before the ROC was stood up and provided a central point of contact for all PSCs.

The PCO's ROC, Movement Coordination, and Communication

I. Who is responsible for scheduling convoy and personnel movements? Is there any coordination of movements or activities with the U.S. or coalition military? How does ______________ ensure coordination with the military?
• No answer provided

2. What, if any, is ______________relationship with the Project and Contracting Office's (PCO) Reconstruction Operation Center (ROC) and or Logistics Movement Coordination Center (LMCC)? What services offered by the PCO/ROC does ______________ use? What is the company's opinion of the services provided by the PCO/ROC?

3. Does ______________ have access to other government run operations centers that provide different information than that provided by the ROC? What are the pros and cons of having more than. one operation center available to PSCs?
• No answer provided

4. How does ______________ view the success of the PCO and the ROC? How could the PCO and ROC be improved?

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______________ believes the ROC has been a good addition and it provides a vital service when they need information for route planning etc, As was noted above, the ROC has improved communications between the military and the PSCs and routinely advises the ROC when it is moving about the country

5. Has ______________ utilized the Aegis/PCO website? If so, how helpful is the website?

• No answer provided

6. Does ______________ keep a database of its personnel and their movements in Iraq? What type of information is included in the database? Has ______________shared this information with anyone at the embassy or the military? With the ROC?

• No answer provided

7. Does ______________ write after-action or incident reports? What types of reports regarding security o you issue to your clients? To the PCO's ROC? Are you required to provide after-action or incident reports to the military?

• ______________ does detailed reports of all incidents including traffic addicents, office accidents, and incidents with insurgents, etc. Some reports such as those which document encounters with insurgents are provided to the ROCs.

Interaction with other Private Security Companies

1. Does ______________ have interaction with other private security contractors? If so, please describe this interaction.

• Yes there is some interaction with other PSCs. Forexample, (______________ will share security information with other PSCS if they involved in incidents or come under a new type of attack which might suggest that the insurgents have developed a new M0.

2. Is the Private Security Companies Association of Iraq (PSCAI) still intact and is your company actively involved in the group?

• ______________ helps fund the PSCAI and onsiders a good forum to get competitors together to talk on an open basis.

3. Do you think that PSCAI has helped to convey contractor's issues to the Iraqi government?
• No answer provided

Interaction with the Iraqi Government

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1. Is ______________ registered with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Trade in Iraq? What has your company's experience been with the Iraqi Government?

• ______________is registered with both the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Trade. It took about 9 months to complete the process.

Employees

1. How many U.S. citizens work for ______________ in Iraq? If ______________ employs U.S. citizens in Iraq are any of them former U.S. military? If the company employs former U.S. military were these employees hired when they separated from military or did they work for other PSCs prior to joining ______________
• Currently there is 1 U.S. citizen working in Iraq for ______________

2. What are the employment arrangements for individuals working in Iraq for ______________ Are they company employees or are they independent sub-contractors?
• Most of ______________ employees in Iraq are independent subcontractors under short term contracts and are deemed to be self-employed. This makes terminating easier if they do not meet standards. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ depending on the contract and the nationality of the employees. Employees are only paid when they are in Iraq. Generally employees work 6 weeks in Iraq and then are out of Iraq for about 3 weeks ______________ does not have a problem with other firms poaching their employees because of the "duty of care" they provide.

3. Please provide us with the daily pay rates for employees working in Iraq.

• See above

4. How does ______________vet its employees?

• Western employees such as those from the UK, New Zealand, Australia and the US are vetted using all publicly available sources. In Iraq, Iraq employees are vetted by the private security companies that provide the personnel to ______________ The Iraq
company claims to have a vetting process and ______________ trusts the companies to provide qualified people, however, it has taken over a year to develop this level of trust.

Legal Issues Related to Working in Iraq

1. What is the legal status of ______________ mployees working in Iraq? Do you have any concerns regarding issues of immunity from Iraqi law?

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• ______________ employees are still functioning under the immunity granted in the CPA's orders and memos. ______________id not indicate that it had any concerns regarding immunity issues.

2. Are you aware of the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) and its possible ramifications for your employees (U.S. citizens and otherwise)? Did anyone provide you with information on MEJA? Do you have any concerns regarding MEJA or the application of other U.S. or international laws to your employees? Also, could you provide the following for your non-U.S. work force?

1. Number of non-U.S. citizens working for ______________ n Iraq
• ______________ as between 450 and 500 persons working in Iraq and only 1 is a U.S. citizen.
2. Countries of origin of these employees
• Not provided
3. Number of employees from each country
• Not provided

3. Have any of your employees been accused of committing any crimes while in Iraq? If so, were the incidents investigated by either Iraqi or U.S. authorities? How did ______________ deal with the accusations? What, if any legal steps were taken relating to these accusations, and by whom?

• No employees have been accused of any crimes

4. Are employees of ______________ subject to British criminal laws for acts committed in Iraq?

British employees in Iraq are not subject to British law. There was some discussion in Parliament about passing a MEJA like statute but nothing has come of it.

5. Are you aware of any PSC employees in Iraq being accused or involved with criminal incidents in Iraq? If so, please describe.

• No

Concluding Questions

1. How would you describe the security situation in Iraq? How has the security situation changed in Iraq since began ______________working in Iraq?
• In the last few months there has been a slight decline in incidents in some areas but several other areas are getting worse such as Mousel and Kir Kut.

2. What does ______________ see as issues involving private security contractor activities in Iraq?

3. In the con p view how could the PSC/military relationship in Iraq be improved?

• Continue to improve communications between the military and the PSCs
• Have PSCs provide input to the pre-deployment training ______________ believes that the U.S. military needs a better understanding of why PSCs are in Iraq and the types of services they are providing to both governmental and non-governmental entities.
• State in writing what the military will and will not do for PSCs. Now it is up to each unit commander.

Additional Questions

1. Did any of your contracts require your employees to comply with orders of MNFI relating to health, safety, force protection and non-interference in military operations? What is the impact of this clause in your opinion? For example, does this clause place your employees under the command and control of MNFI? To the best of your knowledge has this clause come into play in Iraq?

None of ______________ contracts have a clause which requires them to comply with orders from MNFI commanders. ______________ would not allow employees to be under the command of the military. ______________ concern is that the military may ask them to take on a role that would be outside their normal business practices and might make their insurance invalid for example. This being said, the company will all ways try to comply with directions that help promote the safety of their clients and their personnel. (Auditor's note: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________