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Private Military Security Contractors

Servicing the State Department

David Isenberg | Posted 10.02.2012 | Politics
David Isenberg

Sometimes, in all that is said and written about the use of private contractors in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, people forget that it is not just the Defense Department that uses them.

Undercounting Contractor Casualties in Iraq

David Isenberg | Posted 09.29.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

A new report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) provides some detail on the sacrifices made by private contractors who...

PMSC Not Ready for U.N. Prime Time

David Isenberg | Posted 09.10.2012 | Politics
David Isenberg

For many years now, private military and security contractor (PMSC) advocates have argued that utilization of PMSC in United Nations peace operations offers an alternative to doing nothing or trying to organize a frequently dysfunctional U.N.-sponsored, often ill-equipped and organized intervention.

An American Foreign Legion

David Isenberg | Posted 08.27.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

Gee, why should have the French have all the fun? By that, I mean the French Foreign legion, the venerable French Army unit, exclusively created for foreign nationals willing to serve in the French Armed Forces, which is an enduring staple of literature, movies, and pop culture.

Chapter 12 Redux

David Isenberg | Posted 08.15.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

While ultimately the article proved to lack sufficient corroboration to prove its point the ISOA complaint process could only be called, charitably speaking, laughable.

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Blackwater Appeal -- What Does This Mean for the Accountability of Private Military Firms?

Natasha Kuilak Mellersh | Posted 08.08.2012 | World
Natasha Kuilak Mellersh

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to dismiss the manslaughter and weapons charges against the four defendants Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Donald Ball and has declined to comment.

The Price of Sacrifice

David Isenberg | Posted 07.24.2012 | Politics
David Isenberg

Since advocates argue that of private contractors frequently act just as meritoriously and valorously as regular military personnel, excluding contractors from receiving medals means contractors are not seen as part of an honored class.

Milo Minderbinder in Afghanistan: Part 1

David Isenberg | Posted 07.18.2012 | Books
David Isenberg

Milo Minderbinder is the war profiteer from Catch 22, "perhaps the best known of all fictional profiteers" in American lit. He was a parody of the American dream and a satire of the modern businessman. Kind of reminds you of the definition of a mercenary, doesn't it?

Maybe This Is Why the PMSC Industry Is Supposedly Cost-Effective

David Isenberg | Posted 07.15.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

The article recounts how private security firms won lucrative contracts to supply support staff and security guards to back up U.S. forces in Iraq. The firms recruited Ugandans and pushed them to the limit, on low pay and no benefits.

DynCorp Does Due Diligence

David Isenberg | Posted 07.11.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

Dyncorp's new Supply Chain organization, stood up last year, has introduced several tools that are updated regularly to evaluate subcontractors on an ongoing basis.

Hotel Contingency Operation: Money Can Check in but It Can Never Leave

David Isenberg | Posted 07.10.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

On April 17, the Contracting Oversight Subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing. The subject was the Comprehensive Contingency Contracting Reform Act of 2012.

The Code Is More What You'd Call 'Guidelines'

David Isenberg | Posted 07.03.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

As I've said before, codes of conduct are better than nothing, but lacking enforcement or the means to exact consequences, if the code is violated, not much more so. Let's just say that codes have a certain amount of elasticity.

SIGIR Speaks

David Isenberg | Posted 06.30.2012 | World
David Isenberg

According to the Defense Department, if you include the OSC-I contractors, the total for private security contractors rises to 3,577. The takeaway is that after all these years the U.S. government still has problems tracking the number of contractors working in Iraq.

Chapter Twelve

David Isenberg | Posted 06.29.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

Considering that Chapter 12 is best known as a chapter of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the authors may have wished for another chapter number. On the other hand, considering the gap between some claims and evidence, perhaps it is appropriate.

Data at Last, Data at Last: Thank God Almighty, Data at Last (Sort of)

David Isenberg | Posted 06.26.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

One wonders why all the PMSC trade association crack analysts and interns have not been publicizing his work. After all it is not every day that one finds factual data supporting, at least partially, their claims. Oh well, perhaps they're on a long coffee break or out for a run.

PSC = Putin [Authorized] Security Contractor

David Isenberg | Posted 06.18.2012 | World
David Isenberg

In the Russian Federation, there are no laws specifically regulating the conduct of PMSC abroad. But that is not to say there are no relevant laws.

Nothing to See Here... Move Along... Move Along

David Isenberg | Posted 06.16.2012 | Home
David Isenberg

The implication of the above legalese is that it is dangerous to try and extend U.S. jurisdiction into new and untested parts of other nations. Not only does this shaky ground offend every possible conception of national sovereignty, but it seriously damages the proper pursuit of justice.

Soldier or Contractor? It Doesn't Matter; in the End Both Still Get Screwed

David Isenberg | Posted 06.12.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

Despite all the attention paid to the use of private military and security contractors on battlefields it is true, as many in that industry say, that it is not that new; at least not as an organizational phenomenon.

A Triple Play on Improving Oversight for Better Contracting

David Isenberg | Posted 06.11.2012 | Politics
David Isenberg

The core argument of all private military and security contractor advocates is that they can do things more cheaply and efficiently than the public sector. But the problem is that most PMSC advocates assert this all the time, often without evidence.

Some Things Are Just Unacceptable

David Isenberg | Posted 06.02.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

This is not some merely some picayune issue for bureaucrats to fuss over. As Sen. Portman testified, "This is about something much more fundamental, and that's who we are as a people. It's about respecting and protecting human dignity."

But That Is Another Story

David Isenberg | Posted 05.30.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

Perhaps the private military and security industry is right; maybe using contractors IS more cost-effective than using regular military folks. But is that really the case?

What's in a Name? That Which We Call a Roseate PMSC

David Isenberg | Posted 05.15.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

Still the vagueness, regardless of how deliberate it may be, of many firms has often bugged me. Perhaps it is because I'm a Capricorn but I prefer directness. And I think most people actually do understand that the world being what it is that there is a need for guys with guns.

I Have a Dream: An International Legal Treaty

David Isenberg | Posted 05.07.2012 | Politics
David Isenberg

Almost nobody talks about an international treaty for private military and security contractors. Still, one can only speculate on what an international legal treaty might look like.

To Use or Not to Use PSMC: That is the Question

David Isenberg | Posted 04.29.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

So just because you can't do it yourself you assume the contractor you hire does a great job? Now, that is not a criticism of DynCorp. For all anyone knows it might have done a terrific job.

0 + 1 + 0 + 0 + 0 = DynCorp

David Isenberg | Posted 04.24.2012 | Business
David Isenberg

if an actual person working for DynCorp, or any other contractor, received ratings like this on their performance assessment the door would be hitting them in the back as they left the office. Yet DynCorp still gets government contracts.