State Department Outsources Billions in ‘Security Services’ to Mercenary Firms

Since 2000, the State Department has spent $17.7 billion on contracts with private companies for “security services.” More than 74,000 contracts have been inked over that time. Defense giants like Lockheed Martin are among the companies who have received these contracts, but “miscellaneous foreign contractors” have received by far the most contracts. This mysterious designation has been used since 2000 for 31,455 contracts issued by the State Department for “security services” valued at more than $723 million.

According to an article in Stars & Stripes, an unnamed Pentagon official told Aerospace Daily that pseudonym was authorized for “classified contracts, to protect vendors, like translators, who might be put at risk if their work with the American military were made public, or to cover small overseas transactions with vendors who didn’t have a unique business ID, called a DUNS number, on file with the U.S. government – ‘the donkey-rental guy in the middle of the desert,’ the official added by way of illustration.”

The amount that the State Department has spent on security services has steadily climbed since 2000. That year $45 million in contracts was issued, and in 2001 and 2002 contracts increased to $93.8 million and $144.7 million. After a decrease in contracts in 2003, ($102.9) the real boom came in 2004 after the invasion of Iraq. That year $609.5 million in contracts were issued. With almost a yearly increase, by 2011 $3.2 billion in contracts were issued. Among the products associated with security services are “administrative support services,” “other professional services,” and “guard services.” Since 2000 the State Department has issued 3,000 contracts for guard services valued at $5 billion.

In the current fiscal year, the State Department has issued $1.5 billion in contracts for security services. $66 million has been issued to “miscellaneous foreign contractors.” Among those identified private security firms contracted by the State Department is the mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater. As Guerrilla Blog reported last week, in the current fiscal year the company rebranded as Academi has received $40 million in contracts from the State Department. That included $16.5 million and $6 million contracts for security services in Afghanistan.

Triple Canopy Inc. has received more than $77.5 million in contracts during the 2012 fiscal year. When Academi was expelled from Iraq after many incidents including the Nisour Square Massacre, Triple Canopy was assigned their contracts by the State Department. This year the company has received four contracts for security services in Iraq. They include contracts for security services in Basrah and Erbil valued at $1.8 million apiece. Additional, two contracts for protective security services for the US Embassy in Baghdad were awarded to Triple Canopy, worth $60 million and $13.9 million.

During an interview on Democracy Now! in 2009, Jeremy Scahill reported that the Obama Administration had “has decided on its mercenary firm of choice.” Triple Canopy, a private security firm originally headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, was founded in 2003 by Thomas Katis, Matthew Mann and John Peters. The company’s founders all served in the US military Special Forces. Like Academi, the company has its own dark past. The Washington Post reported that a Triple Canopy mercenary allegedly fired twice into Iraqi civilian vehicles in 2005 killing one person. Also like Academi, Triple Canopy has in the past recruited soldiers from around Latin America, including from Peru, Chile, Colombia, and El Salvador.

The State Department has issued additional security contracts to other private security firms in the current fiscal year. Global Integrated Security received contracts worth more than $1 million for protective services for US Consulate General in Basrah, Iraq. International Development Solutions was awarded with more than $600,000 in contracts for protective security services in Israel. Af Ushering Services provided security services at the Mccormick Place Convention Center in support of the NATO Summit held in Chicago, the contract was valued at $466,000.

Even while the war in Iraq has ended and the war in Afghanistan is supposedly winding down, private security firms will likely continue to guard diplomats and US embassies. Additionally, according to IBISWorld Industry Report on Security Services in the US, the private security industry is projected to grow 6% in 2012 which is the highest increase in nine years. Local governments, municipalities, and even individuals have been utilizing private security. It’s only a matter of time before the outsourcing of law enforcement comes to a town near you.

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