Archive for the 'Military Contractors' Category

The Army’s new light tank can venture where its beefier cousins can’t

1 year, 8 months ago

The Army awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a contract for its Mobile Protected Firepower light tank. (US Army photo)

Popular Science: Via Instapundit.

When it comes to crossing rivers on bridges, all the technology of modern warfare is still bound by the hard limits imposed by the laws of physics—the structure needs to be able to support the vehicle that’s on it. To try to cope with this problem, the Army is investing in a lighter tank than its current battlefield behemoth, the M1 Abrams main battle tank. This new vehicle, which is still known by its descriptive moniker Mobile Protected Firepower, was promoted at the Association of the United States Army conference held in Washington, DC, from October 10-12.

The Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle weighs in at 38 tons, which is heavy by all standards, except it is light compared to the 70 tons of heft of an Abrams tank. That means it can go places the Abrams can’t, expanding how and where the Army can effectively fight war from vehicles. The MPF will also feature fire control and situational awareness sensors, which can allow enemy location data to be shared across vehicles in formation.

The MPF is designed to accompany Infantry Brigade Combat Teams, which are intended primarily for travel on foot. These formations, which consist of between 3,900 to 4,100 people, incorporate some vehicles, but are distinguished from Armored and Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, which use roughly heavy and medium-armored vehicles to transport soldiers and weapons around the battlefield.

Breaking Defense: (from June)

The Mobile Protected Firepower program is part of the Army’s Next-Generation Combat Vehicle portfolio, which is developing future ground vehicles as part of the services’ broader, multi-billion modernization effort that includes the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle.

Optionally Manned Fighting (ground) Vehicles and Unmanned Fighting (ground) Vehicles can now be added to the vernacular that includes UAVs.

The Army’s stated acquisition objective for the program is 504 vehicles. The first production vehicle will be delivered in “just under” 19 months, Dean said, a timetable that roughly hits around December 2023. That timeline is driven in part by the time it takes to get long-lead time parts, Dean said.

Moving into production, the Army and GDLS will have to be diligent to avoid supply chain issues as production ramps up. Dean said the program was already experiencing “challenges” in the supply base.

“We are seeing challenges in the supply base right now both in cost and availability [of] materials, as well as competition for other components, particularly in the electronic space where electronic chips are in big demand,” Dean said, adding the Army had “some comfort” because the proposals had “reasonable control” over their supply chain.

So, General Dynamics can’t get raw materials and parts; why? Aren’t these sourced entirely in the US? Building fighting machines based on a global JIT supply chain seems fairly idiotic. If there’s an actual war, not one of those banker’s wars, mind you, but a real war, how can the United States satisfy its national strategic interests if it can’t build fighting machines and field trained fighting men? America does not appear to be a serious power anymore. The best part of the top photo is the little step stool. Is that for Generals to look down the barrel?

Here’s a scale model from AUSA‘s recent trade show and exhibition:

Also, at the show – (Why do we get the feeling many of these will be used in CONUS?)


TRX Breacher:


Stryker Leonidas:

Better Photo of the Leonidas:

DynCorp’s Involvement In Pizzagate, The Seven-Country Plan, And Who Killed Monica Peterson?

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 5 months ago

Things proceed apace in the #Pizzagate investigation.  Below I’ve linked both David Seaman and George Webb.  I’m glad to see George tying all of this together in his videos.  It’s a tangled web and it takes quite a while to comprehend the wickedness and scope of the project.  Before we get to the videos, let’s discuss some details of DynCorp’s involvement with The Clinton Foundation and the so-called seven country plan (where TCF and private armies were to topple seven countries in five years as a part of a play for weapons, children and oil).  Actually, I won’t describe the seven-country plan, you need to watch George Webb’s videos for that.  But it’s clear that DynCorp has played a significant role with TCF.  In fact, the plan is moving forward as we speak.  You understand, right?  There is a shadow government at work that is different than the transient government.  The things you are watching in history are a function of the shadow government.

There is no question that there are Senators involved in this plan, and without further information you may suspect those Senators who press the hardest on “Russian hacking the election” to be involved the deepest in global chaos.  There is also no question that it is being led by The Clinton Foundation, with involvement by the CIA and State Department, and along with an army of Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS fighters.

But the military side of things (aside from the more formal bombing campaign of the coast of North Africa which was led by a NATO general who was recently killed under very suspicious circumstances) must be managed by someone with a military background.  That someone appears more and more to be DynCorp.

DynCorp has had contracts in Haiti, and apparently is linked to the State Department in underage human trafficking.  Furthermore, has sustained a hack attempt by DynCorp (and possibly Raytheon).  DynCorp has a history in nefarious behavior.  First, consider the incident discussed between Cheryl Mills and Hillary Clinton.  The incident occurred in 2009.

According to my reporting, the week of April 13th, the DynCorp regional commander from Konduz, Flint Chambers, allowed his men to hire a 15-year-old boy dancer to do tribal dances at a DynCorp party on the training site. Some 15 or so DynCorp employees in attendance pulled out a single chair and had the boy do mock lap dances. This was captured on video. The video shows DynCorp employees putting dollar bills in the boy’s waistband, just as they would a stripper’s garter. The revelry lasted about 45 minutes.   The video was leaked by Mike Gonzalez to another DynCorp employee who emailed the video to Martin. Flint Chambers retaliated against Mike by spitting in his face, pushing him to the ground in front of the DynCorp security building in Kabul.

It goes wider and deeper.

One refrain we keep hearing against Wikileaks is that the cable releases aren’t really “whistleblowing,” because they’re not really revealing anything. However, it seems like each day there’s another big revelation of rather horrible things being done (and covered up) by the US government. The latest, pointed out by Boing Boing, involves a report from a cable that US-based private security contractor DynCorp, who was hired by the US to train Afghani police, was apparently supplying drugs and young boys for a sort of sex party.

With every dot that is connected by a researcher, every hack attempt by a military contractor, every deleted #Pizzagate post at Voat, every de-monitized YouTube video, and every frozen PayPal account (see David Seaman’s Video below), the nefarious actors convince us more and more that we’re on the right track.  And DynCorp is a major player.

Nick Bryant, author of The Franklin Scandal, says to “proceed with caution” to the researchers of The Clinton Foundation, #Pizzagate and the seven-country plan.  Very well.  I carry a tactical knife and two guns at a time now.  But I won’t be dissuaded.  You see I’m a Calvinist, and I believe that I won’t live one second longer than my appointed time on earth.  The corollary is that I will live every second of my appointed life, much to the chagrin of my haters.  DynCorp and The Clinton Foundation are not in control of my future.  DynCorp doesn’t make me one bit nervous.  If DynCorp wants to follow me around, very well.  Remember Herschel’s Dictum.

Attempts to dissuade David Seaman don’t seem to impress him either.  So there is no turning back from this citizen investigation.  But it’s worth a good education, yes?

Ask yourself this question, patriots and gun owners.  If a military contractor who is comprised in the main of former U.S. SpecOps and Special Forces is willing to traffic humans and kill in the name of weapons, money and oil, what makes you think that collecting guns door to door will be any different?  What makes you think that anyone in such an organization has any respect for God given rights such as bearing arms?  And what makes you think that you or your children won’t be subject to such mercenary armies in the future?

I think you know the answer to those questions.  Trump has given us time.  The swamp is a function of fallen human nature, and cannot be completely drained.  I think you understand that.


Pizzagate XV

Planeload of FBI Agents Sent To Iceland To Frame Julian Assange

Pizzagate XIII: Who Really Leaked The DNC And Podesta EMails To Wikileaks?

Pizzagate XII

Pizzagate XI

Pizzagate X

Pizzagate IX

Pizzagate VIII

Pizzagate VII

Pizzagate VI

Pizzagate V: Pizzagate In Theological Perspective

Pizzagate IV

Pizzagate III

Pizzagate II


Friends, Relationships and Changes

BY Herschel Smith
13 years ago

Tim Lynch gives us some bad news.

This will be my last post.  I’m afraid the blog has become too popular raising my personal profile too high.  We have had to change everything in order to continue working.  How we move, how we live, our security methodology;  all of it has been fine tuned.   Part of that change is allowing the FRI blog to go dark.  I have no choice; my colleagues and I signed contracts, gave our word, and have thousands of Afghan families who have bet their futures on our promises.  If we are going to remain on the job we have to maintain a low profile and that is hard to do with this blog.

This is hard news for me to hear.  While I understand the decision, I sincerely regret that Tim has come to this fork in the road.  Tim’s honesty, integrity, wisdom, insight, experience and knowledge of the situation makes his web site one of the very few must reads for those who follow Afghanistan.  Tim continues:

As is always the case the outside the wire internationals are catching it from all sides.  In Kabul the Afghans have jailed the country manager of Global Security over having four unregistered weapons in the company armory.   When the endemic corruption in Afghanistan makes the news or the pressure about it is applied diplomatically the Afghans always respond by throwing a few Expat security contractors in jail.  Remember that the next time our legacy media tries to spin a yarn about “unaccountable” security companies and the “1000 dollar a day” security contractor business both of which are now fictions of the liberal media imagination.

With time comes progress; especially on the big box FOB’s; but progress has served us quiet the dilemma.  We depend on our two fixed wing planes for transportation around the country.  Sometimes we are forced to overnight on one of the big box FOB’s where random searches for contraband in contractor billeting is routine.  All electronic recording equipment; cell phones, PDA’s laptops, cameras, etc… are all supposed to be registered in base with the security departments. But we aren’t assigned to these bases and cannot register our equipment.  Being caught with it means it could confiscated, being caught with a weapon would result in arrest by base MP’s.  Weapons license’s from the Government of Afghanistan aren’t recognized by ISAF; at least not on the big bases.

I’m not bitching because I understand why things are the way they are.  The military has had serious problems with shootings in secure areas.  Not one of those has been committed by an armed Expat but that fact is irrelevant.  Both the British and Americans have armed contractors working for them who have gone through specified pre-deployment  training and have official “arming authority”.  Afghan based international security types may or may not have any training and they certainly do not have DoD or MoD arming authority.  A legally licensed and registered weapon is no more welcomed on a military base in Afghanistan then it would be on a base in America.  Try walking around one with a legally concealed weapon and see what happens if you’re detected.  Just because you have a concealed carry permit doesn’t mean you’re welcomed to carry a loaded weapon onto a military installation in America.

But it should.  Having a concealed weapon permit should in fact mean that you can legally carry on military installations in the U.S.  If concealed carry was allowed Major Hasan might not have been able to pull off the carnage that he did.  Furthermore, regular readers know that I have advocated that Marines and Soldiers (other than just SAW gunners) carry side arms.  But even if I disagree with the policy, Tim is working within the system.  Continuing:

So it is time for me to go from blogsphere. After this contract it will be time for me to physically go.  I have a childlike faith in the ability of Gen Allen to come in and make the best of the situation he finds on the ground.  Maybe I’ll stick around to see it for myself – we have a long summer ahead and much can change.  But staying here means going back to Ghost Team mode.

I want to thank all of the folks who have participated in the comments section, bloggers Matt from Feral Jundi, Old Blue from Afghan Quest, Michael Yon, Joshua Foust from, Herschel Smith from The Captains Journal and Kanani from The Kitchen Dispatch for their support and kind email exchanges.  Baba Ken of the Synergy Strike Force for hosting me, Jules who recently stepped in to provide much needed editing, and Amy Sun from the MIT Fab Lab for getting me started and encouraging me along the way.  Your support meant an awful lot to me; I’m going to miss not being part of the conversation.

This is an interesting list of journalists, analysts and bloggers.  There are other admirable and prolific journalists whom I follow, e.g., Sebastian Junger and C. J. Chivers.  But none of the other journalists have contacted me, nor have any others answered my e-mails (Bing West, Tony Perry, David Wood, etc.) .  Many journalists make themselves highly inaccessible.

Not so for analyst and blogger Joshua Foust, and certainly not so for Michael Yon.  I have developed a relationship with both Michael Yon and Tim Lynch that means a lot to me, and it isn’t necessarily I who have contributed most of the work.  That’s what’s so significant about this.  Tim and those on his list are genuinely good guys.

I truly want Tim not to be a stranger, and I am honored that he made mention of me in his last post.  I will cherish that.  Take note that Michael Yon begins another embed on June 2 or thereabouts.  But there is one more person whom I want to mention.  I am embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until well into his captivity that I learned that James Foley (who writes for the Global Post) had been kidnapped in Libya.  Jim has now been released, and I am thankful for his safe return.  Jim is also a genuinely good guy, and I used his work in The Five Hundred Meter War (as well as other work by Jim in other posts).  Jim was eager to strike up a relationship with me via e-mail, and offered up kind words to me from day one.

I expect (and hope) that my friends stay in touch with me, and I also appreciate my readers.  I believe that I have some of the best on the web.  I appreciate your following my musings and analysis even as I evolve the web site into coverage and commentary on firearms and second amendment rights, as well as political observations.  But I will always cover and analyze military affairs, and especially the Marine Corps.  Ten years from now, when others have forgotten about Iraq and Afghanistan, I will still be following them, God willing, and if I’m still alive and writing.  And the Lance Corporal in the field under fire will always have an advocate in me.

Karzai Bans Security Firms

BY Herschel Smith
13 years, 8 months ago

We have been stupid and allowed Hamid Karzai to do what he threatened to do in the interest of trying to create the perception of a viable government in Kabul.

The Afghan government said yesterday it has started dissolving private security businesses in the country by taking steps to end the operations of eight companies, including the one formerly known as Blackwater and three other international contractors.

“We have very good news for the Afghan people today,’’ presidential spokesman Waheed Omar told reporters in the capital. “The disbanding of eight private security firms has started.’’

Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced in August that private security contractors would have to cease operations by the end of the year — wiping out an industry with tens of thousands of guards who protect military convoys, government officials, and businesspeople.

Some security contractors have been criticized for operating more like private militias, and the government said it could not have armed groups that were independent of the police or military forces.

The eight companies include Xe Services, the North Carolina-based contractor formerly called Blackwater, and NCL Holdings LLC of Virginia, Four Horsemen International of New Mexico, and Compass International of London, Omar said.

Two large Afghan companies, White Eagle Security Services and Abdul Khaliq Achakzai, are on the list. The remaining two companies are small operations with fewer than 100 employees, so he declined to name them.

Omar said many of the companies had turned in weapons, some voluntarily. He did not say why the eight had been chosen as the first to be closed down, and if any international companies had actually left the country. A statement issued by the president’s office was more strongly worded, saying that the process of closing down the eight companies was “almost complete.’’

An owner of White Eagle, Sayed Maqsud, said his company had handed over weapons for a contract that was completed but was still employing guards under another contract.

“We are not shut down. Only we gave up 340 weapons,’’ Maqsud said, explaining that the company’s contract to guard fuel convoys for American troops in southern Helmand province had ended. He said he fired 530 guards who had been working under that program when the contract finished and handed over the guns to the government.

However, he said they have another 1,200 guards protecting cellphone towers for South Africa-based mobile phone company MTN, with plans to continue that unless the government says they have to close down.

Karzai’s original decree on private security companies gave an exemption to companies that guard the compounds of international embassies or organizations. It was unclear what this means for companies on the list that also have contracts to guard US government installations or other diplomatic missions.

Omar said the government was focused on security companies that are providing protection for highways or convoys, not those training Afghan forces or guarding embassies. He said the national security forces are not yet able to protect embassies and international organizations.

The US Embassy in Kabul said it was looking into what the decision would mean for US government contracts.

The Afghan government has estimated that 30,000 to 40,000 armed security guards are working in the country. The Interior Ministry has 52 security companies licensed, but some older contracts are still being completed by unlicensed operations. About half of the companies are Afghan-owned.

I’m sure that this will end well.  I’m sure that this is “very good news for the Afghan people.”  I’m sure that the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police will be able to fill the gap.  And you know all about the Taliban having infiltrated the ANA and ANP, right?  And you know all about the inability of NGOs to perform their function due to the increase in security incidents, right?

I’m sure that this will end well for the campaign.

Concerning Military Contractors

BY Herschel Smith
13 years, 9 months ago

Hamid Karzai has ordered the disbanding of military contractors in Afghanistan.  I had written and asked Tim Lynch for his reaction, and he gives it to us here.

As the fighting season continues the good guys are losing more land and population to the various insurgent groups operating in the country.  Teams of doctors are being murdered in the remote provinces, attacks are launch inside the ANP “Ring of Steel” anytime the Taliban feels like it, and so where is the focus of the Afghan government?  On private security companies of course… yes why not?  Now is exactly the right time to make all PSC’s illegal and let the ANP and ministry of the interior (MOI) provide security to convoy’s military bases, and all the mobile security for internationals working in the reconstruction sector.  Ignoring that there are not enough Afghan security forces to go around as it is and also that their proficiency in preforming these tasks is suspect (to put it politely) what about the money?  We already pay for the ANP and ANA – if they are going to provide mobile and static security then I guess the millions of dollars being paid to private companies will no longer be needed right?  Right.  The problem is one can predict with 100% certainty what will happen if President Karzai goes through with this crazy scheme.  The logistics pipeline will start to rapidly dry up , internationals will be unable to move without their (mandated by contract) expat security teams and their projects will ground to a halt.  Military operations will have to be suspended because there will not be enough Afghan Security Forces to both fight and provide theater wide static and mobile security support. And of course there are yet more millions of dollars to add another chapter in the long saga of wasted OPM (other peoples money) by our respective governments.

I cannot for the life of me imagine how this law is going to work out.  There are (in my opinion) more international PSD teams then needed – why do EuPol police officers need PSD teams to drive them around Kabul?  They have guns and armored vehicles already and should be capable of taking care of themselves.  Why do the contract police trainers needs a whole section of dedicated PSD specialists? It is a crazy waste of money to have armed international PSD teams guarding armed ISAF personnel but it is also currently a contractual requirement.  For companies working outside the wire in the reconstruction sector the absence of international PSD teams will also have a huge impact on the ability to get insurance for their internationals at reasonable rates.  At exactly the time that internationals operating outside the wire need to be armed the laws are changing to make it illegal for internationals who are not ISAF military members to be armed.  How are we supposed to operate now?

Tim is accurate and smart in his assessment as always, but he is just being nice to Karzai.  Hamid Karzai is a stooge, and there is no possible way that this will work.  Logistics and force protection will break down.  We don’t have enough troops as it is, and that goes for contractors too.  Standing down even a portion of either category will spell death to the campaign.  In fact, there are approximately as many contractors as there are troops in Afghanistan, doing everything from intelligence to cooking, from force protection to FOB construction, from fire fighting to translation.  Whether KBR, Xe, Triple Canopy, Dyncorp, or smaller companies like Free Range International, contractors are needed, and needed badly.  Karzai’s plan will be stopped  before being implemented.

But that doesn’t mean that military contractors won’t be bilked by the U.S. government.  I am no defender of any particular company, and I have no dog in any particular fight.  I owe no one anything, and so Erik Prince can solve his own problems.  Xe (Blackwater) has never given me anything, and they don’t know me.  But the folks at the State Department do, and I get regular visits from their network domain.  “Show me the money” is the latest topic of interest.

That’s right.  The State Department has reached an agreement with Blackwater.

Blackwater, the private security firm founded by Holland native Erik Prince, reportedly has reached a $42 million settlement with the State Department over what is described as “hundreds of violations of United States export control violations.”

According to the New York Times:

The violations included illegal weapons exports to Afghanistan, making unauthorized proposals to train troops in south Sudan and providing sniper training for Taiwanese police officers, according to company and government officials familiar with the deal.The deal would relieve Blackwater, now called Xe Services, from the possibility of facing criminal charges. Paying the fines will allow the firm to continue doing government contract work.

It does not, however, excuse Blackwater/Xe from the other legal issues currently pending, among them the indictment of former executives on weapons and obstruction charges and allegations the firm bribed Iraqi officials to win favor following the infamous 2007 slaying of 17 civilians.

The BBC provided more details on the more than 300 alleged violations:

• The investigation covered Blackwater’s business practices from 2005-2009 and found the company guilty of violating provisions of firearms licenses, violating terms of authorizations involving military or security training, unauthorized export of technical data and defense articles and record-keeping violations, among other things.

• A 2007 violation had national-security implications. Specifically, the company intentionally failed to disclose biographical information on Taiwanese nationals being trained as snipers. Similar instances appeared throughout the list of violations.

• In 2008, more than 100 weapons were missing or unaccounted for in Iraq. Elsewhere, weapons intended for U.S. military use were diverted to Blackwater employees.

Oooo.  Weapons charges.  Sort of like, you know, they had automatic weapons in a war zone, or something?  I’m sure that the State Department will want them to relinquish all automatic weapons.  But wait … maybe not.  You know, there is that little thing of U.S. troops being withdrawn from Iraq, and the State Department needing force protection.  From 6000 to 7000 more contractors in Iraq.  That’s how many.  The $42 million might go a long way towards funding this expense.

When private citizens do it it’s called extortion.  When the government does it it’s called arbitration.

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