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Outsourcing peacekeepers

We’ve all heard about the wonderful things that private security contractors are doing in Iraq. I haven’t heard much about…

By Leslie Young , in 21st Century State-Building Blogs , on February 13, 2008

We’ve all heard about the wonderful things that private security contractors are doing in Iraq. I haven’t heard much about what they’re doing in Africa.

Apparently it’s worth at least a billion dollars though.

The U.S. is looking for private bids on a $1 billion contract for its AFRICAP program, to help train peacekeepers and provide military logistics in Africa. There aren’t any details on exactly what the contract entails, which the Danger Room seems to think might be an indication of how it’s managed to fly under the radar.

In a speech in 2003, Theresa Whelan, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, explained why they use private contractors in a nice little list of pros and cons, which I will summarize below. I think this list is a pretty good indication of how government thinks about the issue.



  • Fast
  • Cheap
  • Easy…. diplomatically, that is

This could explain some of the problems we’re seeing in Iraq. Here’s hoping they don’t crop up in Africa too.


  • The Africap contract hasn’t been below the radar for everyone. We all understood that once Africom was stood up, there would be opportunities for supplying all the same goods and services supplied throughout the other commands. Those of us in the logistic support industry have been anticipating this for over a year.
    The big concern amongst indusrty small companies is whether companies like Dyn and PAE have already wrapped up the Africa contracts before they’re even released. As an example, the IG report on Dyn’s management of a contract in Iraq (CIVPOL) cited the govt contracting officer who had overseen Dyn contracts for 12 years without a break (in contravention to DOS policies) when questioned about certain discrepancies resigned and went to work for Dyn at a huge salary increase. On this same contract ,questions were raised by Sen. Waxman’s committee about equipment and millions of dollars that were unaccounted for. Well inspite of all the questionable activity, the recompete of this contract was just awarded to Dyn (again). A govt official responded that Dyn had messed it up so they felt that Dyn should fix it. That’s like saying that the mechanic I paid a $1,000 dollars to, messed up my car so I’ll give him another $1,500 and make him fix it. Now the re-award of that contract was under the radar! Maybe someone should ask Waxman what he thinks about it. Waxman’s report and the CIVPOL IG reports are on the internet for anyone that wants to see them.

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