War (Business) Is Hell

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Nifty contract solicitation posted Friday by the U.S. Special Operations Command. You know, the guys who got Osama bin Laden. They need local Afghan security guards to protect their “(firebases, village stability platforms, etc.)” as the U.S. special forces go about their business. You may recall that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly pushed for security be provided by Afghans.

Two things seem to permeate the contract’s terms — employment can be an effective counter-insurgency tool, and we don’t trust you. Here are some illustrative passages:

— Contractors must understand that the Afghan Security Guards SHALL NOT aim or point their weapons at U.S., Coalition, or Afghanistan National Security Forces. [emphasis in the original]

— Security guards are not allowed to engage in inherently governmental activities…Any activity that requires more than a response in self-defense to a hostile attack is inherently governmental.

— While on duty, all guards shall have a minimum basic unit load of 150 rounds of ammunition on their person if assigned an AK-47, 210 rounds of 5.56mm ball if assigned an M-4 rifle, and 30 rounds of pistol ammunition.

— Ammunition shall not be modified any way that will cause it go further or do more damage to personnel.

— Modifications include but are not limited to crossing the ammunitions tips, drilling the center of the bullets to make it similar to a hollow point round or adding additional powder to the casing to increase performance/distances.

— It shall be emphasized that they shall not shoot or otherwise harm U.S. military or civilian personnel but must instead report them to the proper Command authority as outlined in the SOP.

— When applicable, the contractor shall maximize the employment of incumbent guards at each location. To do so, the contractor shall give the right of first refusal to 100% of the incumbent workforce including supervisors and site managers. Additionally, the contractor should hire a minimum of 75% of its guard force from within a 50-kilometer radius of the location requiring security; subcontracting opportunities should also be afforded to those companies within 50-Kilometers of the location requiring security.

— At the very least, all guards recruited and subcontractors shall come from the local population where the sites are located; however, contractors may not recruit exclusively from a single village or tribe.

— Tribal Elders acceptance or “by in” of hiring plans and subcontracting plans is essential to the success of the security operations in areas surrounding the installations where the services shall be performed. The intent of this is to retain stable, civil cooperation with the local political figures within the region to sustain high levels of force protection.

— Absent specific authorization, Security Guards shall not carry firearms concealed.

— The contractor shall provide payment to all guards no later than the 5th day of each month. A by-name listing of personnel not paid and/or not paid in full (along with an explanation of how much and why) shall be provided to the COR no later than the 10th day of each month. Monthly payroll records, in English, shall be maintained with each employee’s signature to validate payments made to each guard. All pay records shall be made available to the COR and/or the Contracting Officer immediately upon request. Afghan guards shall not be paid more than wages of an equally rated Afghani National Security Force member. Each security guard shall receive adequate pay to retain them as an employee; receive an adequate cost of living increase for each year that they work under any given contract.

— Contractor shall be responsible for maintaining an on-hand supply of ammunition appropriate to the local threat and rate of consumption.

— Duties include, without limitation, manning ECPs, tower guards, checkpoints, and other static positions; conducting vehicle and personnel searches; conducting security sweeps inside the installation, and assisting with minor Force Protection upgrades with in the immediate vicinity of the perimeter.

— Contractor personnel that are identified as a threat shall be immediately terminated by the Contractor, and at a minimum, the individual will be removed and barred from post.

— Contractor personnel shall not be permitted to eat in US Government dining facilities.

— Contractor shall designate a company uniform or dress code in accordance with Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) law that is distinctive from US, Afghanistan, or Coalition Forces uniforms. Contractor’s uniform must be recognizable on sight and properly worn throughout the course of each person’s duty day. Uniforms shall not be of a camouflage nature.

— Operations shall run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

— Contracted security personnel always maintain their ability to exercise self defense against hostile acts or demonstrated hostile intent, but are not authorized to undertake offensive operations.

— The Government may, at any time, terminate its security contract with Contractor if Contractor and/or its personnel act contrary to force protection standards.

— All Contractor personnel shall be subject to random screening to ensure that they do not have anti-coalition and/or subversive intentions.

— Personnel who fail a screening shall be immediately removed from the OP.

— No Contractor personnel shall have in their possession maps of the installations (whether professionally or personally made), cameras, or other memory type devices. Personnel found in possession of such materials shall be immediately removed from the OP.

— No Contractor personnel, management or otherwise, is permitted to have privately-owned cell phones or computers on the OP and personnel determined to be in violation of this paragraph shall be immediately removed from the OP.