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Sié Chéou-Kang CenterPrivate Security Monitor

Afghan female police recruits carry out a training exercise at the police academy in Kabul, Afghanistan overseen by private contractors.

United States

Department of State Regulations

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security of the State Department is responsible for the protection of State Department personnel and facilities in the U.S. and abroad. The State Department has become increasingly reliant on the private sector; approximately 90 percent of all Diplomatic Security personnel are contractors. In addition to hiring contractor protective service details for U.S. and foreign government high-level officials, the State Department uses security contractors to protect embassies, other government offices, and U.S. installations abroad.

The State Department regulates it use of private security services through a number of ways, though the primary vehicle used to control private security contractors is the contract. These contracts, named the Worldwide Protective Services (WPS) contracts, include specifications for hiring, vetting, and training security personnel. The State Department monitors contract compliance and performance through written evaluations. In addition, each contract requires the contractor to provide the State Department with status reports, incident reports, and other pertinent information. However, U.S. government audits of State Department oversight of security contractors have revealed deficiencies in the Department's application of the contracts to work in the field. The State Department has been working since these reports were issued and through the present day to remedy these issues and incorporate lessons learned into new WPS contracts.

State Department-funded security contractors are also subject to department-wide policies and policies developed by each Embassy, and by rules promulgated by other U.S. agencies. 

Reports issued by the State Department

Special Reports

2014 Annual Report of the Government of the United States of America for the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative

Author: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
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This 2015 report by the US DoS outlines the previous year's initiatives in complying with the Voluntary Principles Strategy 2014-2016. This strategy provides a framework of indicators to validate the government's commitment to the VPs.  The report states that the US government achieved many of their stated goals including outreach and implementation to encourage other countries to comply with the VPs, increased accountability, and clarification of roles and responsibilities.  The document also includes procedures and guidelines for the implementation of the VPs domestically and internationally.

Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Joint Report to Congress on Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan

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This report is submitted in response to section 835 of the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011. The report covers a number of issues including the total number of contracts awarded in Iraq and Afghanistan, the total number of active contracts, the total value of all contacts, and the total number of contractor personnel working on contracts at the end of each quarter of the reporting period.

State Department Accountability Review Board Investigation Discusses Security and Private Security in Benghazi

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This report examines whether the November 12, 2012 attacks in Benghazi were security related; whether security systems and procedures were adequate and implemented properly; the impact of intelligence and information availability; whether any other facts or circumstances in these cases may be relevant to appropriate security management of U.S. missions worldwide; and, finally, whether any U.S. government employee or contractor her or his duty.

Diplomatic Security: Year 2012 in Review

Author: U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security
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The Bureau of Diplomatic Security chronicles the security challenges that drove security evolutions in the U.S. Department of State (DS) in numerous ways in 2012. Above all, DS hired 330 new private security contractors, and Overseas Security Advisory Council conducted nearly 3,500 security consultation with the private sectors.

Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Joint Report on Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan

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This report is submitted in response to section 835 of the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011. Under section 835, the Secretaries of Defense and State and Administrator of USAID are required to provide annual updates to Congress on a number of issues, including the total number of contracts awarded in Iraq and Afghanistan; the total number of active contracts; the total value of all contracts; and the total number of contractor personnel working on contracts at the end of each quarter of the reporting period. In this report the agencies claim to have standardized their information-gathering and reporting methods in response to criticism from the Government Accountability Office. The agencies note that contractor compliance in reporting casualty data through the Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) continues to be a challenge. In response, the agencies reported killed and wounded data in a consolidated manner using the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWCP) Defense Base Act (DBA) Case Summary Report.

Fiscal Year 2010 Annual Joint Report on Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan

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This report is submitted in response to Section 835 of the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010. The report covers a number of issues including the total number of contracts awarded in Iraq and Afghanistan, the total number of active contracts, the total value of all contacts, and the total number of contractor personnel working on contracts at the end of each quarter of the reporting period.

Oversight by Contract 

Department of State Contracts

The Diplomatic Security and Anti-terrorism Act of 1986 allows private companies to compete for security contracts at U.S. embassies and missions. The first contract for private security services was awarded in 1994, but the State Department's use of security contractors greatly expanded in the early 2000's during the Iraq and Afghan wars. Security contractors are hired and managed by the State Department through umbrella contracts called Worldwide Protective Services (WPS) agreements. In March 2000, the State Department, through its Bureau of Diplomatic Security, awarded the first WPS contract to DynCorp International. Unable to fulfill all of the State Department's security needs, Blackwater and Triple Canopy were later hired as part of WPPS I. In 2005, the State Department entered into WPPS II with all three companies. WPPS III was awarded in 2009 to Triple Canopy and remains in effect today.

According to the State Department, today WPS task orders that form the contract are each overseen by two Diplomatic Security agents serving as Contracting Officer's Representatives (CORs). The CORs are assisted in their oversight responsibilities by Government Technical Monitors (GTMs). Interpreters are incorporated into protective security details to facilitate communication. Protective Security details are directly led and overseen by Diplomatic Security Agents or Security Protective Specialists. Training for private security contractors is more robust and incorporates the standards for personal accountability and behavior. Most of the WPPS contracts are classified, however, and this cannot be independently verified. The Department released several partial WPPS contracts to the public, as well as other guard services and protection contracts, which are listed below.


DynCorp Peacekeeping Support in Africa (S-LMAQM-03-C-0034)

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This contract outlines the U.S. Department of State's award for peacekeeping support services for DoS funded operations in Africa. The contract awards DynCorp a minimum of USD 5 million and a max of USD 100 million. Work for DynCorp is determined by DoS task orders, to be issued subsequent to the contract. Note in the amendment that the max dollar value of the contract increased from 100 million to 500 million. 

  1. Amendment to DynCorp Peacekeeping Contract (S-LMAQM-03-C-0034)

ArmorGroup - Local Guard Services, Kabul (S-AQMPD-07-C-0054)

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In this contract with Armor Group North America, the Department of State awarded AG the guard services contract for 24 hour deterrence against threats to embassy personnel and buildings. The 41 million per year contract was for one base year, with four additional option years the estimated grand total was USD 190 million.

  1. Exhibits A-V

U.S. Department of State Worldwide Personal Protective Services I Contract

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In March 2000, the Department developed and awarded the first iteration of the WPPS contract to DynCorp International to provide protective services in areas of  the former Yugoslavia, and was subsequently expanded to provide protective services in the Palestinian Territories (July 2002) and Afghanistan (November 2002).  In 2004, task orders under the WPPS contract were issued to provide for personal protective services for Embassy Baghdad when it opened in July 2004. DynCorp was unable to meet the full requirements of the expanding mission and a second service provider was established through a contract with Blackwater USA. Subsequently, a contract was awarded to Triple Canopy to provide protection at the Regional Embassy Office in Basra, Iraq. 

DynCorp - Civilian Peacekeeping (S-LMAQGM-04-C-0030)

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This contract to DynCorp by the Department of State awards the company a base year + 4 options of 350 million USD/year, for a total of 1.7 billion USD over 5 years. DynCorp will maintain 2,000 potential police and peacekeeping forces for the U.S. to deploy at its peacekeeping missions around the world. 

  1. Payments

Triple Canopy - Personal Protective Services (S-AQMPD-05-D-1100)

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This award (USD 1.2 billion maximum) from the Department of State to Triple Canopy Services falls under the Worldwide Personal Protective Services contract. The DoS contracted Triple Canopy to provide guards to all areas where it operates, and uses individual task orders to determine specific, per embassy and country assignments.

  1. Amendments

Performance Reviews

The State Department monitors contract compliance and performance through written evaluations.In addition, each contract requires the contractor to provide the State Department with status reports, incident reports, and other pertinent information that assists the State Department in evaluating contractor performance.

The State Department also conducts semiannual performance assessments on WPPS contractors. Incident reports and performance evaluations allow the Department to determine whether the actions of PMSCs are adversely affecting the strategic or operational goals of the U.S. government. Though both incident reports and performance reviews are generally classified, some redacted versions have been made public through Freedom of Information Requests filed with the U.S. Department of State by journalist John Cook in November 2008.

The incident reports pertain only to U.S. Department of State contracts in Iraq, while the performance reviews cover work conducted under the WPPS umbrella contracts.


DoS Contractor Past Performance Evaluation: DynCorp International (September 2007 to November 24, 2009)

Author: U.S. DoS
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The State Department evaluator in this report noted that despite previous recommendations to discontinue the use of DynCorp, the State Department was still forced to use the company due to needs for fulfilling protection. The evaluator recommends again that DynCorp contracts not be renewed, as the company received a 0 out of 5 rating for four of the five State department indicators. Evaluations were consistently negative and DynCorp presented the State Department with a host of problems, and the author concluded that continued use of DynCorp would be an unjustifiable risk to government.

DoS Contractor Past Performance Evaluation: Blackwater (19 July 2007 – 18 July 2008)

Author: U.S. DoS
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Despite stating that the actions of Blackwater Worldwide Personal Protective Services (WPPS) management personnel caused the State Department program office in Iraq to lose confidence in Blackwater’s credibility and management ability, the review recommends that Blackwater be used again as a government contractor, as the Blackwater personnel have been making steady progress in restoring confidence and the next evaluation will likely improve. 

DoS Contractor Past Performance Evaluation: Triple Canopy (23 June 2005 to unknown)

Author: U.S. DoS
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The prime responsibility assigned to Triple Canopy under the Department of State Worldwide Personal Protective Services contract was protection of personnel and property in high-risk environments. In this performance review of Triple Canopy’s responsibilities, the State Department found the company’s work to be excellent. It met all requirements and expectations for State Department needs.

DoS Contractor Past Performance Evaluation: DynCorp International, operating in Pakistan (25 November 2009 - 7 July 2010)

Author: U.S. DoS
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Based on a ratings scale of 0-5 with 5 as a high rating, the State Department gave DynCorp a “2” for quality and a “1” for customer satisfaction. In the written performance summary, the State Department describes how DynCorp subcontractors failed to comply with local laws in Pakistan when securing weapons permits. The subcontractor was ultimately unable to perform the contract, and the tasks ordered by the State Department through Worldwide Personal Protective Services went unfulfilled in Pakistan. In the end, the author of the report counsels the State Department against contracting with DynCorp for future services. 

DoS Letter to Karl Semancik, President of Armor Group North America Incorporated (19 June 2007)

Author: U.S. DoS
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A DoS contracting officer authored this letter to the President of Armor Group in order to list the multiple deficiencies in the services provided by AGNA so far in Kabul, Afghanistan. The security company was responsible for a large portion of security services for Embassy Kabul, but failed to deliver on the contract. This letter documents each event of non-fulfillment by AGNA and asks the company to present a Corrective Action Plan to DoS outlining how they will address each issue. 

DoS Contractor Past Performance Evaluation: Triple Canopy (24 November 2009 to 7 July 2010)

Author: U.S. DoS
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Triple Canopy held the largest task contract under the Worldwide Personal Protective Services contract. Although they were consistently understaffed, they were improving and getting closer to achieving full staffing. Triple Canopy was found to have adequately carried out its responsibilities, but had problems with management and with its accounting controls. 

Incident Reports: Contractors in Iraq

The use of incident reporting and investigation is one way the State Department tracks the actions contracted security personnel. Private security contractors and subcontractors operating under State Department WPPS contracts must report serious incidents to the U.S. Embassy Regional Security Office (RSO) located in the country where the PMSCs are operating. The RSO is responsible for investigating serious incidents, which include damage of equipment or injury to persons, attacks, weapons discharge, crimes, and traffic accidents. In some instances, the RSO will review an incident report and determine that no further action is necessary. In other instances, the RSO may find that disciplinary or corrective actions are needed, or if the PMSCs' reports are insufficient, the RSO will appoint investigating officers or refer the matters to investigative authorities. Often, the RSO works with host nation authorities to complete investigations.

To understand how this process worked in Iraq, read the SIGIR Report Monitoring Responsibilities for Serious Incidents Involving Private Security Contractors Once U.S. Military Forces Leave Iraq Have Not Been Determined (SIGIR 11-019), 29 July 2011.


U.S. Embassy, Baghdad: Incident Reports involving Private Security Personnel, January – June 2006

Author: U.S. DoS
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This document contains over 700 pages of incident reports filed with State Department Regional Security Offices (RSO) in Iraq by private security personnel employed by the U.S. government. As the reports reveal, the predominant types of serious incidents involve shots fired at checkpoints or at oncoming vehicles, and attacks on the vehicles of PMSC personnel. In some incidents contractors or civilians were wounded, and in one instance two civilians were killed. The document contains notes from investigations into this and other select incidents. 

U.S. Embassy, Baghdad: Incident Reports involving Private Security Personnel, January – June 2007

Author: U.S. DoS
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This document contains over 700 pages of incident reports filed with State Department Regional Security Offices (RSO) in Iraq by private security personnel employed by the U.S. government. Serious incidents reported herein range from shots fired at suspicious vehicles to IED attacks to firefights and coordinated attacks by insurgents. The document contains notes from investigations into select incidents. 

U.S. Embassy, Baghdad: Incident Reports involving Private Security Personnel, June - December 2007

Author: U.S. DoS
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This document contains almost 400 pages of incident reports filed with State Department Regional Security Offices (RSO) in Iraq by private security personnel employed by the U.S. government. As the reports reveal, serious incidents included shots fired at oncoming vehicles (in one case an Iraqi judge was in the vehicle), “escalation of force” incidents, firefights.

U.S. Embassy, Baghdad: Incident Reports involving Private Security Personnel, June - December 2005

Author: U.S. DoS
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This document contains over 1,200 pages of incident reports filed with State Department Regional Security Offices (RSO) in Iraq by private security personnel employed by the U.S. government. As the reports reveal, serious incidents during this period included shots fired at checkpoints or at oncoming vehicles (some resulting in fatalities) firefights, and IED explosions. The document contains notes from investigations into select incidents. 

U.S. Embassy, Baghdad: Incident Reports involving Private Security Personnel, January – June 2005

Author: U.S. DoS
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This document contains over 1,000 pages of incident reports filed with State Department Regional Security Offices (RSO) in Iraq by private security personnel employed by the U.S. government. As the reports reveal, the predominant types of serious incidents involve shots fired at checkpoints or at oncoming vehicles. The document contains notes from investigations into select incidents. 

 

Oversight at the Mission-Level

Policy Directives

State Department-funded security contractors are also subject to the Department's policies governing the use of deadly force and rules of engagement developed by each Embassy and approved by the Chief of Mission. Department-wide policy on the use of deadly force can be found in the Foreign Affairs Manual (12 FAM 023). The current version can be found online though additional procedures previously contained therein are now classified. An older version, 12 FAM 023, effective in November of 1998 and still in effect in 2005, contains policy on firearm usage, including authorization to carry firearms, use of force, the permissibility of firing warning shots or at moving vehicles (something that occurred often in Iraq, see incident reports, above).

Because private security contracts employed by the State Department are generally used to guard diplomatic personnel and property, individual U.S. embassies also issue rules and regulations for security contractors, such as the Mission Firearms Policy issued by the U.S. Embassy in Iraq in 2005. Among other requirements, the policy contains rules of engagement, including the permissible uses of deadly force, and incident reporting requirements.


DoS Foreign Affairs Manual, Section on Diplomatic Security

Author: U.S. DoS
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The Foreign Affairs Manual of the U.S. Department of State sets forth the basic structure and policy directives of the Department. Chapter 12 addresses Diplomatic Security. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is responsible for the protection of State Department personnel and facilities in the U.S. and abroad, and approximately 90 percent of all Diplomatic Security personnel are private contractors.

 

Coordination with Other Divisions of the Federal Government 

U.S. Agency Memorandums of Understanding

Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Defense and the Department of State on USG Private Security Contractor

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The purpose of the MOA is to improve coordination and accountability of private security contractors working for the Departments of State and Defense in Iraq. The Secretaries of State and Defense agree to work together to develop standards to manage PMSC personnel, and per the Annex to the agreement set out concrete rules related to possessing firearms, use of force, and incident response and investigation, among others. 

Memorandum of Understanding relating to Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan

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This MOU implements Section 861 and related provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2008, which mandated that the Departments of State, Defense and USAID collaborate to prescribe regulations on the selection, training, and conduct of PMSCs. As per the NDAA, the MOU also states that the agencies will use the Department of Defense Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) to collect contractor data and track contractor use. 

Memorandum of Understanding between Department of Defense, Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development Relating to Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan

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This MOU is substantially similar to the 2008 MOU relating to contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan entered into by these agencies. It implements Section 861 and related provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2008 and Section 854 of National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2009.  Per the 2009 NDAA, the MOU adds sections X, XI, and XII to the 2008 MOU and in so doing commits to establish mechanisms—including amending the federal acquisition regulations—to  ensure contractors are required to report offenses committed by or against contractors, and to protect the victims and witnesses of such offenses.

DOD Rules and Directives

Department of Defense Final Rule 32 CFR Part 159, Private Security Contractors Operating in Contingency Operations, issued 11 August 2011 applies to private security contractors employed by the Department of State, as it governs the oversight of all DOD and non-DOD private security personnel in designated combat areas. This rule was timely because just a few months after it was adopted in its final form the DOD withdrew from Iraq, leaving the Embassy responsible for the activities of all U.S. government executive agencies and government contractors in Iraq.

Congressional Committees and other Research and Oversight Bodies

There are also a number of specialized government departments that continually review and report on State Department policies, oversight and coordination of private security services. Reports from those departments can be found in the section U.S. Federal Research and Oversight Bodies. Additionally, Congressional Committees—in particular the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations—review State Department regulations and operations. Those reports and testimony can be found under U.S. Congressional Committee Oversight.