Saturday, December 31, 2011

What was and What will be

2011 proved to be a frustrating year for many people who wanted to work in advisory jobs.  There were so many challenges to contracts awarded - that contracts were never awarded.  I have some suspicions that some of this is contrived by a government that is broke and has no resources to really pay for what they want.

While I am sure there have been some challenges to the contracts, I am also sure that the government could say that they have heard all of this before, and could have moved forward with awarding the contracts.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this.  While I would like there to be many international advisory jobs out there, I do want the government to be at least somewhat responsible in its spending.

Here is to wishing everyone a blessed and happy new year, and all the best in 2012!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Iran Invades Iraq - but it is not and Invasion...

Thousands of Iranian troops have crossed into Iraq attacking Kurdish villages.  Apparently the Iraqi government does not want to call it an invasion.  (Probably because they do not want to have to do anything about it).  

You can see the story here.  Interestingly enough this is done when both Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the prime minister of the Kurdish regional government, Dr. Barham Salih, left for Beijing just as the Iranian invasion began.  Supposedly this was a long planned trip to China to try to get Chinese investment into Iraq.

I find the whole timing of everything quite odd.  Apparently the Iranians could not even wait until the US had pulled out of Iraq completely.

Whatever you do - stay safe!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Contracts Protested Again, and Again

You would think that there would be some sort of  limitation on these contract protests.  Apparently there is not any.

To quote one recruiter:
"the contract that has been protested several times and been resolved several times is under protest again."

More hurry up and wait.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Recruiters are Busy

Recruiters are busy for the Police Advisor positions.  If you have not updated your information, you probably should do so.  Expect this time to be a real "Charlie Foxtrot" as lots of applications have been sitting idle - some for nearly a year.

I hope that all goes well for you when you apply.  Just expect things to be hectic.  Companies will be asking applicants to commit, some are asking that now, even though task orders have not been issued yet.

Stay persistent, and put up with all of those clunky fill-in-the-blank online forms.  Many companies have really annoying ones, that are not user friendly at all.  I kind of wonder how much they paid to have some of those sites put together as some seem pretty poorly done.

Keep your head up, and stay safe!,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Contracts Finally Ready or Not?

It seems that all of the contested contracts are going to be finally awarded (again) and task orders will be coming out soon.  A lot of people have been waiting for quite some time.  There are some new players in the Police Advisor business and some not exactly new players and some of the regular players.

If you haven't contacted recruiters lately or have not checked up on the status of your applications, now would be a good time to do that.  When will the wheels really get turning?  Look to the first week of November.  That is a quasi educated guess on my part.  If anyone knows for sure and has any links to articles that clear that up - please post them in the comments.

I don't claim to be a real expert at all of this - I just like to share information when I come across it.  I am likely going on my last mission next time I go, and that is if I haven't already been on my last mission.  I am enjoying the work I am doing now and I probably could go without going on another mission.  I guess it means I will choose what I want more than have the mission choose me.

The Police Advisor business used to be a small amount of people relative to the vast amount of positions.  This has evolved and now there are a lot more experienced mission vets than there are positions available.  They still draw from a relatively shallow and incestuous pool to get people for missions, but the long lag time of officially awarding contracts/work orders has left the market with a flood of applicants.

There should be a flood of hirings soon (not just minimal replacements) so now is the time to act if you are in the middle of the application process.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

DynCop Falls Short of Required Advisors in Afghanistan

it seems that the special relationship between the Department of Defense and independent contractors for providing police advisors to a foreign country has fallen short again. Apparently, DynCorp has fallen short of its required amount of police advisors (728) to the Afghan police service. According to an audit they are 60% short on the number of advisors they should have in the field. Under the new $1 billion contract, DynCorp was supposed provide 728 police advisors for the Afghan Police. These advisors are responsible for setting up the training and mentoring of the Afghan police. One of the other problems that is going on is that there is not a set clear concise plan to train the Afghan police. Both the Department of Defense and the State Department have relied upon contractors for their own plans to train the police. While in and of itself this is not a problem, each contractor is working on a specific area of the police and this may not be the best way to improve the over all quality of the police in Afghanistan. The audit, which was focusing on the transfer of the Afghan police training program from the US State Department to the US Defense Department, criticized both institutions for a lack of co-ordination in regards to police training in Afghanistan. This training is a priority for the US-led NATO coalition as it prepares to transfer security to Afghan forces. As of now, none of the police units have shown that they can effectively operate independently without international assistance. Under the law, the State Department is supposed to train police and foreign countries. There is no legal basis for the Department of Defense to train police in a foreign country. Under the Bush administration, this started to happen in Iraq. There were significant problems when the US military took control of training the police in Iraq. As a matter of fact, the training of the police has now returned to the US State Department. Apparently there are supposed to be "field mentors" in the field with the police. Not enough of these field mentors have been put out into the field so far. I am not sure what the hold up has been, but between the US not having an over all budget in place, and other contractors filing grievances for not being chosen for the contract are the most likely culprits for this short fall. Maybe this means DynCorp is still looking for more advisors for Afghanistan. Whatever happens - stay safe.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

DynCorp Apparently was Involved With Spy Flights

Many people will not be surprised that DynCorp would be involved with the CIA concerning fights. DynCorp's start was really with Air America in the 60;s with their famous or maybe infamous flights in and out of Cambodia. Now it seems through court records, that DynCorp was connected to the rendition flights of captured suspected terrorists. This is all good, but I find the article I read very interesting. DynCorp International, which is the company most advisors would be working for is allegedly not connected to these flights. However, when CSC sold parts of DynCorp, it kept parts, which makes this whole thing quite confusing. I think it is fitting that the company that got its big break for flights with the CIA in the 60's is the same one that was working for them recently flying the captured suspected terrorists to secret locations. I am not sure what you think, but is seems pretty cool. Stay safe!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

When They Start The Background - Just Be Honest

I know of a lot of folks who never made it through the selection process for becoming an International Police Advisor, or similar role for basically one reason.  They lie on their application, or they lie to the background investigator.  OK, I know that is really two reasons - but the reason is because they lied.  This is usually based on two myths: 1) you will not get hired if you have ever been fired, and  2) you will not get hired if you have had disciplinary actions against you in a previous job.

Let's start with myth 1.  You will not get hired if you have been previously fired from a job.  This is simply not true.  As long as you are honest, and as long as you can show that the firing was not for criminal activity or gross misconduct, then having been fired will not prevent you from getting hired on by a contracting company   However, if you wish to try to cover up said firing, or give fake contact information so a buddy can cover for you - you will not get hired by the contracting company, and there is a good chance no one will ever hire you.

If you have been fired in the past, be honest as to why you were fired.  You don't have to get personal or detailed, just be straight forward.  All background investigators know that people get fired for no cause or minor cause all the time in police work - especially when you are an "at will" employee.  Any attempt to cover up a firing will most likely get you disqualified.

On myth 2: you will not get hired if you have had disciplinary action in the past.  Once again, be honest about what ever happened.  Most cops know that often in one's career an officer has screwed up at least once.  There are those, and there are the disciplinary actions that were merely politically based, as someone had to "take the fall."  In most cases, if the action was completed and resolved, it will not disqualify you from being able to get a job with a contracting company.  Once again, if it is because of criminal activity or grievous ethical violations, maybe so.  Just be honest, tell the investigator what happened, how you were disciplined, and the final outcome.  Any attempt at covering it up will disqualify you from getting hired.

I hope these tips help you out, especially if you are a new applicant.  Don't buy into the myths.  Remember, whatever you do - stay safe!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Land Mines Know no Friend

I just read an article about how 4 Ethiopian Peacekeepers got killed by a Land Mine in the Sudan.  See the story here.  Sometimes when we work over seas, we get complacent about things like land mines. We hear all the briefings and safety meeting speeches.  After a while, if we don't see any mines, we may get complacent and careless.

Take care when you are in post conflict areas.  There is always a risk on landmines in these countries.  We need to remember to take care.  You know what to watch for - most of us that have had to work these areas have had all the training.  Just remember to Stay safe and come back home alive, and with all ten fingers and 10 toes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Are You a Mission Junkie?

Are you a mission junkie?  If you are, have you ever asked yourself why?  I consider myself a mission junkie for several reasons.  I like the third world environment - as long as I know I can leave it.  I like the adrenalin rush you get from many of the situations.  Honestly, I find it hard adjusting back to the "real world" back home.

Does this sound familiar?  If it does, you are not unusual.  Many who have gone to a mission experience this. Some would say that this is basically low-level form of PTSD.  I am not being facetious.  Just think about the statements above and exaggerate them just a little bit.  You will find that those are symptoms of PTSD.  I am not saying you need any treatment if you have those same feelings.  I am saying that you should be aware that you are close to a more dangerous form of PTSD.  Whether or not you have experienced firefights, roadside bombs, rocket/mortar attacks or other extremely high stress environments - you can still suffer.

Most of us treat our symptoms by going on another mission,  Sometimes this solves our needs or lack of fitting in.  You may be able to adjust later on your own, or with help from friends and family.

If you have issues you didn't have before, like a different way you use alcohol, smoking, dealing with other people... the list goes on... If you have these issues, just be aware you may be on the verge of , or even across the threshold of having PTSD.  It doesn't mean you are weak.  It doesn't mean you can't handle it.  It just means you may want to have someone else's opinion and an objective assessment of your situation.

Whatever you do - stay safe!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Unfortunately, this sort of phrase in a news report is just too common:

Shootings of NATO personnel by Afghan security forces have plagued the war effort for years. The causes have ranged from suspected infiltration by insurgent sleeper agents to spontaneous arguments between Afghan security personnel and NATO troops that turned violent.

The headline was 

Afghan guard shoots dead NATO soldier, civilian working with coalition in northern province

You can see the story here.

The civilian was Police Adviser,  Paul Protzenko , a former Connecticut State Trooper who worked with MPRI in Afghanistan.  Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family.

Stay safe!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oops the UN Does it Again!

Today someone sent me the headline UN Defends Endorsement of Iran’s “Anti-Terror” Conf .  I thought that was interesting so I read the article.  The UN being the typical UN claiming to be against terrorism and for human rights, while all the time supporting evil regimes because they want to appease everyone - continues to fail in supporting real human rights.  

I cannot say it much better than the article did (insert sarcasm font here) "If the Chinese Communist Party will now organize an international conference for internet freedom, and if Syria’s President Assad will hold one for the right to peaceful protest, will the UN also endorse those, on grounds that it is important for all nations to work together in promoting human rights?"  (/sarcasm font) The answer is most likely yes. 

It seems that once again the UN has outdone itself as the most hypocrytical organization on the planet.

Stay Safe!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

UN Court Convict First Woman for Genocide

Rwanda has had a very dark and dire history of genocide.  Taking steps to move forward the UN court has made a bold move convicting a woman of genocide.  According to Google News:

Judges at the UN court for Rwanda sentenced Pauline Nyiramasuhuko on Friday to life in prison for genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and rape, and one of her sons to the same term on related charges.
"This conviction is a significant milestone because it demonstrates that rape is a crime of violence and it can be used as a tool of war by both men and women."
Nyiramasuhuko, a mother of four who faced charges over atrocities committed in Rwanda's southern Butare region in 1994, is the first woman to be found guilty of genocide and incitement to rape by an international tribunal.

It is good that courts are finally treating women and men as equals when it comes to rape and genocide.  I am surprised the UN court did this, but more power to them.

Stay safe friends!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Defense Base act Blog - Check it Out

If you are a contractor working over seas - or a relative, be sure to check out the Defense Base Act Compensation Blog.  It is not light reading, they earned a link here.  Really, important stuff to read there.  I will likely steal a few stories (no plagiarism just references).

Whatever you do - stay safe!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The UN is Driven by Anecdote

I decided to post this, because I read another article from the UN that was trying to say that the Afghan Security Forces fail to protect teachers.  They based this on the fact that the Taliban killed one principal.  While the death of the teacher is tragic, and points out the ignorance of those that would follow Taliban principles, it is one incident.

I bet we could find such an incident in almost any civilized country where a teacher/professor/speaker is killed by some whacko activist(s).

My point is, the writer of the story says he knows of case after case of this happening, yet there are no statistics and nothing to show that the police or other security forces were aware of the threats before the killings happened.  I know that security forces in Afghanistan have a long ways to go, but the UN needs to stop its reactionary style of peacekeeping when a high profile case or two happens someplace.  It all sounds good to address these issues - but that focus often redirects efforts from programs/policies/training that is working and is more often than not met with failure.

What do you think?  Stay Safe!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Scam Email Claims to be From DynCorp

I first learned of this from the International Police Civpol Facebook Page.  Apparently some bozos are sending out scam emails for the purposes of identity theft.  here is the text of the email:
Fedex Mon, May 23, 2011 at 2:05 AM 
You are receiving this email prior to your resume/CV posted on this website, DynCorp International LLC. is looking for candidate wiling to relocate to the UK for training and deployment to duration of 24 months. 

If you are interested in applying for position with us, kindly email us your resume;

Recruitment Team 
DynCorp International LLC.

Note the gmail address which would not be from DynCorp.  Thanks to Will for giving the heads up!  DynCorp is aware and has warnings on it's website.  They say, "DynCorp International has become aware of unauthorized individuals who are falsely using the DynCorp International name and/or logo in an attempt to solicit fees from potential job seekers. These deceptive and unauthorized individuals are soliciting money, promising placement in a position with DynCorp International."  and they also add  "DynCorp International will never ask for a placement fee or any other fee to expedite the hiring process.  If you are contacted by anyone offering employment with DynCorp International, you should never be asked to pay a fee for recruiting.

DynCorp International personnel will always send e-mail from an identifiable corporate account and never from a public email account, such as Yahoo!™, Gmail™, Google™, or Hotmail™."

Take care and be safe!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Once Again - the UN Misses the Mark on Human RIghts

The whole problem revolves around the UN's Human Rights Council.  The fact that it exists is an issue.  There only needs to be clear-cut definitions of human rights and do countries follow them.  Don't get me wrong, I would probably be the last person to agree with the UN's definition of what are human rights, but there are many many countries that violate human rights in hundreds of ways.

On the Human Rights Council:  We all know Libya was a member.  Now another great state in the news for killing its own for simply protesting is going to become a member.  At least it is very likely they will.  Syria is slated to be on the Council.  How is that for irony?

What the Secretary General is doing about it: Ban Ki-moon has called for for an independent investigation about Syria's murderous crackdown on protesters.  However Moon won’t do much about trying to stop Syria’s joining the Council. According to Martin Nesirky, a spokesman for the secretary-general,"That's not really for the secretary general to suggest to a member state,"

Apparently the secretary-general is more focused on securing his reappointment. He cannot be bother with trivial things like human rights, especially if it could offend potential "supporters among the 56 state members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference."

Remember - Stay Safe!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Interesting Points of Whistleblowers

I noticed that there was settlement in a "whistle-blowing" case against DynCorp for 7.7 million. You can read the article if you like.  I find it interesting that allegedly the Government has all sorts of protections for whistleblowers.  I say allegedly, because I never see articles where people blow the whistle on the government or similar entity and they get protection.  What they get is harassed, fired, or sometimes even worse.

While I guess we have progressed a small bit in this business of whistle-blowing - remember that if you are blowing the whistle on someone inside the government - you are likely to get terrible treatment.  Blow the whistle on a contracting company and you get the same bad treatment, but then a settlement.

It is a good thing to document all that goes on.  I guess the Congressional hearings we all expected on Iraq will never happen now, or will come so late it won't matter.  Doing the right thing does not always pay off.  It only does occasionally when you are on the government's side.

Whatever you do - Stay Safe!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Crucible Awarded Contract for INL

Please Take Note. In case you haven't noticed, Crucible has won the INL contract for a lot of locations. Click the ling here or over there---> for details.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Looking at Human Rights Violations

Many do-gooders in the NGO/UN world are obsessed with the term "human rights."  Even their lawyers do not have a true understanding of "human rights" as they only deal with it in the way the government treats people in an official capacity.  They rarely look at the most basic of all human rights - self defense.  Why?  Because most of these in the community think guns are bad in a blanket way when they are in the population of a country.  What they forget about almost all major human rights violations is - if the citizens were armed to a decent capacity - those violations could not have taken place.

The right of self defense is the most basic human right.  Take that away and the rest really do not matter.    Stop and think about it.  Who violates human rights?  Usually a government - yet the do-gooders only want firearms in the hands of government employees.  What kind of logic is that?  Remember the short-lived post-Katrina policy of the NOPD, which illegally burst into people's homes to seize their firearms?

In some government and NGO offices, there are people who are obsessed with guns. They appear to have no concern about the murder, torture, rape, and ethnic cleansing that result from abusive enforcement of anti-gun laws. The victims are treated like some eggs that must be broken in order to make the omelet of a society where no one except government employees has firearms.
 See what I mean?  I challenge any of you who have worked in an international setting to tell me that this isn't the basic thinking going on in "human rights" offices.

Wearing a uniform representing the government does not somehow make using deadly force any more OK than a person protecting himself or his family.

Possessing a firearm for self defense is a human right.  What possible argument can you have against that?  I look forward to seeing any.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

UN Wants to Establish Permanent Peacekeeping Force.

Sometimes things happen that don't really surprise us. There are calls for the UN to go forward with what it calls the Permanent Peacekeeping Force. No, I don't I don't know your views on a permanent peacekeeping force. I'm not sure who you would want to have in this peacekeeping force. Would they be UN employees? Or would they be made up of other countries just like a peacekeeping mission is on a rotating basis?  What I hope they never do is select a group from only one country, and rotate the countries that supply the force.  I know how that will turn out.  Just look at who are the contributors for what they call formed police units.  They usually come from countries that have at best questionable human rights practices.

Whatever the case, it appears that the UN wants to go forward with this idea of a Permanent Peacekeeping Force. This is because the UN knows that it moves very slowly when it comes to deciding what to do in a peacekeeping situation. While they are deciding exactly what to do, they could deploy this force as a temporary stabilization action.

They are already deciding that this Permanent Peacekeeping Force (PPF) would be a first in first out kind of force. What this means is whenever there's a problem they would be the first to deploy. They would stabilize the situation. They would set up basic logistics programs for the peacekeepers that would be coming in. They would be setting up the administration for the peacekeepers coming in. However, once the mission really gets going these peacekeepers (PPF) would move on to another potential emergency. If they are not going to the emergency, they would be on standby for the next.

You can read about this here. Remember, whatever you do be safe.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Government Has the Right to Make Intrusive Background Checks

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the government's right to conduct broad and sometimes intrusive background checks on employees working for government contractors.

In an odd move,  Justice Samuel Alito said the court was assuming, without deciding, that the U.S. Constitution does in fact guarantee a right to informational privacy. (That was the odd part -assuming the Constitution guarantees a right to informational privacy.) He went on to say that the federal law requiring background checks of private contract employees does not violate that privacy right. (The one that isn't in the Constitution)

In a move to bring the court back to sanity, Justice Scalia called into question the approach by the majority. Assuming there is an informational right to privacy without deciding the question,  "harms our image, if not our self-respect, because it makes no sense."

Remember this next time you do not like the background questions.  Also, Stay Safe!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

PAE Had Data Security Issues

Please note that if you have applied with PAE or PAEcivpol that you may have been compromised concerning your identity.  See the picture which is a document - click on it for a larger look-see.

I hope it gave you no problems personally.