Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Not Much has Changed

I haven't posted much lately, but nothing has changed and I don't expect it to before the election.  I have no idea what to expect after the election no matter who wins.

I got this in my email and it made me chuckle, as I am not William.

Dear William, 
The purpose of this email is to apprise you of the current status of both the CivPol and CJPS positions for which you may have applied. PAE understands that many of you applied for various advisor and administrative positions many months ago and have not heard from us since then.  We understand your concerns and offer the following:  
·         CivPol – At this time we are filling only positions that have become available through routine attrition for our Global Haiti and Liberia task orders as well as our Afghanistan Corrections/JCAT (CSSP), Justice (JSSP), and Interdiction (DEA) task orders. 
·         CJPS – As one of the contract awardees, PAE submitted its Task Order Request for Proposal (TORP) for the first CJPS task order in Haiti.  As of this date an award has not been issued.  PAE is confident that we are in a winning position given our outstanding CivPol performance in Haiti during the past eight years. 
In addition to Haiti we anticipate future TORPS for Mexico and other post conflict countries in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.  We will post these opportunities as soon as they become available. 
In that regard we encourage all applicants to continuously update their resumes with particular attention to the specific skill sets contained in the CJPS contract.  Those with foreign language fluency particularly Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole should highlight those skills on both their resume and the online registration page. 
Please be assured that we will post all further developments as soon as they are known and we thank you for your patience and continued interest in employment with PAE. 

PAE Human Resources

Oh, and at the bottom it had WilliamWilliamWilliam.

I wonder if William got his email.

Whatever you do - stay safe!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

So What is a UN Mission Like?

(Updated June 8, 2012)

Haiti: It seems like all of the contract companies are bidding on Haiti - it is a UN Mission.  What I will try to do is give you an over-view of a UN Mission.  I have never been to Haiti – but I do know UN Missions, as I was a Chief of Personnel for UN Police in Liberia. Currently PAE holds the contract for Haiti.

What I will discuss is more about UN missions in general than about the specific mission in Haiti.  If anyone deployed in Haiti would like to add to or correct this, feel free to do so in the comments.

The important question: how much will you get paid? Whoever gets the bid, chances are you will get a "Salary" of about 75K/year. There are a lot of games played when it comes to discussing salary - technically, you will likely get a Salary of around 51K, plus “post differential” pay (this means you work overseas) of about 15.5K and likely hazard pay (pretty self explanatory) of around 7.75K  (all annually) to make up that 75K salary.  The company will probably provide health insurance for yourself with an option to pay for dependents.  This works out to roughly a $6k a month deposit per month less Social Security and Medicaid deductions.  Yes, that will be deducted from your pay.

MSA: The last information I had from the UN (most recent information from their website) was that MSA in Haiti is $150/day.    The first Month's MSA is always higher - I believe $216.   MSA is money paid by the UN once a month. This is paid directly to you by the UN - it is also why you have to live on your own off of the local economy.  

Who is your Boss? You will be “seconded” to the UN when working there.  This means the UN is your boss (but don't kid yourself - so is the company and so is the US State Department) The UN will tell you your work schedule and work assignment - the US Government and the contracting company will not have any real say so on how you will be deployed (your work assignment).  Working for the UN is a bit frustrating, but it can be a very rewarding experience.  They never over work anyone. Just remember this when work for the UN - just get something done every day and don't expect any big changes and you will be OK.  Updated: MINUSTAH is fixated on "national balance" so administrators & supervisors will frequently have fewer skills and less experience than you do; it is just something you have to deal with.

Where will you work? There are advantages to being deployed out in the Boondocks (no one from HQ bothers you except for an occasional visit) but the creature comforts of life can be sparse.  There are obviously a lot less “social” activities.  It is all about adapting and adjusting.  Do not expect a huge amount of logistical support from the UN (everyone in every mission is fighting over vehicles) and UNPOL (UN Police) are at the bottom of the list as far as support goes.  Local Nationals usually get treated better by the UN than do the police. There is a bit more support at HQ, and a lot more social activities and creature comforts.  There are also a lot more headaches and time consuming requests from the HQ staff.

What kind of logistical support do I have? You will pay for your own food and lodging and any trips you make in and out of Haiti besides your initial flight to the country, and your final flight at the end of your mission. (There used to be a free flight 2-3 times a week to someplace in Florida, on a 1st come 1st serve basis.  I hope someone deployed to Haiti will help with this information)  MSA is also calculated so that you will be able to take an occasional trip out of country. Update: PaP has several supermarkets and you can usually get whatever you want if you're willing to pay. It is a different story in the regions where fresh fruits, vegetables and safe meat can be very hard to come by. There is a Contingent Meeting or Medal Parade every 3 months that the UN provides time off and transportation to attend, you have to find your own lodging.
What about trips home? The UN Pays for your flight to and from Haiti for the mission itself.  (One flight)  The company will claim they are paying for it, but they are not, the UN does.  I know because I saw the invoices for the flights. The Company will likely provide you with bottled water.  There is usually a company house (but not for lodging) where you can trade DVDs and Books in a library.  There probably won't be much else provided, besides what is required like uniforms and basic equipment.  You will only be issued a sidearm (has always been a Berretta) and not much else.  Update: The UN has free flights to/from Port au Prince to Santo Domingo (DR) 3 time/week, but UNPOL are at the bottom of the list and can be bumped by civilian staff. PAE has the current contract; their house has a small gym, internet & satellite TV.

Healthcare: The Company is obligated to have a medic there, but the UN will be your main Healthcare provider (free Doctor and Hospital while in Haiti).  UN Doctors and hospitals range from pretty good to worthless - kind of like any other position in the UN.

All of this is based off of my past experience and what is available on the Web from the UN.  I have never been in Haiti - but I have been on 3 UN Missions.

Special thanks to Bill Mitchell who is currently deployed to Haiti for the updated information.

Whatever you do - stay safe!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Apparently the First Task Orders Have Been Released

Crucible has stated that they have received Task Orders for Haiti.

From their site:

"DOS/INL has released the first CJPS Task Order Request for Proposal (TORP) which is just over a 100-man requirement for Haiti. We are currently reviewing applications. All candidates are requested to review and update their profiles and applications, if required.  We are in the process of vetting police and corrections advisors to fulfill TORP requirements.  In particular, we encourage applicants with Haitian, French, or Creole linguistic abilities to consider these positions.  Our recruiting department will make every attempt to keep candidates informed throughout the process."

Hang in there - Orders are now coming in.

Whatever you do - be safe!

Monday, May 14, 2012

U.S. Likely to End Police Program in Iraq

This may surprise some, but it really should not be a surprise.  After the military left Iraq, the work environment for police trainers has basically left them totally "handcuffed" to where they cannot really conduct any kind of effective training.

According to the article at the NY Times, the costs have skyrocketed and the Iraqi government really was not consulted on what they wanted in the first place.  This is not the first time this type of thing has happened.  People in charge of programs often never check with the host country to see what they need.  I would not be surprise if a lot of them still do not understand how Iraqi police work or how their judicial system works - neither of which are anywhere close to similar to that of the US.

Add that to the fact that the Iraqi government has been very slow to grant visas to contractors doing this work in Iraq, and you had a formula for failure written all over it.

Stay Safe!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Look at the GOA Report on ANP Training

I will be giving a review/overview of the GAO’s report on training the Afghanistan National Police (with pictures!).  According to the report: “In January 2011, Congress required that we (GAO) report on the use of U.S. government (USG) personnel, rather than contractor personnel, to train the ANP.”  Just so you know, the report never directly addresses that issue. The audit for the report covers the period July 2011 -February 2012.

The report says that before the DOD awarded DynCorp the contract, they considered using government personnel to carry out the mission.  The only problem with that was they found that the ANP training program “did not include any inherently governmental functions.”  This was supposed to be a seamless transition from US State Department to the DOD. (Even though there is still no law allowing US Military to train local police forces in other countries. That is a reserved function of the US State Department.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

US Pulling Advisors Back

I do not know exactly what is happening in Afghanistan, but according to the news, the US is pulling Advisors out of all Afghan Ministries.  I do not know if all US Police Advisors are pulled out of their respective locations...maybe our Afghanistan deployed friends can help us out with that.

Maybe it is about time we pulled out all together.  It seems that the who "nation building" program has failed according to this report.

Whatever you do - stay safe!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

At Least 2 More Months Before Police Contractors "Really" Hiring

Just from one contractor - but likely true for all concerning CJPS.

The DoS has set the resolution date for the latest round of protests for February 29, 2012. Many of you know this, but others may not. Please be advised that this is the projected resolution date and does not mean that we will be hiring on that day. It will hopefully get the ball rolling. If everything starts to progress from the Feb 29 resolution, we should have a kick off meeting within two weeks and then look for task order rfp's to bid on. Plan on at least 30 days for those rfp's to be out and another 30 days for the proposals to be reviewed prior to award. If we are awarded a contract, then we will be moving forward very rapidly from there.

This means at least 2 months before any real hiring on new contracts.

Stay Safe!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

No News for Police Advisors

There is no news for police advisors for new contracts coming up. the "word" is that it will be "sometime in April" before the contract stuff is sorted out. By then the US Military will be in draw-down in Afghanistan. We all know that the country is so far in debt that it cannot realistically afford to "train up Afghan Security Forces" as in reality that will take years and years. The other contracts are just kind-of sort-of continued basically on a month by month basis until real hard decisions are made in Washington (DC). Don't expect such a thing during an election year. My dire prediction is that things will pretty much stay in limbo until the election in November or later. I am hoping I am wrong, but there is nothing to indicate anything otherwise. Stay safe!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Iraq - No Longer a Viable Place for Contractors

The title is my own opinion.  Hey, it is my blog, I can say what I want.  However, you would be hard pressed to find a strong argument against the title.  I believe that Iraq is no longer a viable option for contractors.  It was nearly that way even before the US military pulled out.

Contractors have long been jealously looked at by the local government as having too much authority and too little accountability to Iraq.  This is for good reason.  The contractors were working for the US government, directly or indirectly.  They still are, but now that there is no protection, no medical support, no means of evacuation other than by commercial means - it is not a contractor friendly environment.  Hundreds - yes you read that right, hundreds of contractors have already been detained by the Iraqi government.

Read more about this here.

Maybe the contractors in Iraq have a good counter point, I actually hope so, but I doubt it.

Special thanks to Conflict Area Management on Facebook where I learned about this little gem.

Whatever you do - stay safe!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

One Place You Need to Check for Work

If you are looking for over seas employment.  There is one place you should check out for sure.  You need a Facebook account to do any good there.

Check out the Conflict Area Management page.  You will have so many entries that you need to take your time to wade through them, but it is an excellent resource.

Whatever you do,  stay safe!