Blackwater is the largest private security company in Unites States. It has won contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Given its nature of work, much of what is surrounded around the company is mystery and not known. Yet, there are some controversies which cannot be underestimated. But what really is it? Below are top ten facts related to the organization.
The company, Blackwater, came into being in1990s with an aim of providing training to security personnel. Most of its recruits are taken from US military and policy forces. Back then, it only aimed to provide training; later it started a security consulting firm. With the passage of time, it was asked to give security contract. Presently, it provides security services to key organizations and individuals – most of which are US citizens.
2. Company structure:
Blackwater, later renamed as Xe, consists of nine business units; these units are based on the type of service they provide. Thus, the “Training Center” would provide tactics and weapons training, off-road driving, etc. while “Maritime Solutions” would provide protection to maritime units. It is the largest security services company and trains more than 40,000 persons in a year.
3. Training ground:
Xe’s primary training facility, the “Training Center” is at North Carolina; later on, it also got hold of land at Chicago, Mount Carroll (Illinois.)
Primarily, it provides security services; most of its units are focused on security – such as maritime, airspace, or simple ground security. Additionally, it also a consulting unit and a development unit which is more related to construction management. Again, the emphasis on security is noted.
Blackwater under controversy in September 2007, when its guards opened fire in Baghdad killing 17 civilians. This led to severe outcry not only within Iraq but US government. A case was filed against the company which pleaded that its guards were under attack.
6. Good services:
Although Blackwater came into lime light as a private company fighting war, its services are beyond the two war-torn countries of Afghanistan and Iraq. Other than US citizens, it has provided protection in countries where the law-enforcement agencies might not be able to cope with. Moreover, it also did development work – such as providing logistic and aerial support during outbreak of the Hurricane Katrina.
7. Legal status:
Blackwater is dependent on the US government for licensing and contracts. At the same time, the very intro of the company as “private security” company results into two contradictory response: while the nature of services – the security – has made it into a controversial organization, its private mandate provides it immunity for being grilled too much.
8. Right-wing ideology:
One of the heated controversy related to Blackwater is it being fueled up on right-wing Christian ideology. That is, while the private hiring in the company is one face, the other face is its ideological leanings – which some has extended, makes it land in countries to which the extreme right-wing is ideologically opposed to. Nonetheless, there are also denial of such linkage and is dismissed as exaggerated leading only to conspiracy theories.
9. Blackwater and Pakistan:
Blackwater recently came in the limelight for its being one of the leading companies to provide security services to organizations and individuals in Pakistan. Given the fact that it is a private firm, the US government is not exactly authorized to speak on its behalf; at the same time, the controversy surrounding it raises skepticism.
10. Republican connections:
It is often said that the rise of Blackwater from a small SWAT company to the largest private company owes to its CEO’s connection to George W. Bush. In Iraq, it got a no-bid contract providing security to provisional government. Given the shared belief in conservative values, the company and the party found tandem.