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Aegis Defence Services

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Aegis Defence Services is a British security contracting company.

Overview

Aegis Defence Services was initially awarded a $293 million contract by the Pentagon in May 2004 to act as the "coordination and management hub" for the fifty-plus companies involved in the US-funded reconstruction effort in Iraq and the private security companies protecting them. As of December, 2005, that contract was worth in excess of $430 million. They also contributed seventy-five teams of eight armed civilians each to assist and protect the Project Management Office of the United States. They also provided protection for the Oil-for-Food Program inquiry.

After a several month delay due to challenges of the contract award from rival companies, the DoD renewed the contract with Aegis in September of 2007 for an additional two years and $475 million. [1]

According to Peter W. Singer in his article in the June 15, 2004 New York Times[2], the award of the contract is "a case study in what not to do." The lack of oversight and management from the government left too much room for corruption to take place. The contract contained a "cost-plus" arrangement which paid companies more the more they spend. The lack of accountability aside, Singer asked why the new Iraqi government was left out of the decision making process, especially so close to the "sovereign turnover."

And for that matter, why Aegis? A company that was not on the State Department's list of recommended security companies, and was only a little more than a year old.

Aegis was started by Tim Spicer, former CEO of Sandline International, Mark Bullough, Jeffrey Day and Dominic Armstrong. Spicer left Sandline in 1999 and started two new companies, Strategic Consulting International and Trident Maritime. Trident became a 50/50 partner with Hudson Marine Management Services to form Hudson Trident. The new endeavor was successful and provided the time and money for the creation of Aegis in September 2002. In August of 2003, SCI and Trident were listed as subsidiaries of Aegis on their website [3]; in April 2007 they are no longer listed, indicating they may no longer exist. [www.aegisworld.com/]

Because of a few major controversies while running Sandline, Col. Spicer enlisted the help of publicist Sara Pearson of The Spa Way to polish his image. She ghost wrote An Unorthodox Soldier, (ISBN 1840183497), which portrays him as a kind of hero aiding those in troubled regions when no one else would.[4]

Singer says the deal was decided by the Army transportation command in Fort Eustis, Va. an office "with no apparent experience in dealing with the private military industry." DynCorp shared this view and registered a protest with the US Government Accountability Office alleging they were unfairly excluded from the bidding process. The protest was denied. [5] According to Aegis, the contract was awarded under a standard competitive tender. [6]

An audit released on April 22, 2005, by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction asserted that Aegis could not prove they had properly trained or vetted a number of armed Iraqi employees. The audit showed a random sample of 20 armed guards resulted in no training documentation for 14 of them. The report also faulted the company for not documenting background checks on 125 Iraqi employees. The audit reported the Army's contracting office in Iraq as being poorly fitted for oversight. Auditors claim the findings mean, "there is no assurance that Aegis is providing the best possible safety and security for government and reconstruction contractor personnel and facilities."[7] However, according to Aegis the audit was conducted in the third month of implementation of the largest security contract ever awarded - an operation launched from scratch; of its five recommendations, two were items that were never part of the contract and were removed on the day the audit report was published, while the other three had been addressed by publication. The Inspector General's report concluded that ‘Aegis was generally in compliance with the contract requirement…we found no evidence that Aegis was not meeting its contractual obligations for guarding facilities, providing personal security details, providing security escorts…’. The contract has been re-awarded for each of two option years. [8]

On October 25, 2005, Aegis' acquisition of Rubicon International went into effect. Rubicon managing director and founder, John Davidson joined the board as Director of Operations and general counsel. [9]

They announced £62 million in turnover for 2005 and £1,763,035 in profit after tax. [10]

Corporate Profile

AEGIS is a London based privately owned British risk management company with overseas offices in Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the USA. It provides specialist security and risk management solutions to extreme threats, tailored for international clients including governments, international agencies and the corporate sector. It is a registered and active UN contractor, a major security provider to the US government and security advisor to the Lloyds Joint War Risk Committee.

AEGIS Research and Intelligence provides a wide range of geopolitical information, real-time & predictive threat assessments and investigative reports for corporate, institutional and government clients:

AEGIS Technical Services specialise in security audits and reviews, technical security training, asset and key personnel tracking, surveillance and counter-surveillance capability and physical security enhancements

AEGIS also provides a range of pre-emptive and responsive security measures for governments and the corporate sector to help mitigate geopolitical upheaval and to counter fraud, corruption, terrorism and organised crime:

In Iraq, AEGIS is under contract to the US Department of Defense to provide security support services to the Project and Contracting Office (PCO), responsible for managing the reconstruction programme. These services include: providing static and mobile security for the PCO and US Corps of Engineers, maintaining situational awareness of logistical movement and reconstruction security operations, facilitating intelligence sharing between security forces and reconstruction contractors and providing continuous information on the viability of road movement throughout the country. Through its charitable Foundation AEGIS conducts a self-funded civil affairs programme to facilitate reconstruction in areas where there are gaps in mainstream projects. It also provides expatriate-led and Iraqi-manned Reconstruction Liaison Teams to monitor the progress of reconstruction work subcontracted to Iraqi building companies.

In separate contracts, AEGIS provides security protection to a number of significant blue chip companies operating in Iraq and provided security support to the UN Electoral Assistance division (UNEAD) and the Independent Electoral Commission Iraq (IECI) to enable the constitutional referendum in October and the General Election in December 2005.

Aegis is a member of the British Association of Private Security Companies and the Private Security Company Association of Iraq but has been turned down repeatedly by the International Peace Operations Association. [11]

Letter from Congressman Meehan

On August 11, 2004, Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in regards to Aegis' contract with the Pentagon and specifically Tim Spicer's history. Meehan is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Congressional Friends of the Irish National Caucus.

In his letter, Meehan expresses "serious concerns" about the contract due to the history of its founder and CEO. Spicer's defense of two Scot Guards who shot to death an unarmed Catholic teenager in Belfast, despite evidence and two convictions "for the 1992 murder" to the contrary, continues to this day. He also cites Spicer's illegal arms trade to Sierra Leone and involvement "in brutally suppressing a rebellion in Papua New Guinea."

Because Spicer "has been implicated in numerous human rights abuses and violations of international law", as a member of the CFINC, Meehan is "deeply concerned" this contract "sends a troubling message to the people of Northern Ireland and Irish Americans alike that the United States does not uphold its commitments to internationally recognized human rights." Meehan ends by respectfully urging Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to "reopen the contract for competition."

Spicer has pointed out that his defence of two of his men was his duty as their commanding officer; that both the UN and the British government concluded that the arms shipments to Sierra Leone in 1997-8 were not illegal; and that he has not been involved in 'brutally suppressing a rebellion in Papua New Guinea.' [12]

Trophy Video

A video appearing on an unofficial Aegis website by a disgruntled former Aegis contractor showed what appeared to be Aegis contractors firing rounds into cars along what might have been "Route Irish", the dangerous stretch of highway between the Green Zone and Baghdad airport.

Though it is not necessarily evident the shootings themselves were negligent, if not criminal acts, the video was set to Elvis Presley's "Mystery Train" which added a sense of callousness and unprofessionalism the private military industry is seeking desperately to avoid.

The video had been released sometime in October of 2005 on an unofficial Aegis website, was picked up by the progressive blogosphere in November, removed from the unofficial site soon after, and distributed widely across the internet.

Tim Spicer launched an internal investigation on the matter [13], with a judge and a former senior police officer among the members of the panel. At the same time the US Army's Criminal Investigation Division launched its own, official investigation. Both investigations confirmed that all the circumstances, when seen in context, were within the approved and accepted Rules for the Use of Force, that no crime had been committed, and that there was no case to answer. [14]

Board of Directors

Shareholders in Aegis Defence Services

According to a report by the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), as of September 2004 Aegis's shareholders, and the number of shares they held in the company, were [15]:

The BASIC report says that "According to one industry analyst the story on Aegis’s incorporation and shareholders is as follows: The executives in the company are the first four, totalling 11,250 shares, i.e., 81.9% of the equity. Some of these, such as J Day Group (Jeffrey Day) would have received their shares in exchange for making an investment in the business. Day may have invested £500,000 for his 2,500 shares, which have a face value of £25 but which gives him 18.2% of the ownership."

One notable shareholder is Frederick Forsyth, author of the classic mercenary novel, Dogs of War. His 414 shares give him a stake of 3.1% in the company.

Lobbyist

Lobbyist.info lists Kristi M. Clemens as the company's Executive Vice President and based in its Washington D.C. office. It lists the legislative issues "Defense, Foreign Relations, Government Issues, Homeland Security". [16] (sub req'd).

SourceWatch resources

Contact

Aegis Defence Services
39 Victoria Street
London SWIH 0EU
United Kingdom
Tel: (44) 20 7222 1020
Fax: (44) 20 7222 1022
Email: info AT aegisworld DOT com
Web: http://www.aegisworld.com

External links