[State Department] Diplomatic Security is a relatively small force of approximately 1,450 Special Agents with a worldwide mission to provide a safe and secure environment for the conduct of our nation’s foreign policy. In furtherance of that mission, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security uses a contracting mechanism, the Worldwide Personal Protective Services contract that permits the Department to expand its capability in order to meet changing missions in the absence of additional full time staff without the delay of recruiting and training personnel. Diplomatic Security has contracted overseas guard services for decades to protect our personnel, facilities, and residential neighborhoods.
Contractor Roles and Missions:
Private security firms provide personal protective and guard services under various contracts for the Department of State. The services are provided in support of the Worldwide Personal Protective Services and Local Guard Programs.
Worldwide Personal Protective Services (WPPS) Program
Under the Diplomatic and Antiterrorism Act of 1986, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) of the Department of State (DOS) has a broad range of responsibilities that include protection of personnel and facilities both domestic and abroad. The WPPS initiative is an effort by the Department of State to pre-plan, organize, set up, deploy and operate contractor protective service details for the protection of U.S. and/or certain foreign government high-level officials whenever the need arises. In certain circumstances, and when directed, contractors may be required to recruit, evaluate, and train, local foreign government or third-country foreign nationals in established personal protective security procedures, to conduct protective security operations overseas with them, and to provide trained protective security personnel for short or long-term special domestic security situations. Over the past ten years, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security has become increasingly involved in providing protective services for high-level U.S. officials and certain designated foreign leaders in several areas of the world. As a result of conflicts, wars, political unrest, and more recently, terrorist activity, these areas have become extremely dangerous places in which to live and work. The return of a democratic government to Haiti in October 1994, the continual turmoil in the Middle East, and the post-war stabilization efforts by the United States Government in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq are all types of world events that require priority deployment of contractor protective services teams on a long-term basis.
Local Guard Program
The policy of the U.S. Government requires we take all reasonable and appropriate steps to reduce the risk of terrorism and crime affecting our employees. To this end, and to ensure our Embassies and Consulates have secure environments from which to pursue our diplomatic missions, we provide contract guard services, under our Local Guard Program. An Embassy or Consulate, supported by one of these performance-based contracts, is provided guard services to prevent unauthorized access, protect life, maintain order, deter criminal attacks against employees, dependents and property, prevent terrorist acts against all U.S. assets, and preclude damage to Government property. The guard service contractors furnish managerial, administrative and direct labor personnel to accomplish all work required by this contract. A contractor's employees are permitted on‑site only for contractual duties and not for any other business or purposes.
Types of Contractor Services:
Contractors provide a high degree of specialization, which greatly assists DS in fulfilling its protective mandate. A number of the common specialties are reflected below:
- Protective Security Specialist, to include medics, firearms instructors, etc.
- Administrative/Logistical Support Specialist
- Designated Defensive Marksman
- Intelligence Analysts
- Armor Vehicle Mechanics
- Aviation Package, to include pilots, co-pilots, door gunners/crew members, and aviation mechanics
- Explosive Detection Dog Teams (Handler and Dogs)
Worldwide Personal Protective Services I Background – In 1995, Diplomatic Security began using contract protective security specialists in the former Yugoslavia to assist agents in protecting three U.S. ambassadors monitoring the peace agreement. In March 2000, the first Worldwide Personal Protective Services contract was awarded to DynCorp International to continue providing protective services in the former Yugoslavia and allow similar missions to be performed around the world. The Worldwide Personal Protective Services I contract vehicle was subsequently used for personal protective services deployments in the Palestinian Territories beginning in July 2002, and in Afghanistan for the Karzai Protective Operation in November 2002. The program continued to expand to provide Personal Protective Services staff in Kabul for the Ambassador’s Protective Detail and for the Afghan Reconstruction Group in early 2004. In 2005, the program began operating in Haiti protecting the president of the country and U.S. Embassy personnel.
In early 2004, additional task orders were added the Worldwide Personal Protective Services contract to provide PSS support for Embassy Baghdad when it opened on July 1, 2004. DynCorp was unable to meet the full requirements of the expanding mission and a second service provider was established through a sole source contract with Blackwater while the Department drafted and released a competitive contract for an ever increasing requirement for protective services throughout the world. Blackwater was selected because it was already operating in Baghdad under a Coalition Provisional Authority contract protecting Ambassador Bremer. Another company, Triple Canopy was subsequently awarded a sole-source contract to protect the Regional Embassy Office in Basrah, Iraq.
Daily management of Worldwide Personal Protective Services was originally dispersed throughout several Diplomatic Security offices, even as the contract grew exponentially. By March 2004 the recently created High Threat Protection Division assumed responsibility along with Acquisitions Management Contracting Officers, for all operational, financial, contractual and administrative oversight of the Worldwide Personal Protective Services contractors, as well as daily on the ground oversight by the RSO staffs.
Worldwide Personal Protective Services II Background: In July 2005, DynCorp, Blackwater, and Triple Canopy were awarded contracts under Worldwide Personal Protective Services II, after full and open competition. The Worldwide Personal Protective Services II contract was executed due to the difficulty in managing the dramatic growth of the program with the Worldwide Personal Protective Services I contracts, and the need to move it to a firm-fixed priced contract with fewer cost reimbursement item. The total price of each contract is not fixed; however, the daily rate for each labor category is fixed. Therefore, the individual contract price may increase as additional requirements are added to each Task Order. Personnel qualifications, training, equipment, and management requirements were substantially upgraded under the new contract due to ever changing requirements in a combat environment such as Iraq. From the summer of 2005 through the summer of 2006, the program transitioned from Worldwide Personal Protective Services I to Worldwide Personal Protective Services II.
There are currently seven active task orders under Worldwide Personal Protective Services II: Jerusalem, Kabul, Bosnia, Baghdad, REO Basrah, REO Al Hillah, and REO Kirkuk (including USAID Erbil). Task Order 1 covers the contractors’ local program management offices in the Washington DC area. The Haiti task order closed in April 2006.
Vetting - Personnel who work on the Worldwide Personal Protective Services undergo an extensive background check as outlined in Attachment 1. For example, personnel in key management positions undergo an employment and record check by the contractor, a screening by Diplomatic Security’s High Threat Protections Operation staff for verification of qualification prior to undergoing security clearance investigation. Final clearance is granted after completion of the clearance investigation and the file is reviewed by the Department’s Personnel Security and Suitability Division. Only individuals who may obtain a Secret Clearance are permitted to work in management or personnel security specialist positions. All Third Country National Personnel assigned to this contract are required to have at a minimum a favorable Moderate Risk Public Trust determination issued by the Department of State.
Staffing – Currently working under the Worldwide Personal Protective Services contracts are a total of 1,502 personnel excluding sub-contractors. Of that total, 830 work as personal security specialists, 490 as guards, and 182 as support personnel. In Iraq alone, there are 785 personal security specialists, 465 guards, and 158 support personnel.
Costs – The approximate current annual costs under Worldwide Personal Protective Services II contracts for all areas of operation (Afghanistan, Bosnia, Israel, and Iraq) are as follows:
Triple Canopy 15,550,133
The approximate total costs for Iraq only, inclusive of all contractors is $350,119,545.11.
Work Related Casualties and Injuries – Since the inception of the Worldwide Personal Protective Services contracts there have been a total of 36 casualties and 60 work-related injuries. Of the 36 casualties, 33 occurred in Iraq.
General Contractor Performance, Cooperation, and Coordination:
Contactors providing services under a Local Guard Program (LGP) and/or a Worldwide Personal Protective Services (WPPS) contract are expected to be cooperative with the government and meet all contract requirements. In general, the Department of State has found these private security firms to be professional, cordial, and sincere about providing the requisite level of security to protect personnel and property at our overseas facilities and missions. This has been accomplished for the most part by both parties working extremely hard to foster a partnering relationship with each party striving for excellence. While both parties have not always agreed on all issues arising in the daily performance of duties in a hostile environment, each has strived to find a way to ensure that the contract requirements were met with no compromise in the security posture. Senior management personnel from the Department of State routinely meet with their counterparts in each private security company under contract to ensure an open dialogue between the requiring activity and the service provider. This action has ensured that issues and/or problems with contract performance have been identified, clarified, and resolved in a timely, efficient, and effective manner.