Blackwater USA was formed in 1997, by Erik Prince in North Carolina, to provide training support to military and law enforcement organizations. He spent part of his inherited wealth to purchase about 6,000 acres of the Great Dismal Swamp, a vast swamp on the North Carolina/Virginia border, now mostly a National Wildlife Refuge.
There he created his state-of-the-art private training facility, and his contracting company, Blackwater, w hich he named for the peat-colored water of the swamp. In 2002 Blackwater Security Consulting (BSC) was formed.
Overall, the company has received over $1 billion USD in U.S. government contracts. Blackwater consists of nine divisions, and a subsidiary, Blackwater Vehicles.
The mission statement of Blackwater as of 2007 is “To support national and international security policies that protect those who are defenseless and provide a free voice for all with a dedication to providing ethical, efficient, and effective turnkey solutions that positively impact the lives of those still caught in desperate times. Blackwater is committed to the foot soldiers -- the men and women who stand on the frontlines of the global war on terror and who believe in a peaceful future for their communities and nations. Whether serving in or out of uniform, Blackwater is committed to providing these men and women with the very best in training and tactical support to ensure they are fully prepared to meet current and future global security challenges.”
The Vision statement of Blackwater is "To support security, peace, freedom, and democracy everywhere."
Blackwater USA consists of five companies: Blackwater Training Center Blackwater Target Systems Blackwater Security Consulting (Moyock, North Carolina) Blackwater Canine Blackwater Air (AWS). Blackwaters president, Gary Jackson, is a former Navy SEAL, as are other executives within the firm.
Strategic planning is the process of analyzing competitive opportunities and threats, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, and then determining how to compete effectively in its environment. Blackwater has certainly determined how to compete effectively in its environment. With a renewable contract with the Department of Defense (Blackwater’s primary customer by far), Blackwater is way ahead of the competition.
In 2006 a car accident occurred in the Baghdad Green Zone when an SUV driven by Blackwater operatives crashed into a U.S. Army Humvee. Blackwater guards allegedly disarmed the Army soldiers and forced them to lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle their SUV from the wreck.
On February 16, 2005, four Blackwater guards escorting a U.S. State Department convoy fired 70 rounds into an Iraqis car. The guards stated that they felt threatened by the cars approach. The fate of the cars driver was unknown because the convoy did not stop after the shooting. An investigation by the State Departments Diplomatic Security Service concluded that the shooting was not justified and that the Blackwater employees provided false statements to investigators. The false statements claimed that the one of the Blackwater vehicles had been hit by insurgent gunfire, but the investigation found that one of the Blackwater guards had actually fired into his own vehicle. John Frese, the U.S. embassy in Iraqs top security official, declined to punish Blackwater or the security guards, stating that "any disciplinary actions would be deemed as lowering the morale" of the Blackwater contractors.
Leadership within the Blackwater organization, especially those operating in Iraq and Afghanistan, closely resembles a top down militaristic leadership style for issuing commands.
This lack of a defined role is where one of the major problems arises within the Blackwater organization. Blackwater uses an empowering leadership style on individuals who are not highly competent or highly committed to upholding the company’s mission to “uphold peace”.
100% mission success rate The top down communication is clear Prince and other Blackwater executives have anticipated a shift away from the private security sector and allocated company resources accordingly. In this way, they handle change with a “premortem” approach, being proactive to their environment instead of taking a reactive approach.
Clear Channels of Communication- Not just top-down. There are many concerns and protests from the field mercenaries that are not relayed to higher commands.
Clear set of operating procedures needs to be put into effect I would also recommend stiffer penalties for breaking these rules. According to a report from the State Department, “The most serious consequence faced by Blackwater personnel for misconduct appears to be termination of their employment”.
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