Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Blackwater Returns Focus to Training and Logistics

Blackwater founder and CEO Erik Prince told the Associated Press that the company will be returning to its original focus of training, aviation and logistics, moving away from security contracting operations.

However, for the time being the company will continue to protect US diplomats in Iraq; there are no plans to abandon existing contracts or leave American officials vulnerable.

"Security was not part of the master plan, ever," company president Gary Jackson said. Security peaked above 50 percent of the company's revenue, but is now down to about 30 percent and is expected go to much lower, Jackson said.

"If I could get it down to 2 percent or 1 percent, I would go there," Jackson said, adding that the media have falsely portrayed much about that aspect of the company. "If you could get it right, we might stay in the business."

While it often goes unreported, Blackwater does extensive work in training and logistics. The AP explains that the company's "7,000-acre compound offers unparalleled training facilities that attract swarms of US military, federal law enforcement and local officials each year."

"The company also has expanded its aviation division [pictured above], which provides airplane and helicopter maintenance and also drops supplies into hard-to-reach military bases. A 6,000-foot runway is under construction and a large map in the company's hanger shows units based across the world, from Africa to the Middle East to Australia."

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