Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blackwater Announces Advanced Export Compliance Initiative

Given the highly complicated and often contradictory federal laws and regulations concerning the export of military and security-related goods and know-how, Blackwater announces what it calls "a comprehensive initiative to enhance export compliance throughout its global operations."

According to a release distributed by the Earth Times, Blackwater says, "The initiative, under development for several months, includes the creation of an independent committee of experienced outside experts to oversee export compliance and the addition of a Vice President of Export Compliance.

"These efforts are supported by a global training initiative, proposed enhanced business controls and an increased compliance staff.

"'US export controls are a key part of our country's national securityand foreign policy. Blackwater, a partner with the US Government in many important programs, has an obligation to also be a partner in compliance,' said Erik Prince, Blackwater Founder and CEO. 'Our company has experienced remarkable growth in the last few years. This growth, our work for the US Government around the world, and the nature of the services we offer have created compliance challenges. The comprehensive initiative announced today is our direct response to those challenges and our recognition of the importance of these controls.'"

The independent panel, called the Export Compliance Committee, represents a cross section of talent and expertise. Committee members, who have full and independent authority of Blackwater's export control matters, are:
  • Robert C. Bonner. Former US Attorney, US District Court Judge, Commissioner of US Customs, the first Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, and Administrator of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA);

  • Asa Hutchinson (pictured). Former US Attorney, Administrator of the DEA, US Congressman from Arkansas; and the first Under Secretary of Homeland Security;

  • Carol R. Marshall. Former Vice President of Ethics and Business Conduct at Lockheed Martin, Senior Vice President for Ethics and Business Conduct at MCI, Chair of the Ethics Resource Center Fellows Program, and Chair and Working Group Liaison to the Defense Industry Initiative on Business Ethics.

Blackwater's new Vice President of Export Compliance is Karen Jones, most recently the Director of Import-Export Operations for Raytheon Missile Systems Division. "Ms. Jones is an accomplished trade compliance professional with a deep resume. She is an expert in integrating export licensing, compliance and a culture oftransparency into complex global operations. We look forward to hercontribution in making Blackwater's compliance system the standard of the industry," said Prince.

The company has also strengthened and expanded its existing compliance programs and developed an online compliance training program for employees and independent contractors.

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