Constant crushing negativism and new business directions have prompted the set of companies collectively known as Blackwater to retire the controversial brand that its critics hated and its supporters loved.
The paradigm-busting set of enterprises founded and built by Navy SEAL and entrepreneur Erik Prince is now a collection of disparate names.
"We've taken the company to a place where it is no longer accurately described as Blackwater," company spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell tells the Washington Post. "The idea is to define the company as what it is today and not what it used to be."
Blackwater Worldwide, best known for its diplomatic security services in Iraq and Afghanistan, and famous within the Pentagon and national security community for other defense and related services, has been re-named Xe.
Blackwater Target Systems is now GSD Manufacturing. Blackwater Airships will become Guardian Flight Systems. And so on.
The famous Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, which started it all to provide first-rate, efficient training for the US military and law enforcement, is now the US Training Center.
The company website, www.blackwaterusa.com, now leads to a scaled down version of its former self to feature the US Training Center.
Blackwater has undergone a gradual change in its brand. In 2007 it expanded its focus from Blackwater USA to Blackwater Worldwide, embracing a new, less edgy, New York-designed corporate logo. The rebranding was planned before the deadly Nisoor Square shootout in September of that year, but was implemented soon afterward. The new change seems to reflect the reality that the controversy has tarnished the companies' overall image and presented a misleading public image that Blackwater's main business line was intended to be diplomatic security. The company at its core is a training and logistics business, with security being a side line.