Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blackwater Retires Brand, Re-Names Its Units

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.


Anonymous said...

A new name and branding sounds like a great new way for BW to get out from under the unfair stereo type of rogue ex-warriors on the rampage at home and abroad with more advanced weaponry than our own military.
NOW, it sure would be nice for "Xe" to have a heart-to-heart with it's contractors in Iraq who have, along with Blackwater, suffered unfair criticism and public outcrys for their heads to be delivered on a platter to Iraqi civilians. Unfortunately, to date, the only news my family (and all the other BW contractors' families) have heard about the fate of their contracts have been from main stream media...the SAME main stream media that has forced BW's hand to change the name! How pathetically ironic!
It really would be nice, especially considering the state of our economy, if "Xe" would not keep it's current Blackwater contractors in the dark about their future come May 6. Surely "Xe" hasn't so soon forgotten the men and women who have worked so hard and willingly been so harshly scrutinized to make this company the company it is today!
What Say YOU Standish?

Standish said...

I agree!

We have to remember, though, that Blackwater or Xe are contractual servants of the US government. The government calls the shots (even if it lets the contractors take the fall). The State Department controls the Iraq diplomatic security contract, and it hasn't decided whether or not to issue it to Xe or to any other entity. Nobody will know until the officials decide, so everybody will be on pins and needles until then.

Blackwater has done its best to stand by its people, and has provided a lot of support that get no publicity. I don't see why things would be any different under Xe. But you are right - the company needs to do what it can to reassure the security contractors and their families. Let's see how things play out.