|The 'no rules' ethos ended badly for both Blackwater and State|
You really should have some rules when you employ security guards and Blackwater-type protection contractors overseas. As the theme song for COPS has been asking for 25 years now:
Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they work for you?
Well, one thing you might do when you hire bodyguards and such from private security companies is to require those companies to meet industry standards and model management practices.
The State Department's Office of the "Spokesperson" (to use her annoying gender-neutral title, which is not an improvement on "Spokeswoman" if you ask me) announced yesterday that State, and more specifically the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, will sign on to an international set of standards to govern its use of private security contractors.
On September 19th and 20th of this year, the Government of Switzerland will host the launch of the association to serve as a governance and oversight mechanism of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC). The United States has expressed its intention to join the Association as a founding member and will participate in the launch conference.
The Department of State recognizes and appreciates the progress made on the development of the ICoC and the pending establishment of an ICoC Association. As long as the ICoC process moves forward as expected and the association attracts significant industry participation, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) anticipates incorporating membership in the ICoC Association as a requirement in the bidding process for the successor contract to the Worldwide Protective Services (WPS) program. DS also anticipates that the successor contract to WPS will require demonstrated conformance with the ANSI PSC.1-2012 standard.
The International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers is here, and the American National Standards Institute equivalent requirements for private security company operations is here.
My opinion is that requiring Bad Boyz Inc to sign on to these standards will do no harm. It's inevitable anyway, since all large security providers will surely sign on whether DS requires them to or not. Industrial codes of conduct and ANSI standards are primarily a device for businesses to lower their liability, and fear of liability absolutely rules private industry. (Not the public sector, though, at least not yet; but that will change the day a jury awards a U.S. government employee damages based on the USG's negligent failure to provide a safe working environment.)
Will it do any actual good? Maybe not, but that might not matter a lot. The big problems State had with Blackwater, et al, in the past seem to have been solved when it moved most of the contract protection specialists in-house by making them personal service contractors, and thereby easier to manage and discipline. Would that it had done that sooner.