|Private military security firm|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
Matthew Brabin, M.D.|
Noel Philp, Chief Operating Officer
|Revenue||US$ 295 million|
|US$ 9.2 million|
|US$ 7.1 million|
Number of employees
ArmorGroup International is a British company providing private security. It was founded in 1981 and was listed on the London Stock Exchange until 6 June 2008 (it was acquired by G4S plc in April 2008).
ArmorGroup provides protective security services, risk management consultancy, security training and mine action services. It has 38 offices in 27 countries, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Colombia, Iraq, Lebanon, Nigeria and Sudan.
It is a founder and full member of the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA), the British Association of Private Security Companies (BAPSC) and the Private Security Company Association of Iraq (PSCAI).
ArmorGroup began operations in 1981 as Defence Systems Limited (DSL), a company founded "to provide protective security services principally to multinational oil and gas companies." The publicly traded Armor Holdings, Inc., a business principally involved in the manufacture of armored vehicles and law enforcement equipment, acquired DSL in 1997. Some of the current senior management team carried out a Management Buyout of the company in November 2003, backed by Granville Baird Capital Partners and Barclays Bank. ArmorGroup was listed on the main list of the London Stock Exchange in December 2004.
In 2007, it posted a US$9.2 million profit, reporting $295 million turnover for that year. On March 20, 2008, the company announced that its Board had recommended a £43.6 million cash offer for the company by G4S plc. The acquisition completed on 29 April 2008. G4S has basically retired the "ArmorGroup" name although ArmorGroup North America, Inc. ("AGNA") is still in existence (see below).
ArmorGroup North America, Inc. Scandal in Afghanistan
On June 11, 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that internal State Department documents deemed ArmorGroup security lapses at the US embassy in Kabul so severe as to render the compound in "jeopardy." Guard posts were found empty and unstaffed for hours at a time, among other problems. The article quoted staffers on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s contracting oversight panel.
On 1 September 2009, the Project On Government Oversight sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton which detailed allegations of misconduct by over 10% of the 450 employees of ArmorGroup guarding the embassy. There were claims also that the guards drank excessively and misbehaved whilst under the influence, did not speak English or Pashto (as they were largely Gurkhas) and had not been properly equipped to carry out their work. On 4 September 2009, the US State department announced that eight private security guards and some of their managers would be fired.
Several days later on September 10, the Project on Government Oversight offered further details on the company's problems with upholding its obligations at the embassy as outlined in a $189 million contract. A federal complaint was filed over the company's "serious and chronic under-staffing," the "language and communications violations committed by personnel," the "numerous instances of making false statements, misrepresentations and withholding information from the State," and "jeopardizing the safety of the guard force via the purchase of cheaper, sub-par armored vehicles." The report also said that ArmorGroup demonstrated "a pattern of blatant and longstanding violations" leading to a "pervasive breakdown" in discipline, morale and security at the embassy.
On Sept. 14th, witnesses and panelists at a Commission on Wartime Contracting hearing urged the U.S. State Department to cancel its Afghanistan contract with ArmorGroup for massive failures, deficiencies and "egregious violations."
On 27 October 2010, the Department of State's Office Inspector General released a report finding that AGNA had not been able to recruit, train, or manage the Kabul Embassy Security Force ("KESF") at the staffing level or the quality required by its contract with the Department of State. They also found that AGNA had employed Nepalese guards without verifiable experience, training, or background investigations in violation of its contract.
In July 2011, the US Department of Justice announced that ArmorGroup paid the US government $7.5 million to resolve issues stemming from false claims the company made regarding charges for its services at the embassy. The payment also covered claims that its employees violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), and that management was aware of this, as well as allegations that ArmorGroup misrepresented the prior work experience of 38 national guards it hired. Additional allegations stated that the company had failed to comply with Foreign Ownership, Control and Influence mitigation requirements on the contract, as well as those outlined in a separate contract to provide guard services at a US naval support facility in Bahrain.
As of 15 June 2012 AGNA has turned over security responsibilities for the embassy to Aegis Defense Services LLC, an American branch of Aegis Ltd.
Warlord and Sex Trafficking Scandal in Afghanistan
On Oct. 7, 2010, the Senate Armed Services Committee released a report detailing how ArmorGroup turned to local, Afghan warlords to provide most of the guard force at a US airbase in the Herat Province in Western Afghanistan. The report included statements from many, including an Army sergeant, who said that one of the warlords used by the company "would provide money because of his contracting jobs with ArmorGroup. He had a lot of money from that and he would give that money to Taliban commanders, and they in turn would buy weapons and ammo, whatever they needed."
With events like these as background it is instructive to expose another disturbing set of events that involve ArmorGroup in human right violations in sexual exploitation and abuse in conflict and post-conflict situations. A report by the Washington, DC, Project on Government Oversight recently released publicly tells of the wild naked antics of members of ArmorGroup (AG), which has a United States State Department contract to provide security for the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Hardly mentioned is the use of local bordellos by some contractors. It took a lawsuit filed on September 9 by James Gordon, a former ArmorGroup director of operations, and subsequent whistleblower, against ArmorGroup North America. and associated defendants - ArmorGroup International (AGI), Wackenhut Services Inc. (WSI), and various management individuals - to bring details to light. Among other things he charges that AG: Allowed AGNA managers and employees to frequent brothels notorious for housing trafficked women in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and shutting down the plaintiff's efforts to investigate and put a stop to these violations. Deliberately withholding documents relating to violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act allegedly committed by AGNA's program manager and other AGNA employees when responding to a document demand from US Congressman Henry Waxman on behalf of the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
According to Gordon's lawsuit on or about November 8, 2007, ArmorGroup North America deputy program manager Jimmy Lemon informed Gordon and Puja Power, the acting director of Human Resources, that AGNA's armorer (the official in charge of the upkeep of small arms, machine guns and ammunition) was not properly performing his duties and had recently been forcibly removed during work hours from a brothel in Kabul. Gordon instructed Ms Power to initiate action to terminate him at once. Gordon knew that the procurement of commercial sex acts by AGNA employees violated the laws of the United States and the Kabul Embassy contract. He was concerned both because the frequenting of brothels by AGNA personnel raised security concerns about the guard force's ability to safeguard the US Embassy and because it was well known that young Chinese girls were trafficked to Kabul for commercial sexual exploitation, in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The act and its implementing regulations prohibit contractors, like ArmorGroup and their employees, from engaging in severe forms of trafficking in persons and from procuring commercial sex acts during the period of performance of the contract. According to the US State Department's 2008 Trafficking in Persons Report, Afghanistan is a destination for women and girls from China, Iran and Tajikistan trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Afghan children also are trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation.
The Danny Fitzsimons Case
On February 28, 2011, Danny Fitzsimons, a British employee of ArmorGroup, was sentenced to twenty years in prison for killing two colleagues and attempting to murder an Iraqi man. He was the first contractor to be tried in Iraqi courts. Several industry experts questioned why no formal inquiry was made into who armed Fitzsimons, a man who had a criminal record, pending weapons charges, had been diagnosed as having psychiatric issues, was fired from two other security companies and was known to be a problem among his peers.
- Protective security services - Convoy escorting, Close Protection, manned guarding, maritime security and technical security systems;
- Security training - hostile environment awareness training, specialist driving and surveillance detection;
- Security consultancy - Kidnap, ransom and extortion support; risk management and business continuity planning; and
- Weapons reduction and mine clearance - mine and UXO survey, detection, removal and destruction; small arms, light weapons and ammunition stockpile reduction; Mine risk education.
ArmorGroup first entered Iraq under contract with the Bechtel Corporation in May 2003. ArmorGroup is now one of the very few private security companies which is legally registered and licensed to operate by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Trade. In 2007, the firm had 1,200 employees in Iraq. ArmorGroup provides security for roughly one third of all nonmilitary supply convoys in Iraq. In 2007, the Washington Post cited U.S. Labor Department information that ArmorGroup had sustained 26 fatalities in Iraq.
- Control Risks
- Oxford Analytica
- Roubini Global Economics
- Economist Intelligence Unit
- Eurasia Group
- Le Beck International
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2008-04-04. retrieved on April 4, 2008.
- Prelims and G4S recommended cash offer - Armor Group Archived June 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "G4S Completes Acquisition of ArmorGroup International plc | G4S". g4s.com. 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- BAPSC : Home
- ArmorGroup official factsheet Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 16 June 2007.
- Senate Probe Exposes Embassy Security Failures, Wall Street Journal, 11 June 2009
- Anna Leander (30 August 2012). "Cost Before Hearts and Minds – Private Security in Afghanistan". International Relations and Security Network.
- Cole, August, Firm Fires U.S. Embassy Guards in Kabul, Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2009
- POGO Statement on ArmorGroup Whistleblower Lawsuit Filed Today: State Department Accountability Remains Key Management Issue[permanent dead link], POGO, 10 September 2009
- State Urged to Cancel Kabul Embassy Security Contract[permanent dead link], Government Executive, 14 September 2009
- Kabul Embassy Security Force, Department of State, Office of Inspector General "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-03. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
- Armor Group North America and Its Affiliates Pay $7.5 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations[permanent dead link], United States Department of Justice, 7 July 2011
- Senate Armed Services Committee Releases Report on the Role and Oversight of DoD's Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan[permanent dead link], Senator Carl Levin, 7 October 2010
- Danny Fitzsimons Jailed for Iraq Security Guard Murders, BBC, 28 February 2011
- Washington Post June 16, 2007 "Iraq Contractors Face Growing Parallel War." by Steve Fainaru. Retrieved on April 4, 2008.