Triple Canopy

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Triple Canopy, Inc.
IndustrySecurity & risk management consulting, private security, defense contracting
HeadquartersHerndon, Virginia, United States
ServicesSecurity management, risk management, crisis management, full-service risk management consulting
Number of employees
22,000+ (2020)

Triple Canopy, Inc., is an American private security company that provides integrated security, mission support and risk management services to corporate, government and nonprofit clients. The firm was founded in May 2003 by United States Army Special Forces veterans, including former Delta Force operators. In June 2014, the firm merged with rival security contracting firm Academi, formerly Blackwater, to form Constellis Group, with Craig Nixon, the former CEO of Academi, becoming the CEO of Constellis Group, and training facilities being consolidated at the existing Academi training facility in North Carolina.[1] It was staffed by, among others, a number of former Army Special Operations personnel, Green Berets, Rangers, SEALs, MARSOC Raiders, other special operations personnel, and several law enforcement officers. At the time of the merger, over 5,000 employees were working for Triple Canopy.

Company overview[edit]

A Triple Canopy contractor during a marksmanship class on the RPK machine gun for U.S. Army soldiers

Triple Canopy was incorporated in Chicago[2] but maintained its headquarters in Reston, Virginia.[3] It provides security services on a contract basis, most notably to clandestine government agencies. A review of Triple Canopy operations in Iraq conducted by the United States Office of the Inspector General (OIG) stated that the firm's personnel were a "well-trained, professional work force with significant prior experience" in military special operations and law enforcement.[4]

The name "Triple Canopy" was initially chosen to refer to the layered canopies in the jungles where some of the key founding members received training.[5] The name also refers to the distinction among U.S. Army personnel wearing the Airborne, Ranger, and Special Forces tabs, if authorized, when assigned to Special Forces units.

Key personnel[edit]

Triple Canopy's leadership included former Delta officers, industry analysts and asset management experts, and consultants. They included:[6]

  • Tom Katis, Co-Chairman
  • Matt Mann, Co-Chairman
  • Gregory 'Mo' Mulligan, President
  • Matt Luckett, Director
  • Jay Christy, Chief Operating Officer
  • Tom Magnani, Chief Financial Officer
  • Juliet Protas, Senior Vice President and General Counsel


In 2003, in response to the security-industry market growth spawned by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Army Special Forces veterans Matt Mann and Tom Katis decided to establish a business focused on countering international terrorism. They applied their knowledge of military activities to “train government agencies in anti-terrorism techniques.”[7] The firm received its first contracts in 2004, following the invasion of Iraq, to help guard and equip allied forces in the war zone, especially for the Coalition Provisional Authority.

In the years following, Triple Canopy has won additional State Department contracts, among others, to provide security services at some of the highest-risk U.S. embassies around the world. This work is performed under the Worldwide Personal Protective Services contract issued by the State Department, valued at up to $1 billion for the handful of companies assigned a share of the work.[8]

Triple Canopy has also assisted in humanitarian operations, including rushing aid and supplies to Haiti in 2010 following a catastrophic earthquake.[9][10]

In November 2010, around 60 private security firms that were established in war zones promised to cut back their use of force, vetting and training of personnel as well as reporting and infringements of the law. Triple Canopy was included in this agreement as well as the large British company G4S.[11]

Parent company Constellis was sold to Apollo Global Management in August 2016.[12]

Constellis moved their global headquarters to Herndon, Virginia in February 2020.[13]


Triple Canopy is known principally for providing security in Iraq, particularly for guarding Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters throughout the country.[5] In April 2009, contracts in Iraq handled by Blackwater USA, then under investigation for rule-breaking and violence, were assigned by the State Department to Triple Canopy. Previously, Triple Canopy had been responsible for contracts outside of Baghdad, whereas those contracts the firm took over were mainly based in Baghdad.[14]

In addition to security roles, Triple Canopy is involved in Iraq in other ways, sponsoring the Iraq Energy Expo and Conference to assist in rebuilding the nation.[15]


Routinely operating in war zones and other dangerous locations, Triple Canopy occasionally suffers personnel losses. In September 2005, four Triple Canopy team members were killed, along with 13 others, when a bomb exploded on a street in Basra, Iraq.[16] A rocket attack in July 2010 on Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone killed three Triple Canopy personnel and wounded 15 more.[17]

Adam Hermanson, an employee of Triple Canopy and a U.S. Air Force veteran, died September 1, 2009, after apparently being accidentally electrocuted while showering in his quarters at a company installation inside Baghdad's protected Green Zone. Hermanson's family has alleged that faulty wiring was to be blamed and have claimed the company has not been fully forthcoming about details of the incident.[18][19]

Wrongful termination suit[edit]

Triple Canopy fired two contractors working in Iraq, in 2006 for their failure to properly report, in a timely manner, that their supervisor fired on a civilian vehicle in Iraq. The supervisor, also terminated, denied the allegations. The two subsequently filed a lawsuit against the company alleging wrongful termination. On August 1, 2007, a jury in Fairfax County Circuit Court ruled in favor of Triple Canopy.[20][21] On appeal, the Virginia Supreme Court overturned that ruling and ordered a new trial, saying that the judge had given the wrong instructions to the jury in the original trial. The parties reached a settlement out of court. The terms were not disclosed.[22]

Code of conduct involvements[edit]

According to Triple Canopy, the firm "participated in the effort to establish an international code of conduct since the development of the Montreaux Document in 2006, and even provided the company's Code of Conduct to the Swiss government as a source document." In June 2010 testimony before the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, CEO Ignacio "Iggy" Balderas expressed the firm's support for a “system of private security contractor certification by third parties.”[23]

The result of these efforts was the development and adoption of International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers, and Balderas spoke at the signing ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland in November 2010.[24][25] Balderas: "Our next steps are to ensure that the Code gains worldwide acceptance and becomes an integral part of how the industry operates and how governments and clients select security providers. We must also work to ensure that transparency, oversight and accountability accompany the Code so that the full extent of its intent is shown."[26]

Clayton Consultants[edit]

In 2007, Triple Canopy acquired Clayton Consultants, Inc., a crisis management security consultancy offering incident response, security consulting and training services. According to the firm's website, it "specializes in the prevention and resolution of kidnaps for ransom, extortion, malicious product tampering, wrongful detention, maritime security, workplace violence and client risk" and is especially active on the U.S.-Mexico border.[27] Clayton Consultants has also been hired to help handle problems of piracy in the Gulf of Aden.[28]


  1. ^ Industry Talk: ACADEMI And Triple Canopy Merge Under Constellis Holdings! Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Fortunes of War John Helyar, 7 July 2004, CNN: Money
  3. ^ Triple Canopy to Move HQ to Reston Tierny Plumb, 22 January 2010, Washington Business Journal
  4. ^ Performance Evaluation of the Triple Canopy Contract for Personal Protective Services in Iraq Archived 2011-01-05 at the Wayback Machine Middle East Regional Office, April 2009, Office of Inspector General
  5. ^ a b Blackwater Tops Firms in Iraq in Shooting Rate John M. Broder, 27 September 2007, New York Times
  6. ^ Leadership Archived 2011-01-05 at the Wayback Machine Triple Canopy Inc, 2011, Triple Canopy
  7. ^ The Other Army Daniel Bergner, 2005 August 14, New York Times
  8. ^ Embassy Security Firms Chosen Renae Merle, 2005 June 17, The Washington Post
  9. ^ Triple Canopy Donates and Delivers Humanitarian Aid to Haitian Earthquake Victims n/a, 17 March 2010, Reuters
  10. ^ Triple Canopy Supports Pakistan Relief Efforts Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine n/a, 2010, Lexdon
  11. ^ "Security firms signing up to conduct code for war zones". The Scotsman. 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  12. ^ "Constellis Announces Management Led Buyout". 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  14. ^ Blackwater Gets Replaced in Iraq Kirit Radia, 1 April 2009, ABC News
  15. ^ Triple Canopy Sponsors Iraq Expo and Conference Archived 2011-01-05 at the Wayback Machine Triple Canopy Inc., 4 December 2008, Triple Canopy
  16. ^ Basra Blasts Kill 4 US Contractors, 13 Others Edmund Sanders, 8 September 2005, Los Angeles Times
  17. ^ Rocket Attack on Baghdad Green Zone Kills Three n/a, 22 July 2010, BBC News
  18. ^ US Contractor Electrocuted While Showering in Iraq n/a, 8 September 2005, Fox News
  19. ^ Jeremy Scahill (September 10, 2009). "The Death of Adam Hermanson". The Nation.
  20. ^ Triple Canopy Gets New Contract for Iraq Security Ben Hammer, 30 August 2007, Washington Business Journal
  21. ^ C. J. Chivers (November 17, 2003). "Contractor's Boss in Iraq Shot at Civilians, Workers' Suit Says". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
  22. ^ Former Marine Corps sniper and security contractor Shane Schmidt dies at 33 Emma Brown, 23 September 2010, The Washington Post
  23. ^ Statement of Ignacio Balderas, Chief Executive Officer, Triple Canopy Inc., Before the Commission on Wartime Contracting n/a, 21 June 2010, Triple Canopy
  24. ^ 58 Firms Sign Historic International Code of Conduct for Private Security Services Providers, Human Rights First, press release, 9 November 2010.
  25. ^ Security Firms Lobby for Tougher Rules August Cole, 2009 July 1, Wall Street Journal
  26. ^ Triple Canopy Signs International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers n/a, 9 November 2010, PR Newswire
  27. ^ Clayton Consultants Fact Sheet Archived 2011-01-05 at the Wayback Machine Triple Canopy Inc, 16 September 2010, Triple Canopy
  28. ^ Private Security Counters Pirates Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine Laura Spadanuta, n/a, Security Management

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