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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bigger and Badder Than Blackwater

Blackwater USA, the world’s largest private security firm (recently renamed Xe), is the subject of much public concern about the outsourcing of security to private companies because of the murders of 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians by its mercenaries. But there is a bigger story that is not being covered in the media or attracted public concern – let alone a new policy approach by the Democrats in Congress or the White House. That is the outsourcing of U.S. intelligence, which now constitutes an estimated 70% of the classified (but always increasing) intelligence budget. One of the companies that has benefited from this privatization of intelligence is CACI International, a major defense contractor, which is also a major homeland security and intelligence contractor. CACI recently was in the business press because of its latest revolving door success. It has brought former U.S. Navy Secretary and former DOD deputy defense secretary in the Bush administration into the folds of its board of directors. (See: Pentagon Official Returns) Homeland Security is CACI’s Business CACI, a major Pentagon contractor, now lists homeland security as a top focus. And it is being rewarded by a string of DHS contracts. CACI also lists intelligence as a core business activity. Specializing in information systems, CACI now relies on a new mix of defense, homeland security, and intelligence contracts related to cybersecurity and cyberwarfare. On July 29 CACI was awarded $94 million contract with the National Protection and Program Directorate of DHS. Under the contract, CACI provides “infrastructure protection,” work that, according to CACI, “expands CACI's presence in the DHS with wide-ranging mission support.” As a company with information systems and intelligence capacities, CACI is contracted to “enhance communications by managing, processing, and coordinating the flow of information across the DHS and with Protective Security Advisors (PSAs). The new project is an extension of CACI’s Automated Critical Asset Management System (ACAMS), an information-sharing project to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure. It is also related to CACI’s work since 2006 on DHS’ Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (EAGLE) program, an IT planning and policy initiatives that spans most DHS agencies, including the Border Patrol. CACI says that its work on the EAGLE program makes its company motto, “Ever Vigilant,” “especially meaningful.” With respect to EAGLE and other homeland security operations, CACI asserts that its DHS contracts provide “the needed services and solutions that make us a national asset for national missions.” Over the past several years CACI has blossomed into a major homeland security company. According to CACI, its homeland security operations comprise: Business System Solutions; C4ISR Integration Services; Cyber Security, Information Assurance, Information Operations; Integrated Security, Intelligence Solutions; Program Management, SETA Support Services, and Data, Information, Knowledge Management Services. Intelligence for Sale CACI says that “effective information management drives the efficacy, interaction and ultimate success of intelligence collection and analysis.” This information management and IT capacity has make CACI a major “intelligence community” contractor. An estimated 70% of the government’s new work by the “intelligence community” (including 16 civilian and military agencies) is now contracted to companies like CACI, according to a classified study by the Director of National Intelligence. In his new book, Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, investigative journalist Tim Shorrock documents the surge in intelligence outsourcing during the Bush administration – and which continues into the Obama administration. Along with two other contractors, CACI was awarded on August 19 a five-year $900 million contract with the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate (I2WD). The new contract will extend CACI’ 21-year history with intelligence support for the Information Warfare Directorate and allow it to continue pursuing its goal “modernize the Army’s intelligence and information-warfare capabilities.” As CACI notes, the new defense/intelligence contract will bolster the company’s business in the expanding frontier of intelligence and information, growing CACI’s “business in command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs.” Along with intelligence comes counterintelligence, and CACI boasts of its “industry-leading counterintelligence capabilities and innovative network surveillance and response technology.” Thus far in 2009 CACI has been awarded, or is designated prime contractor, federal contracts worth $3.5 billion with DOD, DHS, and the “intelligence community.” Many of CACI contracts are with unnamed “clients in the national security and intelligence communities.” Announcing $133 million in classified projects on August 3, CACI’s president of U.S. operations described CACI’s cross agency role in information systems and cybersecurity, stating: “CACI offers trusted and proven solutions to support critical missions in such areas as homeland security, defense and civilian intelligence, and law enforcement. Our uniquely qualified professionals enable us to provide a wide range of security and intelligence support services to help our clients counter threats both at home and abroad." In its new release of the intelligence contracts, CACI led the announcement with the statement: “Our intelligence business continues to expand.” Both the company’s description of combined defense, homeland security, and intelligence operations and its boast of expanding intelligence business could just as well be applied to scores of other companies in the emerging industrial complex serving the government’s national security agencies. As a New York Times (May 30) article on private-sector involvement in cyberwarfare observed: “Nearly all of the largest military companies — including Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon — have major cyber contracts with the military and intelligence agencies.” Back through the revolving door, England’s dual roles as former Pentagon official and former defense industry executive place him and his new private-sector firms in a key position to take full advantage of the new defense/homeland security/intelligence complex. There’s no question that the new complex is good for business.

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