Skip to comments.Iraqi Contractors Provide Base Security
Posted on 04/05/2009 1:21:36 PM PDT by SandRat
JOINT BASE BALAD — More than 100 Iraqis were recently contracted to secure the outer perimeter of this base to help protect the men and women serving here.
“This contract is a first of its kind,” said Lt. Col. Raymond Reyes, Joint Base Balad (JBB) Regional Contracting Center commander. “Putting a requirement to employ 80 percent of the contractor’s workforce from the local area is an innovative contracting solution to implementing the Joint Campaign Plan.
“This is a tremendous boost to the Iraqi First Program,” he continued. “It provides economic opportunities in the Diyala and Salah-al-Din provinces while providing our Coalition forces the added force-protection measures we need.”
The initiative, which included certification training, improves perimeter and checkpoint security from vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (IED) and insurgents as well, according to Maj. Scott Selchert, 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Group plans and programs chief.
“We are attempting to give some ownership of security back to the people who live in the local area because they have a vested interest in JBB,” Selchert said.
“In my opinion, the Iraqis are highly motivated to work and succeed,” added the Chippewa Falls, Wis., native deployed here from Onizuka Air Force Station, Calif. “There were 114 jobs offered in the contract and more than 300 applied.”
Boosting the local economy and the base’s security, this multi-faceted approach is expected to significantly reduce the risk of IED attacks against JBB.
“I am very proud of this job because I am able to provide security to my people while cooperating with U.S. forces,” said Arafat, one of the Iraqi security supervisors, via an interpreter. “I was trained on how to search vehicles and personnel; then I trained my team.”
Overall, the contractor, who was awarded the contract, Feb. 3, exceeded the 80-percent requirement and employed 100-percent Iraqis, Reyes said. The initiative also includes women.
“I have no doubt in my mind that they are mission-ready, mission-capable and ready to go right now,” Selchert said. “Absolutely, this is a step forward.”
(By Staff Sgt. John Gordinier, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing)
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