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DynCorp welcomes new U.S. oversight in Iraq Print
By Christopher Hinton, MarketWatch - Nov 1, 2007

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Security-services provider DynCorp International said Wednesday it doesn't expect much change to its operations in Iraq following the U.S. decision to increase its oversight of armed contractors.
As of Tuesday, the State Department requested additional agents to oversee security convoys and orientation programs for armed contractors in Iraq. Agents should also be provided with video and audio recording devices for each security vehicle as well as record all radio transmissions.

Additionally, contractors will be required to provide Arabic language staff as needed. "We think standardization and accountability is a good thing," a DynCorp spokesman said, noting the new guidelines will bring Iraqi operations more in line with those in other violent countries such as Bosnia.

Dyncorp (DCP) has around 1,500 personnel in Iraq providing diplomatic security and police force training. Almost half of the company's annual revenue comes from operations in the Middle East, of which Iraq and Afghanistan play major roles.
DynCorp shares lost a fraction Wednesday to close at $22.72.

Another positive piece to the State Department's new guidelines is its suggestion that past cases of deadly force in Iraq be reviewed, said Doug Brooks of the International Peace Operations Association, which promotes ethical standards in the security and stabilization industry.

"You can have the best laws in the world, but if you're not prosecuting, they're no good," Brooks said, adding he would like to see greater transparency in how those past cases are progressing.

"Good oversight and good accountability is a benefit for the entire industry," he said. Many countries with U.S. military forces have status of force agreements, or SOFAs, that define what kind of crimes U.S. personnel will be prosecuted for locally. A SOFA with Iraq so far doesn't exist because of its lack of a stable legal system, Brooks said.

The new State Department oversight guidelines respond to a Sept. 16 incident involving private-contractor Blackwater USA that left 17 Iraqis dead and inflamed tensions between the U.S. and the occupied country.

Christopher Hinton is a reporter for MarketWatch based in New York.
 
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