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Aegis links help reinforce security Print
Aegis links help reinforce security
By Tony Dawe and David Watts

FROM a head office in Londons Piccadilly, Aegis Defence Services has masterminded a challenging mission to enable the rebuilding of Iraq to continue despite incessant attacks from insurgents.
The privately owned company is in the middle of the three-year project, the largest security contract ever awarded by the US Government, worth $380 (£220) million.

Aegis has been named Small Consultancy Firm of the Year in the British International Expertise Awards in recognition of its achievement in winning the contract and carrying it out successfully, despite huge risks.

The company beat off intense competition from two leading US companies at a time when Washington was more inclined to award projects to domestic firms. Its success proved that British firms can win contracts in such sensitive areas.

Aegis employs 916 staff on the project, including 235 Iraqis and 450 Britons, many of them ex-military and security services personnel, attracted by generous salaries and 90 days annual paid leave. Despite intensive care, five Iraqi staff have been executed while travelling home and one expatriate killed by a suicide bomber.

In addition to providing security for those involved in nation-building projects, Aegis staff co-ordinate reconstruction work and gather security intelligence for workers across the country to warn them of hot spots. Updated daily, this information is based on US military briefings and is available to all on the company web site.

Tim Spicer, one of the team leaders, says: We also conduct a unique, self-funded hearts and minds programme aimed at facilitating reconstruction in areas where the local people are hostile. The inoculation of 30,000 Iraqis against water-borne diseases in An Nasiriyah was an early example and filling unforeseen gaps in official projects, such as the donation of school books, is another. Modest though these activities are, the return in goodwill has proved to be substantial.
 
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