Here’s some of the latest observations from the Red zone -
The threat environment in Iraq continues to evolve and with it Iraq’s Ministry of Interior ovesight and involvement with PMCs, regulations, and inspections. What does this all equal – MORE HASSLE AND MORE DANGER.
NO PK’s, WTF?
One of the most recent and overt steps taken by the MOI has been the requirement that PKM/PKCs not be used while rolling the roads. This isn’t news to the teams risking their necks to move people and property for the DOD, DOS, and Iraqi Gov’t and it most certainly has not gone unnoticed with our enemies and those that would like to see the continued disruption of the rule of law in the Iraqi state.
I key in on this issue because it has meaning to the guy on the street. The contractor who needs all the weapons and support tools necessary to safely accomplish missions in what is most certainly a semi- permissive and often a hostile operating environment; you see- when a team is attacked, a belt-fed like a PKM/PKC allows a team to establish a controlled base of fire, maneuver against their foes, protect their assets and charges, and effect an escape. Without belt-feds, our defenses are seriously diminished.
PROMOTING THREATS NOT SECURITY
Given the downgrade in capabilities fielded by the United States at a time when the presence of effective defense providers are more prudent than ever (Obama’s ‘draw-down’), the new rules being instituted by Iraq’s MOI fly in the face of street level wisdom and common sense unless, of course, you view PMCs as a threat to national interests and sovereignty and promote their vulnerability and effectively want to endanger their mission’s purpose – SUPPORTING THE STATE AND COMMERCIAL INTERESTS OF IRAQ.
So when the Bureaucrats chip away at your capabilities what do you do?
• Master the rudiments of your job. Work your skills set – train, retrain, and become as efficient an operator, detail member, and shooter as possible. Even if you can’t field them, be familiar with all types of belt-fed machine guns. They are everywhere and often pointed at you by the IPs swarming the checkpoints along your route. There is such a thing as battlefield pick-up.
• Have your comms sorted and tested prior to each mission. Make sure that you can get ahold of your Ops Center and call in support. You are going to need this capability more and more when operating in the mean streets of Iraq. Communications may become your most valued asset on the ground.
• Sort your medical kit. If there’s one thing I know, EVERYONE could do with being familiar with a combat lifesaver bag and the contents of your team medical kit. You’ll probably use your medical skills and equipment more often than your trigger finger in today’s Iraq. Trust me on this.
• Be knowledgeable and current with field intel. Keep up to date on the happenings in your area of operations and the tactics, techniques, and procedures that may be fielded by your enemy against you. Develop your drills and ‘actions on’ with this type of intel in mind. Make sure to review this regularly.
• Throw down, when called for. Be ready to fight and fight with savvy if confronted with deadly danger. Surviving is Rule#1, have an exit strategy and a good legal advisor is #2. Play out the possibilities in your head, and visualize what you’ll need to do during an engagement and afterwards. Use your brain and your tools, and come home.
• Be flexible and diplomatic; know when to pull the plug. The contacting game is ever evolving and not always in a reasonable or good direction. Know when a request of something being asked of you is just plain stupid, and be smart enough to articulate your way out of it. Be your own diplomat and always remember that you can find another job if things get too retarded.
As US troops continue to exit the Iraq Theater and a new normal settles in, I am sure contractors will have a larger role as Iraq develops into a more ‘stable’ Nation state. The issue will always be how to manage the changes along with the threats for those treading the red zone.
~Bubba G Editor at Large
Bubba G is an active protective professional presently performing contract duties in the Middle East and has well over 15 years of military, high risk contracting, international training and martial arts experience.