David Isenberg: DynCorp Begs to Differ
First, I am not picking on DynCorp. Actually, DynCorp, compared to many other firms doing private security work (and, that is only s small part of what DynCorp does overall) actually has a pretty good reputation. As I have previously noted it is to be commended for its employee assistance program and has been very transparent about the casualties its contractors have suffered.
That said, let me address Mr. Rossbach’s points. I very much appreciate his writing to give DynCorp’s side of the story. Still, I think I will decline to ‘correct” the article. Here is why.
With regard to the marksmanship issues I did not write this was a confirmed fact. I wrote “One of the astonishing allegations in the article was this:” Given the seriousness of the issue I took points to point out it was an allegation. I also checked the DynCorp website to see if it had any response to the story. It did not. It still does not as I write this.
But Mr. Rossbach sent along an attachment, not on the DynCorp website, with his email which addresses the rifle sighting issue. Here it is in its entirety.
Weapons Training and Qualification For the Afghan National Police Performed by DynCorp International
Recent assertions made in Newsweek magazine and picked up by other media concerning Afghan National Police weapons qualifications procedures are factually incorrect.
All weapons training and qualifications procedures performed by DynCorp, for both pistols and rifles, are approved by the Department of Defense and the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL). The program of instruction includes training and qualification from a variety of distances (beginning at 5 meters for pistols and 10 for rifles) and postures (standing, kneeling, prone, and walking). With regard to rifle procedures, in this case AK-47s, all recruits are required to perform a mandatory basic zeroing operation (BZO) which consists of test firing 10 rounds at a time to establish proper sighting and alignment at the beginning of every training and qualification session. If the weapon does not meet standards on the first BZO, the procedure is repeated; after a second inaccurate BZO the weapon is removed from the range and taken to a separate repair facility. Detailed records are kept on all recruits, their training and weapons qualification scores. There have not been
demonstrable differences in recorded qualification scores for trainees taught by U.S. civilian contractors or international police instructors.
ANP Weapons Qualifications Overview:
As part of the Afghanistan Civilian Advisor Support (ACAS) “Basic Eight” ANP training curriculum, DynCorp International has oversight of Afghan instructors who teach marksmanship to Afghan police recruits on the 9mm pistol and AK-47 rifle. Tactical training on operational use of both weapons is taught in a subsequent Tactical Training Program (TTP) course.
All police recruit scores are recorded at the beginning and again at the end of each training course. Records of pre- and post-marksmanship training are maintained in the individual police officer’s training record at the Regional Training Center (RTC) and are forwarded at the end of the training to the police officer’s headquarters. Marksmanship records on all students are available at the RTC for inspection by the appropriate government officials. Decisions on remedial training or discharge for police officers who have failed to qualify are made by the ANP, not by DynCorp or CSTC-A.
At each training session, individual police recruits are issued specific weapons which they use throughout the entire training session. At the beginning of each session, the recruits carry out a Basic Zeroing Operation (BZO) to sight in and adjust the weapon. Each recruit’s zeroing and adjusting are done under the instruction of an Afghan trainer.
A DynCorp instructor supervises the work of the Afghan trainer. A typical
marksmanship class would have 20 recruits, four Afghan trainers and two DynCorp International instructors.
The recruit zeros in his weapon with a 10-round clip in cycles of two rounds per cycle. If the weapon is not properly sighted, further 10-round clips are shot. If basic sight adjustment does not align the weapon, the weapon is returned to the CSTC-A weapons subcontractor, HEB, located at each RTC which either repairs or replaces the weapons with one with correctly aligned sights.