Amid Rising Conflicts, Contractor Group Asks U.S. to Help Protect Workers Abroad

The Professional Services Council says that U.S. officials should take steps to make more security information available to contractors working abroad.

The past two weeks have seen a flare-up of international conflict, particularly in the Middle East.

In many ways, U.S. contractors are caught in the middle of such instances—and recently, three U.S. contractors died in separate incidents in Iraq and Kenya. The former attack, which killed one contractor, was associated with the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah. The attack on a Kenyan military base over the weekend, which involved the terror group Al-Shabaab, led to the deaths of two contractors and the destruction of contractor-owned aircraft.

With things growing more dangerous after the targeted killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani by U.S. military forces, a major contractors group is asking military leaders to take steps to ensure industry partners are aware of any potential threats that could affect employees working abroad.

The Professional Services Council called on Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to issue a joint public statement in support of contractors, as well as to provide access to updated threat information as it’s made available.

“While we cannot yet link the recent attacks in Kenya directly to the increased threat of retaliation from Iran or its proxies, these events show the increased risks faced by U.S. Government contractors,” PSC President and CEO David Berteau said in a statement. “Contractors serve a vital role and support critical missions, and we believe DoD and the State Department should increase their public focus on sharing with contractors all relevant information.”

Berteau noted that contractors work closely with government agencies on issues of national security, which often puts them in a vulnerable position when security incidents do flare up.

“The government has a duty to maximize the information it shares with companies and workers and to update that information as often as necessary and appropriate,” he added. “Companies need this information to prepare and protect their employees.”

(wsfurlan/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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