Editor's note: John McClurg, VP, Chief Security Officer for Dell Global Security, is also the 2011 co-chair for the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). Security magazine is pleased to share his chronicles with you as he travels around the world to visit with OSAC's constituents, to allow for greater collaboration and to safeguard the lives and business interests of Americans abroad.
Day 6: Baghdad
Of the more than 7,000 OSAC constituent representatives, a growing number are non-governmental organizations (NGOs), faith-based institutions, or members of academia. In that spirit, our first meeting this morning was with the coordinator of USAID, who manages the activities across the country of 12 implementing partners whose employees are often out on the edge of environments one could rightly characterize as anything but stable. Assisting this ever-growing base of constituents in protecting themselves against threats as diverse in nature as are their organizational structures was once again reaffirmed as a critical OSAC objective.
At the conclusion of our meeting we all donned our PPE (personal protection equipment) and made our way via a secure convoy of armored vehicles to Camp Victory and Saddam Hussein’s Al-Faw Palace. The beguiling nature of the serenity that now shrouds the Palace was offset, here and there, by what one could still see as the vivid reminders of the military action that had played out there not too long ago. One guard tower showed the signs of having been thoroughly perforated by an assortment of military weapon systems.
Inside the Palace we met with representatives of the CONOC—Contractor Operations Cell…a dedicated team of proverbial “cat-herders,” charged with the coordination and monitoring of all Private Security Corporations (PSCs) operations moving in and around the country, assuring when necessary the deployment of MEDEVAC and Quick Response Force (QRF). Of all the concerns that have captured our attention since arriving in Iraq, the preservation of the functionalities developed by this team and extended to the benefit of private sector entities operating in the theatre ranks as one of the most immediate and pressing concerns. As validation of that concern we noted that a discussion of the issues surrounding that effort had made it on to the agenda of tomorrow’s Country Council.
After our meetings concluded, we paused for a brief photo in the rotunda of the Palace, the full grandeur of which is currently cloaked by a huge banner hung from the ceiling, of the U.S. Forces—Iraq. As part of the evolving transition of the place the palace is soon slated for return to the people of Iraq.
Tomorrow we’ll engage the Baghdad Country Council, a forum we hope will be up to the task of grappling with the complexity so clearly conveyed to day.
**Click on the link below for photos.