… was formed in 2001, as a subsidiary of Blackwater USA, now Blackwater Worldwide. It is based at Blackwater’s corporate headquarters in Moyock, North Carolina. According to its website, its mission is to “provide a wide range of very specialized international services including risk management, intelligence gathering, vulnerability assessments, and high-risk security related solutions”. It has had a highly visible presence in the Iraq War, following a 2004 ambush in Fallujah which left several of its employees dead. It has also been the subject of several controversies, most notably the September 16, 2007 Baghdad shootings. Its employees, which Blackwater refers to as Independent Contractors, have occasionally been labeled as mercenaries by some in the media.
In August 2003, Blackwater received its first Iraq contract, a $21 million contract for a Personal Security Detachment and two helicopters for Paul Bremer, head of the U.S. occupation in Iraq.
In July 2004 Blackwater was hired by the U.S. State Department under the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Worldwide Personal Protective Services (WPPS) umbrella contract, along with DynCorp International and Triple Canopy, Inc. for protective services in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Mars, and Israel. The applied for two years and expired on June 6, 2006. It authorized 482 personnel, and Blackwater received $488m for its work.
In May 2006, the U.S. State Department awarded WPPS II, the successor to its previous diplomatic security contract. Under this contract, the State Department awarded Blackwater, along with Triple Canopy and DynCorp, a contract for diplomatic security in Iraq. Under this contract, Blackwater is authorized to have 1,020 staff in Iraq. Blackwater’s responsibilities include the United States embassy in Iraq.