Benefits to International Security Providers
The new Quality Management System Standard ISO 9001:2015 is expected to be published late 2016. This new updated standard focuses on an ongoing standardisation format of all ISO Standards, as well as requiring greater focus on leadership. International Organization of Standardisation state that:
'Leadership requirements will be consistent across all of the ISO's management standards as they are revised in the future,, helping to demonstrate that certification is a clear sign of an organisation meeting international best practice'.
With this new focus from ISO not just on format but on quantifying and providing more structure for organisational leadership, this is a potential advantage which the forth coming ISO Standard for ISP's may have over the ASIS PSC 1 Standard.
ISPs have already started gaining certification to the ASIS PSC 1 Standard, designed to provide ISPs with a formal mechanism designed around meeting the requirements of the International Code of Conduct. However with the new ISO 9001:2015 update and the ISO standardisation of standards, I am encouraged for the ongoing drafting and development of the ISO equivalent to the ASIS PSC 1 Standard within the UK, which will assist in providing not just a framework for compliance to the ICOC, but structure and focus to leadership.
With this in mind it is imperative that these standards be they PSC 1 of the forth coming ISO for ISPs and their management systems are adopted and effectively maintained in the manner they have been designed.
Like all incidents or set backs in industry, it is focus on post review, root cause analysis and implementation and monitoring of corrective actions which can prevent reoccurrence and continual improvement. Post Nisour Square convictions of the four Blackwater Operatives in the United States, ISPs, more than ever need to effectively demonstrate compliance to the ICOC, legal requirements as well as providing systems through effective leadership to enhance confidence in their market with regard to current and new opportunities.
The Nisour Square convictions and other previous incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan have illustrated that ISP have in some instances been found wanting. Concerns of this nature, within the international community, undermine the ISP Market and illustrate the need for controls to be in place to ensure legal compliance, governance and transparency within corporate as well as operational teams. Without clear direction and effective leadership, the ISP Market may well be in jeopardising future contracts and the overall sustainability of its own market.
Skills related to sound leadership and experience in the field, in tactical (and indeed longer term strategic) situations, is a very real and developed advantage, which current and past member of the military have over civilian organisations. The need for good leaders and indeed leadership itself as a skill, is somewhat lacking in many modern organisations and in current industries.
The ISP market must continue to rail against disparaging terms such as 'Mercenary' or 'Guns for Hire' and represent itself for what it is; an integrated element of the UK / US Security Strategy, as well as a much needed professional service provider which protects NGO, Aid Agency and International New Agencies personnel, operational activities and assets world wide.
At present I believe that it is the minor actions of the few which is being used to judge the majority of the ISP Market. There have of course been media worthy incidents and individuals who have acted illegally with the result that innocent civilians are hurt or killed. But there have also been numerous occasions where, through the unselfish actions of the ISP Personnel on the ground, very often with greater practical knowledge, training and/or experience in comparison with their regular troop counterparts, numerous lives have been saved and more serious incidents have been prevented.
1. Will Scully - 1997 Freetown, Sierra Leone. Protected 1000 civilians during a siege of a hotel by over 200 armed rebels and single handedly leading the 1000 civilians to safety. Will was awarded the Queens Gallantry Medal for his heroic achievement.
2. Blackwater - Najaf Square Siege. Blackwater Operatives held the coalition compound which was under attack with Blackwater Littlebirds flying in supplies and taking out wounded during the attacks.
3. Blackwater - 10 Oct 2007 the rescue of the Polish Ambassador
4. Craft - April 2003. Provision of monitoring and security at the Boston Marathon Bombing Incident.
However, it is important that the less flattering incidents such as Nisour Square and Fallujah, are seen to clearly generate corrective actions, have them identified and them identified and them implemented within the ISP Market, Market Standards and individual management systems to prevent similar occurrences, but these incidents should never used to subsequently label all ISPs who provide professional and effective services so effectively.
In a similar manner to Health and Safety legislation in the UK (those more practical elements at least), it is the actions with prevent incidents, injury or even death that we are unable to quantify accurately and as such are overlooked or discarded.
(I have the privilege of knowing members and ex-members of her Majesty's Armed Forces, most of whom held / hold the rank of NCO or higher. I have also seen men with exemplary military service having to settle for a second rate career sitting as a civilian security guard on a gate, or behind a reception desk, because civilian employers do not understand their qualifications, initiative, drive, leadership and problem solving abilities which could openly benefit a civilian organization if properly directed and managed.)
In terms of ISPs however, through effective and efficient implementation of these new management system standards, and through clear and precise leadership, it is clear that these companies can assist in ensuring continual improvement and enhanced capability in current and new potential security markets, which will surely contribute to the overall global security.