Sea Control 29 – Interview with Erik Prince

Starting today until April 19, CIMSEC’s Next War blog features a themed special week about Private Military Contractors (PMCs). Thus, Matthew Hipple interviews Erik Prince, a former U.S. Navy SEAL officer, founder of Blackwater USA (after several name changes, now know as Academi) and author of “Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror“, in episode 29 of Sea Control. As of 2013, he heads a private equity firm called Frontier Resource Group (FRP), operating in more than a dozen African countries serving as an adviser to Israeli and Chinese investors in Africa (cf.: George Chen, “Into Africa: Ex-navy SEAL sets trail for investors“, South China Morning Post, 19.11.2012).

According to Prince, it seems that FRP will concentrate on logistics in Africa. If FRP will tackle security challenges with own mercenaries in Africa, is not entirely clear. For example, Prince will control fuel theft or container losses with monitoring techniques like tracking beacons and doesn’t speak about security personnel. Another example: Prince thinks that FRP could provide African states the equipment to control their territorial sea, but he doesn’t say anything about training. Already Xe (the name of Blackwater before the company was named Academi) unsuccessfully tried to provide maritime security. Therefore the company converted the NOAAS McArthur (S 330) to a private maritime security ship (MV McArthur). According to Prince, Xe finally sold off the ship.

Eric Prince with his book "Civilian Warrior"

Eric Prince with his book “Civilian Warrior”

Unsurprisingly Prince sees a big importance of PMCs in conflict zones and predict a robust future for this kind of business. According to him, one of the big advantages of Blackwater was to have its own personnel, vehicles, planes, helicopters and so on. No other PMC of the United States can provide that amount of own assets, which Blackwater did. But he his very critical about the US government, which finally torched Blackwater. His greatest regret is to have worked for the US State Department.

Listen to episode #29 immediately

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CIMSECThe Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank. It was formed in 2012 to bring together forward-thinkers from a variety of fields to examine the capabilities, threats, hotspots, and opportunities for security in the maritime domain. Check out the NextWar blog to join the discussion. CIMSEC encourages a diversity of views and is currently accepting membership applications here.

This entry was posted in English, Mercenary, Sea Control.

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