Controversial private security firm Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide, is gearing up for a new mission in Afghanistan—and new ownership.
Xe recently won a $120 million State Department contract for consulate security in Afghanistan and a $100 million CIA contract for security services in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
“Of the total military spending in the world, the US spends half of that, and that’s an unsustainable number,” Erik Prince, founder and chairman of Xe, told CNBC Thursday.
“You’re going to have to turn to private sector efficiency initiatives if the US is going to be able to project power and help its friends,” he added.
In addition to the new contracts, the company announced on June 7 that it is seeking new ownership.
“After three-and-a-half years of an assault by some of the bureaucracy, a sort of proctology exam brought on by some in Congress, it’s time to hang it up,” Prince, a former Navy Seal, explained.
In 2003, Blackwater attained its first high-profile US deal with a $21 million security contract in Iraq. The company is now banned from operating in Iraq after several alleged incidents of its security forces firing on Iraqi civilians during the war.
The firm has faced many private lawsuits and several probes by Congress into its practices. In December 2008, a US State Department panel recommended that Xe should be dropped as the main private security contractor for U.S. diplomats in Iraq.