The contract, which could be worth up to $249 million, directs CACI to provide high-level support for U.S. Africa Command, as well as its partners and allies in the region.
CACI CEO John Mengucci said his company would do more than provide combat support. Contractors will also work to improve existing systems and make them more efficient. “This contract represents new business for our company with a new customer, demonstrating CACI is prepared to support U.S. servicemembers around the globe,” he remarked.
AFRICOM is headquartered in Germany and it has jurisdiction over the entire African continent.
Insurgency Groups in Africa
For many years, Africa’s European and North American nickname was the “dark continent” because most people knew so little about it. Even today, Western literacy about Africa is limited. So, before we talk about contractors, we should talk about why they are there.
Boko Haram is an ISIS-affiliated group which is active in west Africa. Many of these countries have large land areas and relatively low populations. That environment is fertile ground for an insurgency.
The group began in 2002 as a nonviolent movement which sought to purify Islam. Things have changed radically over the past few years. At one time, Boko Haram was one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the country.
The ongoing conflict has displaced over two million people since 2013. However, Nigeria destroyed a number of Boko Haram camps in 2015, and according to some observers, the group is now on the ropes.
On the other end of the compass, things are similar. Al Shabaab is still very active and very violent. However, this al Qaeda splinter group in the Horn of Africa is not as menacing as it was in the early 2010s.
As late as 2014, the group had as many as 9,000 fighters and the militants controlled large swaths of territory, including parts of Mogadishu. Then Somalia launched an aggressive, U.S.-supported military campaign against al Shabaab, which included a drone strike that killed a key terrorist leader. As a result, al Shabaab withdrew to the countryside, where its militants continue carrying out occasional terrorist attacks.
Russia is a growing threat, as well. Recently, the Kremlin has made inroads in places like the Central African Republic. The CAR is one of many countries in the region with an unstable government and rich natural resources. That kind of environment attracts Russia and other such countries like a magnet. The Cold War might be over, but no one wants to see an array of Russian client states in Africa.
Finally, in a number of countries, most notably Libya, Arab Spring rebels are still trying to depose longtime dictators. Extended civil wars are hard on civilians, and not just because of the deprivations. Frequently, the lack of progress frustrates armed forces on both sides, and the troops sometimes lash out.
What CACI and Other Contractors Do
Regular servicemembers rarely venture into places like Niger, which is still fighting Boko Haram. So, American policymakers often count on private military contractors to stabilize these governments and keep the Russians out.
Contractors provide valuable experience. Many African soldiers have never fought insurgents before. Since most contractors are War on Terror veterans, they know how insurgents operate and they know how to deal with militants. That knowledge often gives African soldiers a critical edge on the battlefield.
Contractor importance begins before the troops go into the field. Many contractors train native troops, especially in things like anti-insurgency combat. Many contractors are Africans themselves. So, they do more than overcome the language barrier; they also overcome the cultural barrier.
Finally, contractors often provide security and other support services. Some soldiers grumble when they draw guard duty or other such assignments, but contractors embrace them. In fact, most private military contractors fill these roles. Many contractors verify IDs at checkpoints, patrol neighborhoods where there is little enemy activity, and escort supply convoys.
Wage replacement might be the most important Defense Base Act benefit. Wage replacement gives a family an income stream, so they can pay everyday expenses like the mortgage.
The 1941 Defense Base Act has very generous wage replacement benefits. The Department of Labor administers the DBA, so the bureaucrats in charge know the financial challenges that working families face. As such, there are several types of benefits available:
- Temporary Total Disability: Most job injury victims at least start in the TTD category. These individuals cannot work due to their work-related illnesses or injuries. Generally, the DBA pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage for the duration of the temporary disability.
- Temporary Partial Disability: After a few months, many victims “graduate” to the TPD category. These individuals can work because their PT or illness treatments are less intense. However, they must normally accept light duty assignments or reduce their hours. So, the DBA usually pays two-thirds of the difference between the old and new salaries.
- Permanent Total Disability: PTD is usually the rarest category. Generally, a “disability” is a physical, mental, or other condition which makes it impossible to hold down a meaningful job. So, in addition to medical implications, the d-word has vocational, educational, and other implications.
- Permanent Partial Disability: Frequently, victims reach their MMI (maximum medical improvement) before their injuries are 100% healed. In these cases, the DBA usually pays benefits based on the type of injury, extent of injury, and the victim’s Average Weekly Wage.
AWW calculations are often complex. The AWW includes more than regular cash compensation. Other factors include regular non-cash compensation, like a housing allowance, and performance bonuses.
Additionally, the victim’s prior salary might not reflect the victim’s earnings in the coming months. There’s a big difference in salary between a truck driver in Alabama and a truck driver in Afghanistan.
Contact Barnett, Lerner, Karsen, Frankel & Castro, P.A. for more information about DBA medical benefits.