The Department of Defense hired Arlington-based PAE Government Services to perform “training and mentoring, and contractor logistics support for the Afghanistan National Defense Security Forces,” according to a news release.
With Obama-era troop withdrawals still the order of the day, at least for the most part, and the nation facing increasing pressure from both Taliban and Daesh (ISIS) forces, the DoD apparently believes that the ANDSF needs to be a stronger fighting force than it is today, so the $142 million contract serves several purposes. The “mentoring” aspect probably means morale-building and motivational speeches to give these soldiers more self-confidence. Of course, esprit de corps is not much good without proper training, and contractors have training skills as well as the ability to overcome both the language and cultural barriers. Logistical support comes into play here as well, to give the ANDSF the infrastructure it needs to be successful.
“Daesh” is an acronym for al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, which could mean “to trample down and crush” or “a bigot who imposes his view on others.” ISIS threatened to cut the tongue out of anyone who used this acronym instead of the group’s official name.
What Contractors Do
Especially in a theater like Afghanistan and other MENA (Middle East and North Africa) countries, contractors are valuable whether operations are just getting started, going at full speed, or winding down. The Defense Base Act provides compensation for injured contractors during all three of these phases.
In the early phases of a conflict, the under-developed official U.S. military presence often leads insurance company lawyers to argue that the area was not a “war zone” as that term is defined in the DBA. But this law was originally part of the 1941 Lend-Lease Act and explicitly designed to compensate contractors where there was no War Department presence. Moreover, the definition has been amended twice since then, and each round broadened the phrase even further.
Today, “war zone” is almost a self-defining phrase. If the DoD has designated an area as militarily significant, then ipso facto, that region is a war zone. In the unlikely event that this condition does not apply, the DBA also provides compensation for contractors who work for some sympathetic foreign governments.
As operations expand arithmetically (1-2-3-4), the danger expands exponentially (1-2-4-16), and the hazards do not begin or end at a certain time. Therefore, the DBA applies to any injury that is related to the contractor’s presence in-country, whether or not the victim was on shift or on post at the time. This expansion also applies to activities that are not 100% work-related, such as swimming partly for fun and partly to get ready for a conditioning test.
Once formal military operations end, contractors are still in-country, mostly to provide reconstruction services in various capacities. True to its original intent, the DBA applies in these instances, as well, because this law compensates injured overseas contractors who support the American mission in any way whatsoever.
A successful claim for damages begins early, since injured victims must collect evidence to demonstrate the extent of their injury and the extent of their medical bills. Injured victims do not have to prove fault in the incident in order to receive compensation, because the DBA is a workers’ compensation law. Benefits include:
- Lost Wages: Most victims receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage during any period of temporary disability; in this context, “wages” usually include regular and irregular cash and noncash income.
- Medical Bills: In addition to hospitalization and doctor bills, the DBA pays for medical devices and all other medical costs. The insurance company usually pays providers directly, and the victims are not liable for any unpaid fees.
To have an aggressive attorney on your side during this process, contact Barnett, Lerner, Karsen & Frankel.