Despite its incredibly shady past, security contractor Blackwater has continued to live on through splinter companies, some of which have continued in their predecessor's reputation for poorly executed military contractor operations. Such is the case with AAR Airlift Group, which has been the subject of discussion, fueled not by the failures of Blackwater, but its own flaws.
AAR has come into public scrutiny following multiple blunders since landing an 11-year $10 billion contract from the U.S. government to transport government officials, including representatives and diplomats.
One such incident involving AAR has left the company banned from an undisclosed airfield in Afghanistan following a violation of security protocol – a limitation which may negatively impact AAR's ability to complete the work that they were contracted to do on behalf of the Defense Department.
Following the renaming of Erik Prince's Blackwater to EP Aviation, it sold its assets to AAR Airlift Group. And though it may have changed names, Blackwater is still leaving its mark on the world of military operations and attempts to cover its tracks.
AAR's heritage is, perhaps, why some of its recent actions have been more devious, as a conflict with competitor DynCorp may suggest. Currently, DynCorp is standing by its allegations that AAR landed the coveted contract by committing acts of corporate espionage.
Initial findings point to the fact that various AAR employees did uncover billing information from a subcontractor using illegal methods, but as of now there has not been any proof of AAR using that information in order to win the contract.
Regardless of AAR's actual actions in this conflict, DynCorp feels that AAR's furtive operations should disqualify it from the State Department contract. Additionally, members of Congress have reached out to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, requesting that he review the safety record of AAR Airlift Group, fearing that the contractor may not be cut out to deliver the standard of safety needed for such sensitive work.
American Security News reached out to members of the House Committee on Armed Services for comment on the situation with AAR, but none responded.
DynCorp has been flying for the State Department, thanks to a change in the contract which was originally going to expire in April, but it may continue to work in this role until there is a settlement on the lawsuit between AAR and DynCorp.