Gathering of regional leaders across jurisdictions to discuss security and related topics. Each meeting will focus on a specific topic with the goal of formulating solutions for the community. The information below is tentative and wild guesses and does not represent commitments from the individuals or organizations listed.
- Topic: Security Training - Alternatives to Blackwater (Xe) and similar private training organizations. See details below.
- Date: TBD
- Venue: TBD, but likely that Southwestern College will host.
- Participants (Proposed, draft):
- Rep. Bob Filner + more federal level
- State level reps: Mary Salas, Marty Block
- Dianne Jacob, County Supervisor
- Bersin, Border czar
- Jerry Sanders -- Mayor's office
- City Council members, if interested.
- Ben Hueso's office (City Council President)
- TBD, Port District
El Cajon, CA 92020; 619-644-7306)
- Law Enforcement
- Bill Gore, County Sheriff Dept.
- TBD, San Diego City Police Dept.
- TBD, Border Patrol
- TBD, DoD
- Alfredo Arenas, state force international liaison, involved in training of Baja California State Police with US. NAVY in San Diego.
- Center on Policy Initiatives: Murtaza H. Baxamusa, Ph.D., AICP, Director of Research and Policy firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mostly round table discussion as opposed to structured presentations?
During the 1990s, BRAC (Base Closure and Realignment) closed bases across the country, scaling back our military infrastructure. Without discussing the merits of BRAC, the assertion is that we now have too few training facilities for our law enforcement and military. Private firms, such as Blackwater, have seen this as an opportunity for expansion and have established a major position in the field, with their 7,000+ acre facility in North Carolina, "Blackwater Lodge" and a small training camp in Illinois "Blackwater North." Over the past year, they have attempted to establish an 824-acre facility in Potrero, near the border in East San Diego County. After pulling out of that project after fierce public outcry, they have secretly established a training center in Otay Mesa,
just a stones-throw from the border. Other private developments have been proposed, such as Covert Canyon
(Alpine), Wind Zero
(Imperial County), and "The Procinctu Group
" (Riverside County), pointing out the need for facilities. Some community colleges have entertained or entered into agreements with these private organizations (see Blackwater In Southwestern College
and Wind Zero
There are severe problems with privatization of this element of our security:
- Baghdad-like conflicts not desired for the border region.
- Placing a profit motive on training and security will likely result in more unrest, as it results in more profits.
- Blackwater uses training time to promote defection of recruits to their own private army
- Profits made by Blackwater are siphoned out of the public sector to NC or offshore. Greystone is based in Barbados and is an arm of Blackwater.
- Blackwater has been unwilling to provide business information because the are "private," even when under oath during congressional inquiries.
- Paramilitary and guerrilla training are illegal in California. Unless oversight is possible, it is difficult to verify if a firm like Blackwater is complying with the law.
General Proposal -- Security Training:
- Determine training & practice needs of various institutions, such as police, sheriff, border patrol, Navy, etc. now and at least 20+ years into the future.
- Find a convenient location on government property that can be used for needed law enforcement and military training, including shooting, school, and ship security.
- Locate public institutions, such as City College and Southwestern College District willing to conduct such training while providing complete transparency.
- What steps must be taken, in terms of legislation, agreements, etc. to make the proposal reality.
- What bodies must be approached to consider the proposal.
- Discuss the idea with a number of officials and get buy-in, and then schedule it. Southwestern College Governing Board has an agenda item to form a task force to consider their options for shooting ranges so as to also get out of their deal with Blackwater (Xe).