|Industry||Security & risk management consulting, private security, defense contracting|
|Headquarters 🏙️||Reston, Virginia, United States|
Area served 🗺️
|Services||Security management, part and full time risk management consulting, crisis management|
Number of employees
Constellis is a private security company that provides integrated security, mission support and risk management services to corporate, government and nonprofit clients. The firm was created in 2010, and combines several security contracting firms, including Academi (formerly Blackwater), Triple Canopy and the Olive Group. Among others, it is staffed by former personnel from U.S. Army Special Operations, U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Army Rangers, MARSOC (Marine Corps Special Operations), United Kingdom Special Forces, MSG (Marine Security Guards), and select former law enforcement officers. Currently, over 20,000 employees work for Constellis.
Triple Canopy was incorporated in Chicago but now maintains its headquarters in Reston, Virginia. The firm's website states that it provides security services to "government agencies, corporations and non-governmental organizations across the globe". A review of Triple Canopy operations in Iraq conducted by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) stated that the firm’s personnel were a "well-trained, professional workforce with significant prior experience" in military and law enforcement.
The name "Triple Canopy" was initially chosen to refer to the layered canopies in the jungles where some of the key founding members received training. Also, the name refers to the distinction among U.S. Army personnel wearing the Airborne, Ranger, and Special Forces tabs, if authorized, when assigned to Special Forces units.
Triple Canopy’s leadership includes former Delta Force officers, industry analysts and asset management experts, and consultants. Jason DeYonker is the Chief Executive Officer and Dean Bosacki is the President.
According to their website, the firm was established in 2003, founded by U.S. Army Special Forces veterans Matt Mann and Tom Katis. The two sought to create a business to address the threat of international terrorism, and decided to apply their knowledge of military activities to “train government agencies in anti-terrorism techniques." The firm received its first contracts in 2004, following the invasion of Iraq, to help guard and equip allied forces in the war zone, especially for the Coalition Provisional Authority.
In the years following, the firm won additional State Department contracts to provide security services at some of the highest-risk U.S. embassies around the world. This work is performed under the Worldwide Personal Protective Services contract issued by the State Department, valued at up to $1 billion for the handful of companies assigned a share of the work.
In November 2010, around 60 private security firms, including Triple Canopy, that were operating in war zones guaranteed to cut back their use of force, and improve vetting and training of personnel as well as reporting and infringements of the law.
Triple Canopy is known principally for providing security in Iraq, particularly for guarding Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters throughout the country. In April 2009, contracts in Iraq handled by Blackwater USA, then under investigation for rule-breaking and violence, were assigned by the State Department to Triple Canopy. Previously, Triple Canopy had been responsible for contracts outside of Baghdad, whereas those contracts the firm took over were mainly based in Baghdad.
In addition to security roles, Triple Canopy is involved in Iraq in other ways, sponsoring the Iraq Energy Expo and Conference to assist in rebuilding the nation.
In September 2005, four Triple Canopy team members were killed, along with 13 others, when a bomb exploded on a street in Basra, Iraq. A rocket attack in July 2010 on Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone killed three Triple Canopy personnel and wounded 15 more.
Adam Hermanson, an employee of Triple Canopy and a U.S. Air Force veteran, died September 1, 2009, after apparently being accidentally electrocuted while showering in his quarters at a company installation inside Baghdad’s protected Green Zone. Hermanson’s family has alleged that faulty wiring was to blame and have claimed the company has not been fully forthcoming about details of the incident.
Wrongful termination suit
Triple Canopy fired two contractors working in Iraq in 2006 for their failure to properly report, in a timely manner, that their supervisor fired on a civilian vehicle in Iraq. The supervisor, also terminated, denied the allegations. The two subsequently filed a lawsuit against the company alleging wrongful termination. On August 1, 2007, a jury in Fairfax County Circuit Court ruled in favor of Triple Canopy. On appeal, the Virginia Supreme Court overturned that ruling and ordered a new trial, saying that the judge had given the wrong instructions to the jury in the original trial. The parties reached a settlement out of court. The terms were not disclosed.
Code of ethics
In June 2010 testimony before the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, CEO Ignacio Balderas expressed the firm’s support for a “system of private security contractor certification by third parties.” According to Triple Canopy, the firm "participated in the effort to establish an international code of conduct since the development of the Montreaux Document in 2006, and even provided the company's Code of Conduct to the Swiss government as a source document."
The result of these efforts was the development and adoption of a Code of Conduct for Private Security Contractors, and Balderas spoke at the signing ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland in November 2010.
In 2007, Triple Canopy acquired Clayton Consultants, Inc., a crisis management security consultancy offering incident response, security consulting and training services. According to the firm's website, it "specializes in the prevention and resolution of kidnaps for ransom, extortion, malicious product tampering, wrongful detention, maritime security, workplace violence and client risk" and is especially active on the U.S.-Mexico border. Clayton Consultants has also been hired to help handle problems of piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
- Fortunes of War John Helyar, 7 July 2004, CNN: Money
- Triple Canopy to Move HQ to Reston Tierny Plumb, 22 January 2010, Washington Business Journal
- Performance Evaluation of the Triple Canopy Contract for Personal Protective Services in Iraq Archived 2011-01-05 at the Wayback Machine Middle East Regional Office, April 2009, Office of Inspector General
- Blackwater Tops Firms in Iraq in Shooting Rate John M. Broder, 27 September 2007, New York Times
- "Leadership". Constellis. Archived from the original on 20 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
- The Other Army Daniel Bergner, 2005 August 14, New York Times
- Embassy Security Firms Chosen Renae Merle, 2005 June 17, Washington Post
- Triple Canopy Donates and Delivers Humanitarian Aid to Haitian Earthquake Victims n/a, 17 March 2010, Reuters
- Triple Canopy Supports Pakistan Relief Efforts n/a, 2010, Lexdon
- "Security firms signing up to conduct code for war zones - Scotsman.com News". news.scotsman.com. 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- Blackwater Gets Replaced in Iraq Kirit Radia, 1 April 2009, ABC News
- Triple Canopy Sponsors Iraq Expo and Conference Archived 2011-01-05 at the Wayback Machine Triple Canopy Inc., 4 December 2008, Triple Canopy
- Basra Blasts Kill 4 US Contractors, 13 Others Edmund Sanders, 8 September 2005, Los Angeles Times
- Rocket Attack on Baghdad Green Zone Kills Three n/a, 22 July 2010, BBC News
- US Contractor Electrocuted While Showering in Iraq n/a, 8 September 2005, Fox News
- Jeremy Scahill (September 10, 2009). "The Death of Adam Hermanson". The Nation.
- Triple Canopy Gets New Contract for Iraq Security Ben Hammer, 30 August 2007, Washington Business Journal
- C. J. Chivers (November 17, 2003). "Contractor's Boss in Iraq Shot at Civilians, Workers' Suit Says". New York Times. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
- Former Marine Corps sniper and security contractor Shane Schmidt dies at 33 Emma Brown, 23 September 2010, Washington Post
- Statement of Ignacio Balderas, Chief Executive Officer, Triple Canopy Inc., Before the Commission on Wartime Contracting n/a, 21 June 2010, Triple Canopy
- 58 Firms Sign Historic International Code of Conduct for Private Security Services Providers, Human Righs First, press release, 9 November 2010.
- Security Firms Lobby for Tougher Rules August Cole, 2009 July 1, Wall Street Journal
- Clayton Consultants Fact Sheet Archived 2011-01-05 at the Wayback Machine Triple Canopy Inc., 16 September 2010, Triple Canopyl
- Private Security Counters Pirates Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine Laura Spadanuta, n/a, Security Management
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