Ensuring Ethical Conduct on the World Stage

Article excerpt

Remembering the IPOA Code of Conduct

IPOA exists in large part to raise the standards of the peace and stability operations industry, to ensure sound and ethical professionalism, and maintain transparency in the conduct of peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction activities. All member companies subscribe to the IPOA Code of Conduct, which represents a constructive effort toward better regulating private sector operations in conflict and post-conflict environments. The Code reflects IPOA's belief that high standards will both benefit the industry and serve the greater causes of peace, development and human security.

In 2008, the U.S. government enacted new regulations that sought to, through the establishment of formal contract language, achieve the same effects sought by IPOA. New modifications to both the Federal Acquisition Regulations and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations System (DFARS) require that contractors ensure that employees in designated areas are familiar with and comply with:

* United States, host country and third country national laws;

* Treaties and international agreements;

* United States regulations, directives, instructions, policies and procedures; and,

* Orders, directives and instructions issued by the Chief of Mission or the Regional Combatant Commander relating to mission accomplishments, force protection, security, health, safety, or relations and interaction with local nationals.

These requirements apply to contractors in support of the U.S. Armed Forces deployed outside the United States in contingency operations; humanitarian or peacekeeping operations; other military operations; or military exercises, when designated by the Combatant Commander.

The rule further applies if the contractor is providing support at a diplomatic or consular mission outside the United States in which a contractor performs a contract administered by a federal agency with personnel subject to the direction of a Chief of Mission. The federal government is slowly acting to implement the guidance necessary to ensure compliance with these rules. New requests for proposals seek to execute the new rules via contract language.

While IPOA strongly supports the new rules that mandate the training of employees, we are disappointed in the lack of clear guidance from the U.S. government to ensure complete, well informed compliance. This paper provides the IPOA view of how best to comply with these rules.

The government posting in the Federal Register (VoI 71, No 137 July 18, 2006) stated, "The purpose and effect of the rule was to relieve the current perceived burden on contractors operating in a contingency environment without consistent guidance or a standardized clause. By establishing a standardized clause spelling out the standardized rules, this rule effectively reduces the burden on small business. It establishes a framework within which it will be easier for contractors to operate overseas."

While the goal for the rules to was to provide clarity, the actual language falls quite short. Member questions to the agencies overseeing these rules have determined:

* While the government had initially advertised the potential development of government-provided course material to satisfy this rule, the only government -provided training will be at the Consolidated Training Centers. …