MOYOCK, N.C. , Oct. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackwater Worldwide and its affiliated companies today announced a comprehensive initiative to enhance export compliance throughout its global operations. The initiative, under development for several months, includes the creation of an independent committee of experienced outside experts to oversee export compliance and the addition of a Vice President of Export Compliance. These efforts are supported by a global training initiative, proposed enhanced business controls and an increased compliance staff.
"U.S. export controls are a key part of our country's national security and foreign policy. Blackwater, a partner with the U.S. Government in many important programs, has an obligation to also be a partner in compliance," said Erik Prince , Blackwater Founder and CEO.
"Our company has experienced remarkable growth in the last few years. This growth, our work for the U.S. Government around the world, and the nature of the services we offer have created compliance challenges. The comprehensive initiative announced today is our direct response to those challenges and our recognition of the importance of these controls. This initiative demonstrates that we will meet these compliance challenges with the same unwavering commitment to excellence that has distinguished Blackwater for years," according to Mr. Prince.
The independent committee, the Export Compliance Committee, represents a talented cross section of experts. They are:
-- Robert C. Bonner . Former U.S. Attorney; U.S. District Court Judge; Commissioner of U.S. Customs; first Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
-- Asa Hutchinson . Former U.S. Attorney; Administrator of the DEA; U.S. Congressman (Ark.); and first Under Secretary of Homeland Security.
-- Carol R. Marshall . Former Vice President of Ethics and Business Conduct at Lockheed Martin; Senior Vice President, Ethics and Business Conduct at MCI; Chair of the Ethics Resource Center Fellows Program; and Chair and Working Group Liaison to the Defense Industry Initiative on Business Ethics.
Committee members have full and independent authority over Blackwater's export control matters. For the new position of Vice President of Export Compliance, the company has recruited Karen Jones who was most recently Director, Import Export Operations, Raytheon Missile Systems Division. "Ms. Jones is an accomplished trade compliance professional with a deep resume. She is an expert in integrating export licensing, compliance and a culture of transparency into complex global operations. We look forward to her contribution in making Blackwater's compliance system the standard of the industry," said Mr. Prince.
Adding to this effort, Blackwater has strengthened and expanded its existing compliance programs. Blackwater has redoubled efforts to educate personnel as to the importance of compliance; introduced a premiere online compliance training program for employees and independent contactors; and expanded its compliance staff.
"As a global leader in providing training programs and private security services, Blackwater has faced many unique challenges. Several of these challenges involve the integration of compliance controls and training into a global service network that often works under tight time requirements in dangerous environments. On-going reviews by the Departments of Justice, State and Commerce have highlighted the need for a significant and systems-wide initiative," according to Blackwater General Counsel, Andrew Howell . "The creation of this independent committee, recruiting Karen Jones and putting significant time, money and attention into compliance reflect Blackwater's renewed commitment to exceeding compliance expectations," said Mr. Howell.
The Committee began work on October 6, 2008 , and members will serve a 12-month term. Ms. Jones joins Blackwater on October 13, 2008 .
Guided by integrity, innovation, accountability, and a desire for a safer world, Blackwater Worldwide leverages state-of-the-art training facilities, professional program management teams, and innovative manufacturing and production capabilities to deliver world-class, customer-driven solutions.