Via Dana at TGB, we learn that:
The Canadian Forces are using a controversial private security firm to train some of its troops sent to Afghanistan.
Select Canadian soldiers have been sent to Blackwater U.S.A. in North Carolina for specialized training in bodyguard and shooting skills...
... 18 members of the Strategic Advisory Team sent to Kabul went to Blackwater in June for a two-day course called hostile-environment defensive driver training. The cost was $29,000 which included accommodation and meals, as well as extra course time for two of the team members.
Excellent -- top-notch, mercenary training for some of our folks. What can possibly go wrong? Oh, wait:
The second reaction I hear from active-duty soldiers is that they see what they refer to as these rock star private contractors, and they want to be like them. So we have a phenomenon of soldiers leaving the active-duty military to jump over to the private sector. There’s now slang on the ground in Iraq for this jump; it's called “going Blackwater.”
Yes, from Blackwater's perspective, it doesn't get much better than this, does it: Have someone pay you to train their people, at which point you can leisurely peruse the attendees and offer the cream of the crop an offer they can't refuse to entice them out of the military as soon as they can bail on their commitment.
Yeah, that deal is certainly working out well for someone.
P.S. If I'm a Canadian official and I need a driver fully trained in dealing with hostile environments, can I specifically request not to get one of the two who needed "extra course time"? Just curious.