ICYMI – Training In Somalia

An older article via International Security Driver Association (ISDA) Member Glen Edmunds

Organizations are moving into Somalia in droves. The UN is spending a lot of money trying to reconstruct the area.

As with all high risk, war zone environments comes the inevitable security companies opening offices, all touting and peddling there wears, in many instances, they remind me of the traveling salespersons in the old west who try and sell their elixirs, potions, and brews to the Indians purporting a cure-all.

On their list of cures is driver training.

Our belief is that driver training is a profession – but there are some teaching the subject that treats it as a hobby. The last place you want to have hobbyist teaching lifesaving skills is in a high risk/ war zone environment. The training they provide does not solve the problem and in many instances amplifies the problem.

The driver training in Somalia is compounded by a series of issues.

A -There are many different makes and models of Armored Vehicles

(AV’s) Imported so there is no quality control. Some of the AV’s are very basic and in some instances downright dangerous.

B – When you consider that all organizations and UN personnel are required to wear protective jackets and hard hats when traveling to and from the UN compound. Some of the newly purchased AV’s both the passenger and driver are unable to get into or out of the AV because the door opening has an armored overhang and is so large that it restricts the free movement of getting in and out of the vehicle. To facilitate the entering or leaving the vehicle they have to remove their protective jacket. Not a good thing as you can imagine.

C -In the process, local drivers are hired to drive their personnel in AV’s. However, the local drivers have little or no understanding of how an AV works or how to drive them, the standards of driving are abysmal as Somalia has no real driving schools.

D – The infrastructure has been neglected for years, so the roads are potholed and damaged. This causes cracks in the armored glass, and when cracked, the glass no longer has it’s original ballistic capability or integral strength. Again there is no follow up service by the manufactures of the AV’s.

E – Many organizations are only interested in “ticking” the box for driver or AV training so use the cheapest training option available. Moreover, although they have massive budgets don’t view driver training as a necessity and don’t understand “why” driver training needs to be done.

F – Many times when we are training, the interest level is very low by the organization staff. They tend to be indifferent towards driver training.

When we conduct training, we use a simple philosophy – Sir Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion. When the Laws of Physics are used as a training model it does not matter what you drive – where you drive it – and who is driving – the combination of driver/vehicle/ environment must live within the laws of physics. Makes no difference who thinks what. It also makes no difference if it is high risk, low risk, or what government, military, and police agencies think; when it comes to the laws of physics the driver and in the security world your adversary must live within them – it is what it is.

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