Use military veterans for security suggests top analyst


The security of defence and defence related facilities seems “an outstanding opportunity” for the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) top military analyst Helmoed Heitman believes.

He was responding to an Armscor tender seeking guarding services at the defence and security acquisition agency head office in the Department of Defence (DoD) building in Pretoria as well as at other Armscor sites. While not specified in the tender notice on the Armscor website it would probably include the Alkantpan test range, Gerotek vehicle testing site, Simon’s Town naval dockyard and the Protechnik facilities in Centurion.

The tender requirement is for the provision of 24 hour security with a closing date of January 15.

Heitman asks whether the powers that be – both Armscor and the DoD – should not be looking at establishing a security service under the auspices of the DMV.

He sees such a service employing veterans to provide security services to Armscor, the DoD and “even” key defence industry facilities.

There are immediate benefits from such a service.

These include providing effective security by personnel familiar with the national defence force, its requirements and procedures.

Additionally it would provide a clear career path for mainly junior and senior NCOs who are too old for their rank but want to remain in uniform without further promotion and the added duties it brings.

Heitman also maintains a DMV run security service would relieve combat units of the burden they have in providing young soldiers and NCOs for routine guard duties. “This gets in the way of training and tends to result in soldiers not really wanted in unit lines being sent. The chances of them making a hash of the guarding function as well as creating a bad impression on visitors is fairly high.”

He sees this security service as providing the first line of security at major bases and similar facilities doing guarding and patrols as well as access control and escort duties and even extending to reaction force-type sorties if needed.

“The service could also provide staff for telephone exchanges and emergency services control rooms. These are all tasks older personnel tend to be better at than young soldiers.

“Kept properly disciplined and provided with a proper, neat uniform – not camouflage and boots – they would make a far better impression on the public and foreign visitors than civilian security guards or bored young soldiers who would rather be busy with further training or soldiers detailed for the duty because their unit does not want them around,” Heitman said.