Private Military Contractor Executive Outcomes Revived After 22 Years

Founder of Executive Outcomes, Eeben Barlow, today announced the “rebirth” of the prototypical private military contractor, 22 years after the company’s original incarnation ceased operations.

In a post on his Twitter profile, Barlow stated that he had “little choice but to accept the request” from unspecified African governments to restart Executive Outcomes.

Barlow elaborated in a longer post on his Facebook page, saying that after he resigned from the chairmanship of a “previous company” (Specialised Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection International or STTEP), “it didn’t take long” before he was requested by some African governments to reactivate the contractor, claiming that the governments had discovered that they had been “purposefully misled” about Executive Outcomes and learned the truth about why its original incarnation was driven out of business.

Barlow claimed that “it took some consideration” to revive the Executive Outcomes name, given the political pushback that the original Executive Outcomes faced for its activities in Africa, notably its fighting in Angola on behalf of the government against UNITA and in Sierra Leone against the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). In both cases, Executive Outcomes forces were able to militarily defeat their opponents only to be replaced by UN peacekeepers following international pressure, resulting in a return to fighting. Infamously, the RUF’s Operation No Living Thing saw the RUF murdering, looting and raping its way back to recapturing the Sierra Leonean capital of Freetown.

Executive Outcomes contractors in Sierra Leone.

More recently, Barlow’s chairmanship of STTEP sparked controversy, after it was discovered that the contractor had been hired to train Nigerian forces in January 2015, owing to the poor performance of the Nigerian military against the Boko Haram insurgency. History repeated, and following international pressure, the Nigerian government did not renew the three month contract. The Nigerian military has continued to fare poorly against both Boko Haram and ISWA since.

Unusually, the post continues by saying that:

“The company will now make it part of its mission to expose those media and intelligence whores that thrive on lying for secret payments. Likewise, we will investigate—and expose—those so-called academics and scholars that create fiction and publish deception to establish their position in academia.”

Barlow has previously accused several journalists of having been paid to smear Executive Outcomes in his book Executive Outcomes: Against All Odds, and maintains that line today. Certainly, the STTEP experience that eventually resulted in his resignation cannot have softened his opinion of the media.

Barlow says that “Executive Outcomes will, once again, assist African and other governments with the development of strategies (including campaign strategies), and provide advice, training and mentoring to those governments that request it.” However, the company will not operate in South Africa, with Barlow blaming “intelligence, law enforcement and media hypocrisy” regarding the original Executive Outcomes’ operations in South Africa.

Barlow concludes by stating that the new Executive Outcomes already has “strategic partnerships” with two companies that have “a likewise reputation for adding value to governments”, saying that Executive Outcomes will once more “provide successful African solutions—by Africans—to African problems”, regardless of outside attacks. 

However, the company is not currently recruiting people, nor has Barlow stated anything about the staffing of the new Executive Outcomes as of writing.