KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The U.S. Army has picked German company Sicherheit Nord to provide security at its installations in Germany, a move that will effectively end the service’s decades-long relationship with the veteran-owned Pond Security.
On Jan. 2, the Army awarded Sicherheit Nord a $322 million, multi-year security guard contract that a company executive said will be among the firm’s biggest. Sicherheit Nord already provides a similar service at German military bases around the country.
Installation Management Command — Europe, which oversees security at Army posts and the guard contract, has yet to announce the change.
A spokeswoman for the Army contracting unit that issued the award, however, verified that the Sicherheit Nord contract is a done deal. Executives from both Pond Security and Sicherheit Nord acknowledged that they’ve already started planning for the changeover, scheduled for the end of May.
According to contracting documents posted on the U.S. government’s Federal Business Opportunities website, the total duration of the contract will not exceed 59 months. The guards will man the gates of all U.S. Army installations in Germany, a job currently carried out by Pond Security.
The award comes as a major blow to Pond, whose soon-to-expire Army contract accounts for about 80 percent of the company’s business, according to Managing Director Daniel Pond.
Pond, a U.S. Army veteran, started his company in 1983 with 12 guards. He gradually picked up more and more work with the Army, eventually becoming the sole provider of contract security for the services’ posts in Germany.
Pond still has a contract with the U.S. Air Force and various commercial accounts. But at the end of May, “I’ll be out of the Army,” he said.
It’s not clear yet, though, whether his guards will face the same fate.
Pond said he’s advised his staff to sign on with the new company. But Sicherheit Nord’s managing director, Sven Wackerhagen, said his company doesn’t need Pond’s help finding guards.
“We have already many people who will do the job,” Wackerhagen said.
But the guards already manning the Army’s gates “are very welcome to apply with us. They are trained already, which is good for us.”
For his part, Pond said he doesn’t know how Sicherheit Nord could find enough qualified guards without hiring from his staff.
“There’s just nobody out there,” Pond said. Guards on the Army contract are required to speak English and have to pass physical fitness and drug tests, as well as background checks. “When we try to recruit now, maybe from 100 telephone calls we get maybe 10 or 15 people who are qualified.”
Wackerhagen said Sicherheit Nord plans to start out with about 1,200 guards — roughly 600 fewer than Pond said he employs on the current contract. Sicherheit Nord would gradually increase to a maximum of about 1,500 guards, according to Wackerhagen.
It’s unclear whether Sicherheit Nord will match Pond’s salaries. Wackerhagen said Sicherheit Nord will pay “at least tariff” — an agreement that sets minimum wages and salaries for employees in particular industries throughout Germany.
Reporter Marcus Kloeckner contributed to this report.