DynCorp International: An unexplored PMC


    1.0 Introduction 

    Dyncorp, also known as DynCorp International, was an American private military contractor (PMC) now part of Amentum. It was established in 1946 and evolved to become one of the largest and most renowned private military contractors (PMCs) globally. 

    DynCorp operated in a variety of countries around the world, often working in challenging and high-risk environments. It was involved in operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia, and other conflict-affected regions. The company’s personnel have been deployed to provide logistics support, security, and training local forces among others.

    2.0 Motto, Symbols, Patches and History 

    2.1 Motto 

    The company motto was “Dynamic. Dedicated. Driven” (source).

    2.2 Symbols 

    DynCorp International Inc – Logos Download
    Logo used by DynCorp when still active.

    The company’s logo was mostly blue and contained its name, DynCorp, as well as the word “international” underneath it.

    2.3 Patches 

    The company’s patch was its logo on a blue background.

    Dyncorp International Private Security Contractors Patch - Decal Patch - Co

    DynCorp’s various divisions also had their respective patches:

    Patch on the flight jacket.


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    Patch for the Aerospace Technology Division.

    DynCorp Aerospace Technology Patch Sew On Craft Collectible | Etsy

    In addition, DynCorp had patches depending on the service it performed as well as the different international missions in which it participated. These are some of them:

    Dyncorp International Broken Tigers Patch
    DynCorp Broken Tigers Patch.

    Patch used by DynCorp during its deployment to provide maintenance for the Kuwait Air Force’s AH-64D Apache helicopter fleet (source).

    US State Department Diplomatic Security Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program Patch.

    Patch used by DynCorp for the Anti-Terrorist Assistance Program. The program covered logistical support, construction, and military and maritime security training among others (source).

    Dyncorp International CalFire Aviation Maintenance Support Patch
    DynCorp CalFire Aviation Maintenance Support patch. 

    Patch used by DynCorp during its contract with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to extinguish and control wildfires (source). 


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    DynCorp Fire Department (Fort Irwin, California) Crash-Fire-Rescue Shoulder Patch

    Patch used by DynCorp Fire Department, Fort Irwin, California. Shoulder patch indicating rescue personnel in the event of an accident (source).

    DynCorp Northern Command Mazar-E Sharif patch, Afghanistan.

    Patch used by DynCorp during its deployment to provide aviation training, security and maintenance for the NATO mission and the Afghan army (source). 

    Imagen en blanco y negro

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    DynCorp CNGS Mi-17 patch.

    Patch used by DynCorp during its operations to advise and strengthen the Afghan air force (source).

    2.4 History

    2.4.1 Origins

    DynCorp was founded in 1946 by two companies, California Eastern Airways (CEA), an air freight firm, and Land-Air Inc., an aircraft maintenance company. 

    Land-Air, Inc. was the predecessor of DynCorp International’s Maintenance and Technical Support Services (MTSS) Division. In 1951 it achieved a critical milestone when the Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC) gave it the first Contract Field Teams (CFT) contract. That same year California Eastern Airways, Inc. (later California Eastern Aviation, Inc.) purchased Land-Air Inc. In 1952, CEA joined with Air Carrier Service Corporation (AIRCAR), selling commercial aircraft and spare parts to foreign airlines and governments. In 1962, CEA was renamed Dynalectron Corporation, and in 1987 Dynalectron became DynCorp.

    (Source), (source), (source)

    2.4.2 Dynalectron and Restructuring

    By 1961 California Eastern Aviation needed a new name to reflect the company’s increasing and diversifying operations. In 1962, CEA was renamed Dynalectron Corporation, and in 1964, it acquired Hydrocarbon Research, Inc. This allowed the company to expand into the energy services market.

    In 1976, Dynalectron established headquarters in McLean, Virginia. Furthermore, and due to its growing size, the company restructured into four main operating groups: Specialty Contracting, Energy, Government Services, and Aviation Services.

    Between 1976 and 1981, the company went public twice and purchased 14 other companies. By 1986, Dynaelectron was one of North America’s largest defence contractors. In the 30 years since the foundation of CEA, Dynalectron purchased 19 companies, had assets of $88 million, and a backlog of $250 million. It also employed 7,000 people and had annual sales of $300 million. 

    (Source), (source), (source)

    2.4.3 DynCorp and Expansion 

    In 1987 Dynalectron changed its name to DynCorp, adopting its current name. The following year, in 1988, the company went private to avoid a hostile takeover by Miami investor Victor Posner. In 1994 DynCorp reached another milestone, reaching revenues of around $1 billion.

    In 1997, DynCorp teamed with British firm Porton International forming DynPort Vaccine Group 1997. That same year, the US Department of Defense’s Joint Vaccine Acquisition Programme (JVAP) contracted DynCorp. This led to the manufacture of 300,000 doses of a new smallpox vaccine for the military (source). With military expenditure cuts in the 1990s, DynCorp shifted its focus to the expanding tech market. The next year, in 1998, DynCorp launched DynCorp Technical Services, Inc. (DTS) transferring its existing aerospace and international division business to the new DTS subsidiary. This included contracts later held by DynCorp International.

    In December 2000, DynCorp formed DynCorp International LLC and moved all of its overseas activities to it. DynCorp Technical Services LLC continued to perform domestic contracts for DynCorp. By 2001, the growth of state and local public services boosted their accounts to $6 billion.

    (Source), (source), (source)

    2.4.4 Change of Ownership

    In 2003 Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) purchased DynCorp and its subsidiaries for approximately $914 million. However, DynCorp retained parental control over its existing subsidiaries, including DTS and DynCorp International LLC, while CSC became their ultimate parent.

    In 2004, CSC took a strategic decision to exit non-core areas such as security and aviation services. CSC, therefore, relocated its aviation services business sector into a distinct CSC subsidiary, DTS Aviation Services. In December of that same year, DynCorp and CSC agreed to sell DynCorp International LLC, comprised of Dyn Marine Services LLC and DTS Aviation Services LLC, to DI Acquisition Corp. This was a subsidiary of Veritas Capital Management. The new company was renamed DynCorp International Inc. In 2006, DynCorp International went public on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol DCP. 

    Several years later, in 2010, the investment firm Cerberus Capital Management announced that it would acquire DynCorp International for $1 billion. In 2011, the company hired Michael Thibault, former co-chairman and commissioner of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan (CWC). He became vice president of government finance and compliance. That same year, Dyncorp reached a corporate record by hiring 12,300 new employees, raising the total number of employees to 27,000.

    (Source), (source), (source)

    2.4.5 Acquisition by Amentum and Absorption

    In 2020, Amentum acquired DynCorp International. Amentum is a contractor that supports the federal and allied governments of the United States. The combination created one of the largest providers of mission-critical support services to government customers. The new company had 34,000 employees in 105 countries. In 2021, DynCorp’s name ceased to exist, and staff and services were moved to Amentum.


    3.0 Organisation 

    3.1 Place within broader government

    DynCorp was a major player in the government contracting industry, primarily in the United States. Numerous contracts were awarded to the corporation by the United States Department of Defence, the Department of State, and other federal agencies. DynCorp was, in essence, a private subsidiary of the US government.

    3.2 Financing 

    As a private company, its revenues came from contracts and services. These contracts frequently entailed military operations, maintenance and training, and security in war zones. DynCorp obtained more than 96 per cent of its $3 billion in annual revenue from the federal government. 

    In July 2009, Forbes wrote that Dyncorp was one of the major beneficiaries of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which now account for 53% of Dyncorp’s $3.1 billion in annual income. From 2002 to 2013, the State Department spent over $4 billion on Afghan rehabilitation initiatives. Of these, $2.5 billion of the total went to DynCorp, accounting for 69% of all money awarded by the State Department throughout the war. This report was made by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan (SIGAR). This was an auditing agency created by Congress to provide oversight of government spending in Afghanistan.

    (Source), (source)

    3.3 Business Structure

    DynCorp was divided into sections that were exclusively dedicated to certain activities. Initially, the company was divided into the following four operational groups and their respective sub-companies. Some are the following:

    • Speciality Contracting.
      • DynPort Vaccine Group.
      • DynMarine.
      • DynCorp Technical Services contracts.
      • Phoenix Consulting Group.
      • Global Linguist Solutions.
      • Culpeper National Security Solutions.
    • Energy.
      • Hydrocarbon Research, Inc. 
    • Government Services.
      • DI Development.
    • Aviation Services.
      • DynCorp International.

    (Source), (source), (source), (source)

    3.4 Key Figures 

    The following are DynCorp’s principal officers and key individuals known to DynCorp.

    • Daniel R. Bannister.  President and chief of executive of DynCorp (1985-1997). 
    • Steven F. Gaffney. Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer (2010-2014).
    • Jim Geisler. Interim CEO (2014-2015).
    • Lewis Von Thaer. Chief Executive Officer (2014-2016).
    • George Krivo. Chief Executive Officer (2016-2021).
    • Kelly McCann. Contractor and group leader. Deployed in Iraq. Former marine officer and security expert.
    • Jack Altizer. Contractor. Deployed in Iraq. Former Special Forces sergeant.
    • Sean McFate. Contractor. Currently a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    (Source), (source), (source), (source), (source)

    Box, Shelf, Shelving,
    Kelly McCann, holding a leather shotgun case stamped with Saddam Hussein’s initials, stands in Dyncorp’s armoury beneath the Baghdad hotel, among hundreds of new and vintage guns acquired in Iraq. Credits: The Esquire.

    3.5 Recruitment 

    3.5.1 Methods and Requirements


    DynCorp recruited through websites and online job sites. For instance, DynCorp frequently announced jobs and positions on Twitter (source). Under Amentum, these practices have continued (source). However, all their available jobs and positions can be found on Amentum’s website, where each position specifies requirements, tasks and conditions.


    DynCorp recruited specific profiles depending on the service area. For example, for those services in protection and security provision and training, DynCorp recruited and employed qualified military veterans and members of the military community (source). For those positions dedicated to maintenance and repair, DynCorp recruited qualified candidates for specialised positions in aviation, engineering and logistics (source). Therefore, the requirements change according to the position and function of the company.

    Currently, Amentum has different application processes for Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard ex-personnel. Service members must first obtain clearance from their chain of command, which varies from branch to branch. Once done, the common requirement for that active-duty personnel is to have participated in the Armed Forces (DOD) SkillBridge programme. This programme is organised during the last 180 days of service. It allows service personnel to get significant civilian career experience through specialised industrial training, apprenticeships, or internships (source). 

    Transitioning service members are eligible if they have served at least 180 nonstop days on active duty in the military and will be discharged or released from active duty within 180 days of the start of the fellowship. Furthermore, they must hold a bachelor’s degree plus three or more years of leadership experience, or an associate degree plus five or more years of leadership or equal correlated experience (source).

    3.5.2 Recruitment

    Foreign Recruitment 

    Despite many jobs offered by DynCorp, and currently by Amentum, being reserved for US citizens, the company allowed non-nationals to work for them. For jobs of a sensitive nature, especially in the defence and security field, the company mostly employed US nationals. For other less sensitive positions, they did not require a specific nationality. This is because the company operated, and continues to operate, in several countries (source).

    Some of their employees in Colombia, such as the helicopter pilots, were Colombian, Peruvian and Guatemalan. All were required to speak Spanish and English to an acceptable level. They were also required to possess a “secret” personal security clearance from the US government (source). In Afghanistan and Iraq, DynCorp also employed locals mostly as interpreters (source).

    3.6 Connections to other important organisations

    Such companies often have lobbyists in Washington who help them win public contracts. For instance, in 2001, according to federal forms, 10 private military companies spent more than $32 million on lobbyists. These included DynCorp, which retained two lobbying firms that year to successfully block a bill that would have forced federal agencies to justify private contracts on cost-saving grounds (source).

    3.6.1 Lobbying

    The research groups OpenSecrets and ProPublica have recorded their lobby activity in the last two decades. OpenSecrets recorded that between 1998 and 2002, DynCorp spent $200,000 on targeted lobbying in the Senate to promote its military activities (source). The following graphs show the recorded spending dedicated to lobbying activities between 2006 and 2022.

    Gráfico, Gráfico de barras

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    Spending on parties by the electoral cycle. Credits: OpenSecrets.
    Gráfico, Gráfico de barras

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    Spending by the electoral cycle. Credits: OpenSecrets.

    ProPublica has also followed the company’s lobbyist activity in the last two decades. From 2009 and 2011 DynCorp paid $200,000 to Van Scoyoc Associates for lobbying activities related to defence in the House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Department of Defense (DOD) (source). From 2015 to 2018, DynCorp paid Fierce Government Relations $280,000 to represent its interests in the US Senate, House of Representatives and Executive Office of the President (EOP) (source).

    Between 2011 and 2019 DynCorp hired Ghazal and Associates, LLC to push in the sectors of defence, budget and foreign relations. They spent a total of $730,000 and directed their efforts towards the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, DOD, and Department of State (DOS) (source). From 2017 and 2021, DynCorp paid $840,000 to Hobart Hallaway & Quayle Ventures, LLC to lobby for them in the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, Office of the Vice President of the United States, and DOS (source).

    It is also known that DynCorp heavily lobbied the Trump administration to rescind a $10 billion contract the Obama administration made with a rival company to service State Department aircraft (source).

    3.7 Involvement of other key actors

    It is not known whether other organisations were involved in DynCorp. But as a global provider of government services, they supported US national security interests. Therefore the company was heavily influenced by the US federal government. Both in objectives and in practices and operations.

    DynCorp was a way to outsource certain services abroad. Not only to reduce costs but also to avoid endangering personnel on duty.

    4.0 Equipment 

    Cap, Goggles, Sunglasses, Baseball cap, Pollution, Employment, Security, Belt, Camera, Air gun,
    A DynCorp police liaison officer walks among the rubble of a police station in Fallujah. Credits: Patrick Baz/Getty Images.

    4.1 Weapons 

    DynCorp’s mercenaries used a variety of weapons of diverse origins. Many were acquired through looting. Some of these included:


    • Beretta pistols.

    Submachine guns

    • MP5.

    Assault rifles

    • M16.
    • M4.
    • AK-47. 


    4.2 Vehicles


    Depending on the mission and danger, DynCorp used a combination of modified civilian and light military vehicles. The military vehicles used were usually owned by the US Army.

    • Pick-up trucks.
    • SUVs.
    • High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee)
    • MaxxPro Dash MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected).

    (Source), (source), (source)

    Helicopters and Planes

    During its operations in Colombia, DynCorp operated several State Department aircraft, including the following armed helicopters and planes:

    • UH-1H Iroquois.
    • Bell-212 Huey. 
    • T-65 Thrush crop duster aircraft.


    4.3 Armor and Kit 

    Body armour depended on the mission and the risks. DynCorp agents often used plain cloths, as well as bulletproof vests with holsters for their ammunition.


    5.0 Tactical-Operational Information 

    DynCorp provided support for flight operations, training and instruction, international development, intelligence training and support, contingency operations, security, and land vehicle maintenance (source).

    5.1 Operations 

    DynCorp collaborated with the US military in various countries, including Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia, Angola, Haiti, Colombia, Kosovo, and Kuwait among others (source). Given the secrecy of many of their tasks, it is difficult to know where and to what extent they have participated in different countries and operations (source).

    5.1.1 Air Operations

    DynCorp was contracted to enhance the capabilities of the Afghan air force by providing training and support to Afghan pilots. Their objective was to empower these Afghan pilots to become instructors themselves, thereby enabling them to train fellow Afghans in aviation operations (source).

    They have also supported air operations in Iraq, including search and rescue, medical evacuations, and the transport of rapid response personnel (source).

    DynCorp also participated in Plan Colombia, aimed at combating Colombian drug cartels and leftist insurgent groups in Colombia (source).

    Emergency response air programs

    DynCorp worked with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to fight out wildfires (source).

    Helicopter maintenance support

    The US Army Contracting Command awarded DynCorp International a contract to provide maintenance to the Kuwait Air Force’s AH-64D Apache helicopter fleet (source).

    5.1.2 Security and Training

    Intelligence training and solutions

    The United States Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) gave DynCorp a five-year contract to manage translation and interpretation services as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (source).

    Security and training

    Un hombre con los brazos cruzados

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    Doug Leavey, Dyn-Corp International, mentors an Afghan National Police instructor on being a range official, at Forward Operating Base Ghazni. Credits: Wikimedia Commons / Tech. Sgt. James May.

    DynCorp provided security for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and supplied bodyguards to Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide in the 1990s (source). 

    DynCorp conducted extensive training for the police forces in Iraq, Jordan and Afghanistan (source).

    In addition to this, DynCorp also supported the U.S. Army in the Persian Gulf with vehicle searches, roving patrols, and explosive-detecting dogs (source).

    DynCorp International received a $17.1 million task order to provide leadership to the Democratic Republic of the Congo military soldiers (source).

    5.1.3 Maintenance and recovery


    DynCorp supported a military base camp in Kosovo, providing power plant maintenance, fueling services, and grounds maintenance. DynCorp also provided vehicular maintenance to the United Arab Emirates (source).


    DynCorp was contracted to aid in the recovery efforts in Louisiana and neighbouring areas following the devastating Hurricane Katrina (source).

    5.2 Core Purpose 

    Imagen que contiene persona, vehículo militar, transporte, hombre

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    DynCorps International employees lower the turret of a U.S. Marine Corps M1 Assault Breacher Vehicle assigned to the 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 7 at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province, Afghanistan, 2013. Credits: Wikimedia Commons / Cpl Kowshon Ye.

    DynCorp offered a wide range of services to governments, international organisations, and private clients. These services included the following:

    • Air Operations.
    • Aviation support.
      • Emergency response air programmes.
      • Aircraft maintenance.
      • Helicopter maintenance.
    • Contingency operations.
    • Development.
    • Intelligence training and solutions.
    • Operations and maintenance.
    • Security services (including personal security details and facilities protection).
    • Training and mentoring.

    5.3 Tactics 

    Automotive exterior, Fender, Automotive lighting, Security, Law enforcement, Automotive tail & brake light, Bumper, Official, Sunglasses, Iron,
    A contractor stands guard over a meeting of Iraqi election officials and US Embassy officials in Mosul, Iraq. Credits: David Furst/Getty Images.

    When working as security contractors, DynCorp often employed veterans of the US military, including ex-SOF (Special Operations). This made DynCorp’s tactics on the ground similar to those used by US soldiers. Furthermore, contractors often worked alongside American and Allied troops.

    Although DynCorp’s contractors usually wore civilian clothes, they were always armed and behaved like any other professional soldier. When it came to transport, they used convoys that followed strict protocols. Contractors also focused their activity on securing perimeters, supporting US operations, surveillance tasks, and the detection and clearance of improvised explosive devices.

    (Source), (source)

    5.4 Personnel size 

    DyCorp employed up to 27,000 employees. This number included all types of personnel, from administrative to technical and military (source). 

    The exact number of contractors is not known, since it depended on the needs of the company and the contract. However, DynCorp employed thousands of US veterans often outnumbering US military personnel (source). In security and training missions, DynCorp often deployed from several hundred to a thousand contractors in the field (source).

    6.0 Controversies

    Like many private military companies, Dyncorp has faced controversy over the years. Most of it involves lobbying, mismanagement and over-billing.

    • In 1999, some of its employees were accused of involvement in human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Bosnia.
    • DynCorp was criticised for its activities in Colombia for damage to human health in connection with aerial spraying operations with anti-narcotic herbicides.
    • DynCorp was also criticised and penalised for acting independently of its State Department officials in Iraq. DynCorp billed the US millions of dollars for unauthorised work and started other work without approval.
    • DynCorp was accused of overbilling the US government by more than $91 million on an anti-terrorism contract.
    • DynCorp was accused of killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    • DynCorp was accused of dumping its local contractors in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover.
    • DynCorp has been accused of using lobbying for its benefit.

    (Source), (source), (source), (source), (source)

    7.0 The Future 

    DynCorp International as such no longer exists. It is now part of the contractor Amentum Government Services Holding LLC. However, Amentum is currently the second largest government services contractor (non-equipment producer) in the US government contracting market (source). 

    We, therefore, expect that Amentum, including DynCorp, will continue to play an important role in the fields of training and maintenance of US assets. Unlike DynCorp, Amentum is not involved in security contracts. Therefore, we doubt that in the future we will see Amentum contractors deployed abroad in “military” operations.

    8.0 Frequently asked questions about the PMC 

    Some frequently asked questions about DynCorp are:

    Q: Did DynCorp International have any military contracts?

    A: Yes, DynCorp International secured military contracts from various governments, especially from the United States. These contracts involve providing services such as aviation support, logistics, training, and security to support military operations.

    Q: Who are DynCorp International’s clients? 

    A: DynCorp International’s clients included governments, militaries, and commercial entities worldwide. They worked with the United States government, foreign governments, international organizations, and private companies.

    Q: Does DynCorp International operate globally? 

    A: Yes, DynCorp International operated globally and had a presence in various countries. They provide services in regions such as North America, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific.

    9.0 Conclusion 

    DynCorp International played a crucial role for the US Government, especially in the fields of aviation, training, security, and maintenance. Its contributions extend beyond domestic operations, as the company also played a vital part in supporting the US military during foreign missions. DynCorp, therefore, proved to be an effective outsourcing method for the US in the international theatre.

    However, like many PMCs, DynCorp has not been immune to controversy. These have raised questions about the value and necessity of PMCs, specifically in the context of US operations. Nonetheless, with the recent integration of DynCorp into Amentum, we anticipate a strengthened private contracting sector, particularly at the national level. This development has the potential to enhance the capabilities and services offered by private contractors, paving the way for improved effectiveness and efficiency in national operations.

    Javier Sutil Toledano
    Javier Sutil Toledano
    Javier is an Intelligence Analyst specialising in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. He graduated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. He recently graduated from an International Master's Degree in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies.

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