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Mission 19 - Detail
World SWAT Challenge

May, 2004:
Deep in the broiling, mosquito-bitten backwoods of Moyock, NC, a dozen of North Americaís most elite SWAT teams, from police departments in Florida and Texas to the Canadian Mounties, go head to head in a grueling two day competition to see who is the best of the best. This is the World SWAT Challenge, the Superbowl of law enforcement Spec Ops, created by Dr. Jack OíConner - an Army Ranger, decorated combat veteran, and exercise physiologost who specializes in building and training SWAT teams. The competition is held at the 6,000 acre training facility that Blackwater uses to help train the best cops in the world. Broadcast on ESPN2, the competition will be intense, as teams, sweltering in full SWAT gear, compete to outshoot, outclimb, and outfight each other for the title.

With speakers including experts on security, law enforcement, and the psychology of combat from the Army, the Israeli police, and the CIA, the event will be a showcase of counterror tactics. And the keynote speaker, Cofer Black, is one of the most widely respected men in the intelligence community. Credited with taking down Carlos the Jackal, Black spent 28 years working the toughest posts the Agency has, eventually directing the Counterterrorism Center, and presenting the President with the plan to hit Afghanistan hard with Special Ops after 9/11. He is now the State Departmentís point man on terrorism.

But itís the competition that will draw the crowds. The two-day match-up will blast off with a relay race and shooting competition, all completed from behind a ballistic shield, and the competition will heat up with a forced entry event and a combination of rappelling and sniping from a high tower. The last event of the first day will be a hellish "stress course" with obstacles, barricades, and a variety of targets to take down fast.

The next day will start with the "sniper surprise" course - an obstacle course and coordinating long gun shoot. Then things will get tricky with a competition using protective masks, followed by a Zodiac RIB race culminating in the "rescue" of a dummy from a terrorist hideout. And it will end with a bang - many bangs, actually - with a multi-gun target shoot and obstacle course. By the end of the match, the winners will have earned the respect of law enforcement all over the world.

Since 1996, Blackwater has provided security in hotspots throughout the world - most recently putting some of the best covert ops people in the country on the ground in Iraq to provide VIP protection for the US administration. With water courses, an airborne fleet capable of its own special operations, and five different companies, it is leading the pack in high-end privatized security. But its bread and butter is still training special forces throughout the world. And the World SWAT challenge will be a demonstration of the kinds of tools they bring to their trade.

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