private military company founded 1997


Academi—previously known as Xe Services LLC, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide—is a private military company founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark. Academi is currently the largest of the U.S. State Department’s three private security contractors. Academi provided diplomatic security services in Iraq to the United States federal government on a contractual basis. Academi also has a research and development wing that was responsible for developing the Grizzly APC along with other military technology. The company’s headquarters is in Arlington County, Virginia. Academi provides military and security services. These combatants are commonly known as mercenaries, though modern-day PMCs refer to their staff as security contractors, private military contractors or private security contractors, and refer to themselves as private military corporations, private military firms, private security providers or military service providers.

After having fallen somewhat out of favor following the controversy related to Blackwater’s conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan, Erik Prince announced his resignation as CEO on March 2, 2009.
In February 2009, Blackwater announced that it would be changing its name to “Xe Services LLC.” as part of a company-wide restructuring plan. Subsequently, it reorganized its business units, added a corporate governance and ethics program, and established an independent committee of outside experts to supervise compliance structures. In December 2011, Xe changed its name again to “Academi”. The name refers to Plato’s Academy2 and is meant, according to Ted Wright, to reflect a more “boring” image.


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