Anthony Hunter-Choat

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Anthony Hunter-Choat (1936-2012) was a British Special Forces soldier, who served in the French Foreign Legion, the British and Omani armies and the private military sector.[1]

History

He served in the French Foreign Legion (1st Foreign Parachute Regiment - 1er REP) for five years during the Algerian war. He received four awards for bravery including the Médaille Militaire. He also served in the 7th Gurkha Rifles and Royal Regiment of Artillery in Malaya, Brunei and Borneo (including special operations), Germany, UK and Hong Kong.
During the years of 1957-1989, BG Hunter-Choat was Commander of two major UK Special Forces (SF) units; appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He also served as the Senior SF Officer on the staff of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and the personal advisor to and chief SF planner for the Supreme Commander (SACEUR). He was responsible for personally coordinating the operational plans, including Psychological Operations, for all NATO Special Forces, through national chiefs of staff.
During the years of 1989-1997 he was selected to command the Sultan of Oman’s Special Force, in the rank of Brigadier. He was personally responsible to His Majesty for raising the training and operational standards of the Force, for increasing the size of the Force by 100% from 990 to 2000, and for managing all aspects of the annual £27M (US$43M) budget. He was also personally responsible for allocating the budget to the sub-votes and for adjustments and reallocations from vote to vote throughout the financial year to ensure the most cost effective use of the resources. A one-off £40M (US$65M) project was completed on time and under budget. Close liaison with His Majesty and his senior ministers, with chiefs of defense staffs and with senior civilian and military members of friendly States. Awarded the Omani Order of Achievement 2nd Class (“Medal of Military Glory”).[2]

Brigadier General Hunter-Choat served as the Kosovo Cease-fire Verifier 1998 – 99. He was head of security for the Aga Khan from 2001 to 2003.[3]

Iraq

As head of Security for the Coalition Provisional Authority's Project Management Office, (later known as the Project and Contracting Office), Hunter-Choat dramatically simplified the original rules of engagement established by the State Department for private security contractors in Iraq.[4]

According to Robert Young Pelton, Hunter-Choat was instrumental in ensuring that a key security contract went to Tim Spicer's Aegis Defence Services.

multiple sources with intimate knowledge of Aegis's bid have alleged to me that PMO (Project Management Office) security chief Brigadier General Anthony Hunter-Choat and Brigadier General James Ellery helped formulate the specifications for the RFP with Aegis in mind. Some security advisors claim that Spicer had a personal relationship with the two brigadiers from their days as contemporaries in the British military, but others are of the opinion that the awarding of the Aegis contract arose from a wish to have more British companies profiting off the reconstruction.[5]
To the State Department official, it was obvious how it happened. "I tipped a few back with [Hunter-Choat] and I think I know him well," he continues talking about the decision processthat took place in Baghdad. "You put Hunter-Choat in a room with four other junior military people and he can steer the decision, and he should have recused himself from that process. It was just Hunter-Choat, Steve Barton, an air force guy, and three other junior guys going over those proposals.[6]

Hunter-Choat defended the contract in an interview with the Washington Post:

Tony Hunter-Choat, security director for the Program Management Office and a retired British brigadier, said he knew about Spicer's past activities, and "while there are elements of truth" in the news accounts, some information "is wide of the mark." Aegis is already at work under his supervision, Hunter-Choat said.

Spicer's advisory council at Aegis includes a retired British general and a former British permanent representative to the United Nations. "Those two have such impeccable credentials as to never for one minute be associated publicly with a company or individual about whom they had any doubt," Hunter-Choat said.

The selection of Aegis, he said, does not indicate a more offensive posture on security in Iraq as "their work is purely defensive."[7]

Affiliations

Notes

  1. Brigadier Tony Hunter-Choat, The Telegraph, 23 April 2012.
  2. BG Tony Hunter-Choat, Iraq Small Business Opportunity Conference, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, accessed 1 September 2008.
  3. BG Tony Hunter-Choat, Iraq Small Business Opportunity Conference, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, accessed 1 September 2008.
  4. Licensed to Kill by Robert Young Pelton, Crown Publishers, 2006, p.116, p.149.
  5. Licensed to Kill by Robert Young Pelton, Crown Publishers, 2006, p.277.
  6. Licensed to Kill by Robert Young Pelton, Crown Publishers, 2006, p.278-279.
  7. Iraq Work Awarded to Veteran of Civil Wars, by Mary Pat Flaherty, Washington Post, 16 June 2004.