What's clear is that Black Element are seeking to disassociate themselves from their stained history. 'Cowboys' isn't really the word; rather, these contractors considered themselves as knights, riding around the globe and thrusting their gauntlets into the faces of any who might dare to challenge them. A lot of people say a name doesn't matter. But recent flashpoints have shown that not to be the case: there is still a lot of resentment carried by that name.
--Joe Harris, AAN News Network
ION, Inc. is a private military company, specialising in security solutions and providing services tailored to specialist and high-risk environments. During the ArmA II DLC Private Military Company, ION is contracted to provide security in Takistan amid the strategic drawdown of NATO combat troops in the Green Sea Region. They are the main and dominant faction during the PMC expansion pack.
ION was a originally founded as Black Element USA in September 1998. The company has a wide array of business divisions, subsidiaries, and spin-off corporations but the organization as a whole has aroused significant controversy.
Establised initially as a private aviation security agency, Black Element expanded further into the security services market following the expansion of U.S. military activity in 2002. Growing in size and reputation with the recruitment of several influential executives and acquisitions of rival companies, the corporation emerged as the largest American-based PMC, and a major player on the global scene.
In 2007, the media spotlight fell on the company after several Black Element contractors were reportedly involved in an unsuccessful coup d'état against Queen Isabella Ximénez of Sahrani. Black Element denied any responsibility, stating that these contractors had exceeded the terms of their original brief, and were acting on their own. Black Element immediately terminated the contracts of all alleged participants.
In 2009, another series of scandalous incidents - involving Black Element contractors and the deaths of several Chernarussian civilians in Elektrozavodsk - sparked worldwide condemnation of the company's presence in the region.". Black Element then lost its no-bid contract agreement with the U.S. government that had provided a lucrative revenue stream from, chiefly, Green Sea operations; yet, it continued to retain a presence in the region, actively bidding for independent contracts.
In 2010, Black Element was sold to Vrana Industries. ION, Inc., the new operating name of private military company, Black Element, was publicly announced in October the same year. Other business units within the group remained unchanged.
An offical spokesperson described the transition as being "just one part of our global corporate strategy to redefine our focus upon more generic company services", with ION seeking to appeal to a broader base of clients, moving away from specialist excellence, into the more lucrative generic field. Although specialising in security solutions, ION itself controlled a number of subsiduary divisions, which provided services tailored to specialist enviornments, such as maritime and aviation security.
ION's primary Green Sea base was located in the stable city of Bandar-e Ghazmi, where it oversaw a $92 million contract to redevelop the deep water port facility; however, it also retained outposts in the more the volatile Central Takistan area and exclusive operational rights in Zargabad, a major city in central Takistan.
Beginning in 2011, ION started a new recruiting drive, hiring a broad range of ex-servicemen, including nationals who had formerly served in the NATO and coalition forces present in Takistan. Chief among these were Brian Frost and Tanny Radcliffe.
From late 2010 onwards, ION unsuccessfully bid for government contract with the island nation of Lingor, which - as part of the deal - would have provided aid to the region - rebuilding schools, hospitals and a sanctuary for injured sea turtles. However, the contract fell through and the company tried to lodge an official complaint against the Lingor Regional Government, on grounds of alleged corruption and conspiracy. The corporation also demanded that the Lingor Parliament conduct an independent investigation into the affair.
ION next turned up contracting for Pergasus Air Services, which made a business out of ferrying customers across Takistan's green zone by air. The last known incident involved in this contract was when a helicopter containing seven ION contractors was shot down by insurgents. Six were killed instantly, while the seventh, an unidentified Russian employee, survived the crash just in time to be captured by the attackers, who brutally gunned him down. The footage of the shooting was then released to the media, with the insurgent group claiming full responsibility for the deaths of these Westerners.
ION's fortunes finally rose when they were contracted to take part in UN Operation: Black Gauntlet - to provide security for a United Nations investigation team as they began to piece together information regarding Takistan's abandoned nuclear weapons programme.
ArmA II: Private Military CompanyEdit
ION began Operation: Black Gauntlet on June 29, 2013. Two helicopters, UAV transports, and a fleet of SUVs were placed at the disposal of the security force they tasked with defending the UN investigations team.
A total of seven ION contractors were assigned to the security detachment, with others providing backup as needed. The opening company contract signed by all seven of the employees was as follows:
SECURITY ASSIGNMENT CONTRACT
ION, Incorporated, hereafter referred to as the COMPANY, and the CONTRACTOR agree to enter into a new formal arrangement commencing on the TWENTY-NINTH (29) Day of the SIXTH (6) Month of the year TWO THOUSAND AND THIRTEEN (2013), hereafter referred to as the OPERATION.
COMPANY requires CONTRACTOR to deploy into the strategic area of responsibility in Zargabad, specifically, the drawn-down US Air Base, hereafter referred to as the AOR, to execute the terms of the OPERATION.
The CONTRACTOR agrees to provide security to the United Nations agile weapons inspection team, hereafter referred to as the CLIENT, during the course of the OPERATION. The OPERATION requires the safe entry and transportation of the CLIENT within the AOR. The standard uniform code of Military Justice, hereafter referred to as the UCMJ, is understood to be voluntarily applied to the CONTRACTOR in full within the AOR during the lifetime of the OPERATION.
The CONTRACTOR agrees that the rules of engagement hereafter referred to as the ROE (Expounded in detail in Annex II) fall under the remit of the UCMH. Furthermore, the OPERATION stipulates NO UNAUTHORIZED USE OF DEADLY FORCE unless fired upon.
The COMPANY reserves the right to extend or narrow the scope of the UCMJ are to be detailed and countersigned in future addenda to this contract. Agile changes to teh ROE are authorized under tactical COMPANY supervision.
The CONTRACTOR agrees to the full liability of any and all deviations from the ROE within the OPERATION AOR nonwithstanding CLIENT or COMPANY contractual addenda.
ION operatives were under attack from the start. They were forced to repel a guerilla attack on the U.S. Air Force Base where they were to meet the UN team, before proceeding to a factory nearby where they were forced to scare away the local Takistanis, who were protesting their presence in the community.
The team then moved to Zargabad, where they came under heavy fire from insurgents, but were able to secure the city before the Takistani military unleashed an air strike that left two ION operatives, including Tanny Radcliffe, dead.
The three ION personnel split into two squads, the second of which was rescued from Zargabad by helicopter. The ION employees then set off in a convoy of three SUVs to a former nuclear weapons facility, where they successfully won an engagement against Takistani Armored divisions. Despite an attack by air during the night, ION managed to protect the UN personnel until they were able to examine a cache of hazardous weapons materials discovered in a military bunker.
The UN team then took the materials and attempted to remove them by convoy. However, it was here the company executives came into friction with the UN efforts and attempted to find a way out of the contract. Vrana Industries took charge of ION and suspended Operation Black Gauntlet. One of their project leaders, Mark Reynolds, then made off with the potential WMD materials and escaped to the ION company headquarters in Takistan.
Vrana terminated the contract with the UN, having private interests in keeping the secrecy of the materials and no longer willing to finish the mission. The corporation went so far as to demand the ION contractors murder the UN investigation team to prevent them from ever revealing what they knew about the Takistani weapons programme.
The future of Operation: Black Gauntlet is in fact left up to the player of the game. The ION operatives on the ground are evenly divided, and the decision is left with Brian Frost, whether to side with ION and execute the UN investigators, or to kill Reynolds instead and doom the corporation's attempts to cover up the existence of the materials.
If the player chooses to remain loyal to Mark Reynolds and the company, ION will order Frost and his colleague Henry Asano to kill the UN team. In order to do so, both of them will in turn have to murder their fellow contractors, who either cannot understand the situation or are out to eliminate Reynolds instead and complete their assignment.
Following this, the two disguise themselves as insurgents and use a car bomb to destroy the remaining ION personnel protecting the UN investigators, and then the team themselves in an ambush. The plan works perfectly, and the blame for the murders are pinned on a guerilla group. ION, meanwhile, recovers in the form of new contracts, as the demand for private military contractors increases in an attempt to help ease the workload currently burdened on the New Takistani Army and UN peacekeeping troops.
If the player chooses to continue to defend the UN investigations team, most of the ION personnel will rally to their side and strike against Reynolds. In the ensuing gunfight, all of the contractors involved are killed. Frost and Asano, meanwhile, assault the ION company compound, shoot the guards, and mortally injure Reynolds.
The UN team reveals publicly the discovery of weaponized nuclear material in Takistan, which causes a major shock wave to destabilize international money markets. The UN confirms that the fission materials are of Chinese origin, and the embarrassed Chinese are forced to meet with NATO security council diplomats to discuss this.
Instead of withdrawing from the Green Sea region as initially expected, the US and NATO choose to remain, and even dispatch fresh troops to Takistan to oversee the situation there. Asano and Brian Frost reveal all they know to the media, and ION is scandalized by their attempted cover-up.
- Armored SUV