Blackwater is set to lose its State Department contract next month, the cash cow that transformed a small firearms training firm in North Carolina into a global private security concern. The loss of the contract, according to a State Department official quoted by the Middle East Times, means that Blackwater (recently renamed "Xe") will lose up to half of its income. As Dan Schulman and I have reported, the firm is looking to other crisis areas to make up the difference, namely Africa, but it's difficult to imagine that the dollar spicket there will ever rival security contracting's halcyon days in Iraq. The Middle East Times piece goes on to argue that the need for Blackwater, which ultimately undid itself by killing 17 Iraqis in a Baghdad traffic circle in September 2007, was the result of gross mismanagement and lack of preparation by American officials early on in the occupation. Worth a read.