Triple Canopy Inc. announced yesterday it was awarded part of a State Department contract to provide security services around the world in a program potentially worth up to $1 billion.

The five-year contract covers security services in 27 countries at America's highest-risk embassies, according to the company.

State Department officials did not return repeated calls or e-mails for comment.

Last night, after the State Department told the company that congressional notification had not been made, Triple Canopy decided to withdraw the announcement, company spokesman Joe Mayo said.

According to the request for proposal, the so-called Worldwide Personal Protective Service initiative "is an effort by the Department of State to pre-plan, organize, set up, deploy and operate Contractor protective service details for the protection of U.S. and/or certain foreign government high-level officials whenever the need arises."

The contractors will provide "armed, qualified protective services details" and, if ordered, "Counter Assault Teams and Long Range Defense Marksman teams," the proposal said. In some instances they will also be required to provide translators, the proposal said.

Triple Canopy, currently based in Illinois, will move its headquarters to Herndon in July. In addition to the about 950 employees currently in Iraq, the company has about 95 employees in its headquarters and will likely add about 75 jobs when it moves to Virginia, Mayo said. "We need to be closer to the customer."

Triple Canopy, founded just two years ago, got its first contract providing security for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. At its peak, the company had 1,300 security personnel in Iraq.

"We were a start-up and now we're in the leagues of companies who have been doing this for years," Mayo said after the initial announcement.

Noting that none of the company's employees have been killed, he added, "We like to believe that the State Department is rewarding our success rate."

DynCorp International LLC, which is owned by New York-based Veritas Capital Fund LP and has had a sizable presence in Northern Virginia, also confirmed it had been notified about the contract. Spokesman Greg Lagana said, "Normally we would wait until our customer makes an announcement, but since one company has released the information, I can confirm that they were also awarded the contract."

"Obviously they're not only happy with our bid but the work we're doing," Lagana said of the State Department.

A third company, Blackwater USA Security of North Carolina, also will have part of the contract, a source close to that firm said last night.

Both Triple Canopy and DynCorp have hundreds of security forces dispatched around the world. DynCorp provides security in Afghanistan, Israel and Iraq. Blackwater has been active in Iraq, including providing security to CPA head L. Paul Bremer.

The request for proposal noted that outside contractors are needed "for emergency protective requirements stated on extremely short notice" and said the department "is unable to provide protective services on a long-term basis."