View Full Version : Private Military Companies (catch all)

02-06-2007, 03:06 AM
In Washington, Contractors Take On Biggest Role Ever: (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/04/washington/04contract.html)

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 — In June, short of people to process cases of incompetence and fraud by federal contractors, officials at the General Services Administration responded with what has become the government’s reflexive answer to almost every problem.

They hired another contractor.

It did not matter that the company they chose, CACI International, had itself recently avoided a suspension from federal contracting; or that the work, delving into investigative files on other contractors, appeared to pose a conflict of interest; or that each person supplied by the company would cost taxpayers $104 an hour. Six CACI workers soon joined hundreds of other private-sector workers at the G.S.A., the government’s management agency.

Without a public debate or formal policy decision, contractors have become a virtual fourth branch of government. On the rise for decades, spending on federal contracts has soared during the Bush administration, to about $400 billion last year from $207 billion in 2000, fueled by the war in Iraq, domestic security and Hurricane Katrina, but also by a philosophy that encourages outsourcing almost everything government does.

Contractors still build ships and satellites, but they also collect income taxes and work up agency budgets, fly pilotless spy aircraft and take the minutes at policy meetings on the war. They sit next to federal employees at nearly every agency; far more people work under contracts than are directly employed by the government. Even the government’s online database for tracking contracts, the Federal Procurement Data System, has been outsourced (and is famously difficult to use)...

02-06-2007, 07:35 AM

The most successful contractors are not necessarily those doing the best work, but those who have mastered the special skill of selling to Uncle Sam. The top 20 service contractors have spent nearly $300 million since 2000 on lobbying and have donated $23 million to political campaigns. :eek:

Donated 23 million !

Would've been far easier to simply fund their participation in the war and let the politicians pay for their own meals ;)

02-06-2007, 07:35 PM
FEMA Wants Over $300M in Katrina Aid Back

The Justice Department so far has prosecuted more than 400 people for storm-related fraud, and $18 million has been returned to FEMA or the American Red Cross, according to a recent report by the department's Katrina Fraud Task Force. The bulk of prosecutions have occurred in Louisiana (115), California (79), Texas (50) and Mississippi (46). The amount recovered so far, however, is slight compared with estimates of widespread fraud.

04-18-2007, 09:33 AM
From Council member MountainRunner at his blog by the same name - On Private Military Companies (http://mountainrunner.us/2007/04/on_private_military_companies.html).

Thanks to Mark at Zenpundit (http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/index.html), I'm not getting back to what I need to... why? Because I just read his post suggesting (http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/2007/04/musings-and-recommendations-hectic-day.html) a read of Shloky's Private Militaries and Market States (http://www.shloky.com/?p=617). A few brief comments...

04-18-2007, 10:33 AM
"Special Forces provide deniable accountability."

What does that mean?


04-18-2007, 02:07 PM
He also has a previous post on this subject here:


The issue of private military companies, private security companies, or private military firms brings up the question of accountability. This question can be asked in different dimensions: moral, legal, ethical, and command and control. This is a brief draft on the legal accountability of private military forces, divorced from any profit motives. It is my belief that private military forces fall into the same "loophole" (really a misnomer, it is an intentional gap) in regulation in which non-governmental forces "approved" by the international community, namely Blue Helmets, are also found.

04-18-2007, 11:38 PM
"Special Forces provide deniable accountability."

What does that mean?


I meant that in the margins, when seeking options that are not readily attributed back to the source and are generally covert, SF can be used effectively. In this space, private forces can also provide value, especially in the cold sense of disposability. In the overt arena, deniable accountability, that is thinking actions don't represent the principal, is a fantasy, contrary to what many may want to think. In less overt applications, such as the Balkans before Dayton, SF could have been used if deniable accountability was the real reason to use MPRI.

09-18-2008, 02:17 PM
SIPRI, 18 Sep 08: The Private Military Services Industry (http://books.sipri.org/files/insight/SIPRIInsight0801.pdf)

The trend towards increased outsourcing of military activities has led to a rapid expansion of the military services segment of the arms industry in recent decades. Military services as defined here include technical services such as information technology and equipment maintenance, operational support such as facilities management and logistics, and actual armed ‘security’ in conflict zones. Some of the demand for the latter comes not from ‘outsourcing’ as such, but from internal conflict situations where state capacity is weak or absent. This paper discusses the background to the growth of the military services industry and presents an overview of the different types of military service, the size of the market and the companies involved.

The continuing expansion of the private military services industry raises many issues. The view that outsourcing is economically efficient can be challenged on a number of grounds, not least when these services are provided in operationally deployed contexts. The involvement of private companies in assisting military operations in armed conflict situations such as Iraq also raises serious concerns about the democratic accountability of armed forces, the status of civilian contractors in military roles, and the political influence of companies that have a vested interest in the continuation of the conflict.
Complete 20 page paper at the link.

SWJ Blog
11-18-2012, 11:25 AM
Private Soldiers: Bullets for Hire (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/private-soldiers-bullets-for-hire)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/private-soldiers-bullets-for-hire) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

04-25-2013, 01:39 PM
A quick review by Business Insider:http://www.businessinsider.com/most-powerful-mercenary-armies-2013-4?op=1#ixzz2RLM04tgP

Yes, there are more than Blackwater; although for obscure reasons it has two slots in the article.

04-25-2013, 03:11 PM
I posted the following link in a previous thread:


I've not read the following but it seems of interest (was it mentioned in the article? Read it too quickly to remember):


Like anything else, I suppose there is both good and bad when looking at the situation clinically and within the larger phenomenon of global outsourcing, long supply chains, etc.

Jobs are important and I don't begrudge anyone a job. There's a comment that is going to infuriate some people reading but I'm betting that not all jobs fall into the negative stereotypes about PMC's. The larger phenomenon worries, I have to admit, especially contracting out intellectual duties.

The other thing that worries is how many officials responsible either for policy or for military advice (retired civilian and military) cycle back and forth between various consulting groups, even for nations with which we are involved in some sort of complicated intervention.

I sometimes think the focus on culture and transnationalism misses the mark - the nation state and its strange licit and illicit connections are as much a part of what we are seeing as anything else.

There is a tendency toward trying to fit the world into the latest theory instead of simply looking at the world as it is, as best as we are able.

SWJ Blog
07-23-2013, 04:40 PM
Are Private Contractors Really Cheaper? (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/are-private-contractors-really-cheaper)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/are-private-contractors-really-cheaper) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

SWJ Blog
07-31-2013, 11:40 AM
The Status of Private Military Companies: When Civilians and Mercenaries Blur (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/the-status-of-private-military-companies-when-civilians-and-mercenaries-blur)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/the-status-of-private-military-companies-when-civilians-and-mercenaries-blur) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

02-08-2015, 10:39 PM
An interesting article on PMCs even if it is essentially based on a new book, by Sean McFate, a contractor and academic: The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What they Mean for World Order (https://www.amazon.com/The-Modern-Mercenary-Private-Armies/dp/0199360103/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=theamericonse-20&linkCode=w01&linkId=7R5LTL46D3BYWWT5&creativeASIN=0199360103)

Nowt happening, move along now:
The U.S. used contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan more than it had in any war in its history: in 2010 there were more contractors deployed to war zones (207,000) than U.S. servicemembers (175,000). In World War II, contractors only made up 10 percent of the military workforce, according to McFate.


Another author, Peter Singer (who has his own book):
In an idealized world the companies with the best practices and best performance records would end up with all the contracts, and the bad actors would be eliminated from the field, that hasn’t happened in regular business, much less when you cross regular business with what you call politics.

04-14-2015, 11:49 AM
Via WoTR:
Watch Sean McFate discuss his new book, The Modern Mercenary (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0199360103/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0199360103&linkCode=as2&tag=httpwaronthec-20&linkId=E67DGGZJE23PKCNB), at the National Defense University. Sean offers an insider’s understanding of the opaque private military world, how its presence can change the future of war and world order as we know it.
Link to eighty minutes:http://warontherocks.com/2015/04/what-you-need-to-know-about-modern-mercenaries/

11-09-2015, 09:09 AM
From the UK Defence in Depth blog the first opinion polling of PMC personnel. The autho opens with:
The data presented here was drawn from a large-scale study of armed private security contractors, of which this blog post is one aspect. The study set out to explore the perceptions and realities of being a private security contractor after military service. Of the men and women who completed the survey (n=1516), 86% had prior military experience, of which 65% served in the UK Armed Forces, 16% in the U.S. Armed Forces, and the remaining 19% were from countries other than the UK and US. This blog post focuses on the 65% of UK Armed Forces, herein referred to as the ‘sample population.’

02-03-2016, 10:14 AM
Hardly a shock, although being a UK-based charity and newspaper they would say that - just teasing.

The charity report:http://www.waronwant.org/media/new-report-guns-hire-return-%E2%80%98dogs-war%E2%80%99
The short article:http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/feb/03/britain-g4s-at-centre-of-global-mercenary-industry-says-charity

02-06-2016, 10:28 PM
More of a follow-on to the above post, with a human focus appearing and one almost wonders if a PR person has been spinning hard:http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/feb/06/the-return-of-the-dogs-of-war-whats-it-like-to-be-a-soldier-for-hire

08-22-2016, 09:07 PM
A short article from The Atlantic and one passage says it all:
...the United States has developed a dependency on the private sector to wage war, a strategic vulnerability. Today, America can no longer go to war without the private sector.Link:http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/08/iraq-afghanistan-contractor-pentagon-obama/495731/

10-16-2018, 12:41 PM
A curious report, if only as so much detail has been assembled and I wonder if those involved believed "all publicity helps". What was happening? This passage is a "taster":
Their armed attack, described to BuzzFeed News by two of its participants and corroborated by drone surveillance footage, was the first operation in a startling for-profit venture. For months in war-torn Yemen, some of America’s most highly trained soldiers worked on a mercenary mission of murky legality to kill prominent clerics and Islamist political figures.Their target that night: Anssaf Ali Mayo, the local leader of the Islamist political party Al-Islah. The UAE considers Al-Islah to be the Yemeni branch of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE calls a terrorist organization. Many experts insist that Al-Islah, one of whose members won the Nobel Peace Prize (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/07/tawakkul-karman-profile), is no terror group.

10-21-2018, 11:46 PM
The first known private military contracting and consulting firm catering just to jihadists issued a new online fundraising appeal for help in arming fighters while also noting this week that donors came through to build a training camp for jihadists in Syria.


12-18-2018, 05:08 PM
How a Swedish professor helped rescue a grad student from ISIS-controlled Iraq
The student said he was amazed to see a group of six armed men in two four-wheel drive vehicles show up to take him and his family to safety.

Obligatory reading music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyz_2DEah4o)

02-11-2019, 06:31 PM
21st century life is becoming a cyberpunk novel.

Prince, brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has made no secret about his ambitions in China. But since he became chairman of Frontier Services Group in Hong Kong five years ago, CITIC, his mainland benefactor, has slowly cemented its grip on the firm. Prince stepped down as FSG Chairman in December to make way for a new boss from the conglomerate, which has amassed a bigger stake than Prince’s 9 percent.

International Attention
Now FSG has drawn international attention for a signing ceremony to build a training center in far western China, where the Chinese government has detained as many as a million Uighur Muslims in political camps. The statement, made in Chinese, was subsequently removed from the firm’s website. Prince distanced himself from the region in a statement to Bloomberg.

03-21-2019, 01:12 AM
Double-tap from the Haiti thread.

This is well worth the read, if merely as a guideline for what not to do.