• Private Military Companies

    Database of Researchers on International Private Security

    Interested in collaborating with researchers working on the issue of private security? From James Cockayne of the International Peace Academy: IPA Releases Database of Researchers on International Private Security International Peace Academy has been working with governments, international organizations and civil society to improve regulation of the international private military and security industry for over two years. Following more than 6 months of consultations, IPA has produced a database of more than 150 researchers working in this field. It contains details of researchers from around the world writing in many languages, their prior publications, areas of research focus, current work, and contact details. The database will facilitate the effective regulation…

  • Counterinsurgency,  Private Military Companies,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    In-sourcing Stabilization and Reconstruction

    Military operations may neutralize immediate kinetic threats and strategic communications may make promises, but enduring change comes from systemic overhauls that stabilize unstable regions. Security, humanitarian relief, governance, economic stabilization, and development are critical for ultimate democratization. These are the real propaganda of deeds. Without competent and comprehensive action in these areas, tactical operations are simply a waste of time, money, and life.

  • Private Military Companies,  Public Diplomacy

    Kent’s Imperative: Of PSDs and future assassinations

    For year-end reading on private security companies, read this smart post by Kent’s Imperative: It is no surprise that highly visible political targets under significant threat would seek the very best protection money could buy. Thus the news that Benazir Bhutto sought to obtain the services of a Blackwater protective security detail prior to her assassination is not entirely without precedent. However, we are reminded of Mountainrunner’s admonition that private military companies play into US foreign policy overseas – and in particular, US public diplomacy – in a manner that few analysts or decision-makers take into account. Blackwater is among the most visibly associated with US engagements in the Long…

  • Private Military Companies,  Public Diplomacy

    WaPo: Warnings Unheeded On Guards In Iraq

    There’s a decent article by Steve Fainaru in the Washington Post on the troubles of private security in Iraq: The U.S. government disregarded numerous warnings over the past two years about the risks of using Blackwater Worldwide and other private security firms in Iraq, expanding their presence even after a series of shooting incidents showed that the firms were operating with little regulation or oversight, according to government officials, private security firms and documents. There nothing new in the article I haven’t written about before, but Fainaru’s article has a change in tone and perspective on the issue of privatization we’re likely to see more of. It seems we may…

  • Private Military Companies

    Singer links the addiction: Steroids and Contractors

    Guest posting at Danger Room, Peter Singer puts the problem of use into terms many more people can understand: For the public, however, we should be thinking about this issue of contractors and steroids in another way. Our military’s use of the private military industry has become an addiction that parallels athletes’ increasing turn to artificial substances to get ahead. Just as a dose of steroids give athletes the ability to hit the ball further than ever before, so too has injecting more than 160,000 private military contractors into Iraq allowed the operation to perform tasks that would otherwise be difficult. It is for this reason that many see no…

  • Civil-Military Relations,  Private Military Companies,  Unmanned Warfare

    Somebody, Prove my theory

    Today is Veteran’s Day here in the United States and a good time to wonder something out loud. Actually, I’ve been saying this in meatspace for a while, but I don’t think I’ve put it on the blog yet. As you think about our country’s veterans, ask yourself how many veterans you actually know. It’s very likely that you, as a reader of this blog, know (or are) a veteran: you are reading what some call a milblog after all. Here’s my theory: more Americans know a mercenary, but don’t know it, than know a vet, adjusting for sheer numbers. In other words, contractors our "outside" in the public more…

  • Private Military Companies

    Iraq OKs Raids on Blackwater

    From Noah at Danger Room: This sounds like a recipe for something very ugly.  The Times is reporting that "the Iraqi interior minister said Wednesday that he would authorize raids by his security forces on Western security firms to ensure that they were complying with tightened licensing requirements on guns and other weaponry, setting up the possibility of violent confrontations between the Iraqis and heavily armed Western guards." “Every company will be subject to such examination, and any company that does not follow the law will lose its license,” the minister, Jawad al-Bolani, said of the planned raids. “They are called security companies. They are not called violate-the-law companies…” Within…

  • Private Military Companies

    In Iraq, Blackwater Is Old News

    From CBS, In Iraq, Blackwater Is Old News, Elizabeth Palmer: Blackwater Shooting Just A Drop In The Ocean Of Iraqi Civilian Deaths: The shooting last month involving Blackwater security contractors remains big news in the United States. Not here though. Soon after the story broke, it faded from the front pages. The truth is that no one in Baghdad was very surprised to learn that on Sept. 16 innocent civilians had been killed in a hail of American gunfire. They were more likely to be thinking, “Oh, not again.” Of course some were angered, but over the past three years too many like incidents like this one have dulled people’s…

  • Private Military Companies

    Gansler Commission Cites Systemic Problems in Army Contracting

    From the U.S. Army: Not enough people, too little training, and an antiquated system. Those are the key findings in a report released today on Army contracting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Ya think? Was something unclear? Did previous issues not rise to a magic level? Is it really true that without real monitoring and performance incentives contractors won’t save us money? What happened to altruism in capitalism?