You should be using the correct term by now!
Mercenaries V Contractors
Although not a new concept, the number of private security firms, and the scope of work they can provide has greatly expanded in recent years. It
is wrong to think of these corporations as a new breed of mercenaries. These "armies for hire" can provide a variety of services; advice, training,
equipping, maintenance, logistics and when needed, some can and will engage in combat operations.
There are three major differences between these new corporate armies and mercenaries of old.
First: - They are business ventures foremost, not a venture for individual profit or excitement.
Second: - These corporations, at least those based in western states, do not take contracts that are in direct opposition to their country's national
Third: - Again for those based in western countries, they maintain a high level of professionalism and profess to adhere to internationally accepted
norms of operations.
Undoubtedly, many of the individuals who work for these corporations do so as a matter of patriotism. They are retired military who see this new line
of work as a continuation of their chosen profession. The danger in this lies in the increasingly complex nature of defining what is a country's
national interest. In areas where international interests are not clearly defined, these corporations will have opportunities that fall in the gray
area of neither being totally within, nor directly opposed to their home country's interest.
The New Face of Military Assistance
A natural evolution of these corporate armies for hire has occurred in Africa. Several corporations have and will provide security assistance to
governments. If warranted these companies will participate in combat operations. Press reports on these companies are mixed: some praise their
capability at restoring order in countries threatened by rebel movements, as was the case in both Sierra Leone and Angola, other reports still view
them as a group of mercenaries which eventually will cause problems in the region. Negative reporting on such companies usually links these
corporations with being paid for their services by mineral or oil concessions from the government. A situation that is reminiscent of the days of
One point that all media accounts agree on, is that these corporations have been very effective, at least for the short-term, in assisting governments
maintain stability. They employ professional, experienced soldiers, mostly from Africa. From the company's point of view, it is more cost effective,
and saves more lives, for a government to hire them to assist a teetering government before it collapses, than it is to send in a peacekeeping force
after a violent fight has subsided.
Companies that provide security services are actively looking to expand their business. These companies emphasize that they only take contracts that
are under the auspices of a legitimate government or entity (i.e., the United Nations), and that do not oppose the interest of the home government.
Foreign companies view their US competitors as military assistance corporations. In their view, the difference between their companies and their US
competitors, is that they have the capability to train, equip, or deploy a combat force if needed. In several instances foreign company advisors
fought either with the units being trained or in a separate unit alongside the host government forces. If requested, such companies could respond to a
humanitarian crisis, with a 300 man force, complete with communications, logistics, medical and close air support. This force would be to stabilize
the situation and assist in humanitarian efforts until a UN peacekeeping force arrived.
The services provided by these types of companies are a growth industry. There have been small-scale operations in the Far East and some companies are
now actively seeking to gain military assistance contracts with South American governments. Other companies with similar capabilities have reportedly
been formed in Israel, France and Brazil. MPRI, Vinnell and smaller US based companies are also seeking contracts to aid militaries around the world,
albeit without the combat capability of these more robust corporate entities.
Today’s world is a far cry from the 1960s when private military activity usually meant mercenaries of the rather unsavoury kind involved in
post-colonial or neo-colonial conflicts.
One of the reasons for considering the option of a licensing regime is that it may be desirable to
distinguish between reputable and disreputable private sector operators, to encourage and support the former while, as far as possible, eliminating
WASHINGTON — They have military-style weapons and duties. Many even have military-style body armour and crew cuts. An Iraqi could be forgiven for
failing to understand that these men are guns for hire — not soldiers. Click link above
Click the link to see list of PMC’s in Iraq (and also some bad press) there are some good links here so please don’t just read the bad ones and
give a bad opinion read them all please