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Privatized Military Operations

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Final rept.

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Private industry has been a key component of military success throughout the nations history. However, the role of the private sector has expanded rapidly in the past two decades, bringing contractors ever closer to the battlefield and raising both new possibilities and challenges. The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, for the first time, outlines a vision of the national security battle space with significant private sector involvement. This study assesses an industry that is as old as the military itself but, in many respects, is a relative newcomer in terms of the vast scope of its current activities. This industry -- Privatized Military Operations PMO -- has witnessed an explosive growth in the past two decades, especially in the United States as its armed forces have repeatedly deployed on numerous military operations. The role of Privatized Military Firms PMFs is now both larger and different than it has been since the foundation of the modern state. While the PMO industry is a broad and growing one, research has shown that many, if not most, of the significant andor controversial issues currently facing the industry involve the provision of security services during military operations. Concerns involving the appropriate use of force, applicability of the laws of armed conflict, the use of mercenaries, contractor accountability, and similar issues frequently arise whenever discussion turns to this sector. These concerns often overshadow others involving the provision of logistical or other types of PMO services. In this report, the authors attempt to address the significant concerns involving the private security sector of the PMO industry, while not ignoring those concerns that intersect the provision of other services. Appendixes address the following issues the legal status of contractors on the battlefield, the U.S. Governments management of contracting, and questions the DoD might consider when deciding whether to outsource a function.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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