PMSC: They're Not Just for the United States

Usually lost in the often histrionic conversation about private military and security contractors is that they are not used only by the United States. When PMSC advocates talk about their industry being a global phenomenon they are exactly right; they are everywhere.

One brief example is the following excerpt, taken from this paper, Privatization Coalitions, Strategic Decisions and Ideational Discourses: The Use of Private Military and Security Companies in Zones of Conflict. It was written by Andreas Kruck of the University of Munich and presented at the SGIR 7th Pan-European International Relations Conference, in Stockholm, Sweden, September 9-11, 2010.

While among the Anglo-Saxon countries privatization is strongest and unmatched within the United States, it has increased in scope and scale in other states as well (Deitelhoff 2009: 2f). Almost all new security strategies of western states refer to privatization strategies (Deitelhoff 2009: 16; cf. BMVg 2006: 74). European militaries lacking adequate means to transport and support their overseas forces now rely on PMSCs for such functions. To get to Afghanistan, European troops relied on a Ukrainian firm that, under a contract worth more than $100 million, ferried them there (Singer 2005: 120). Not only the governments of France and the UK are working with PMSCs with the UK being considerably more inclined to do so (Kinsey 2006); the German military has also relied on PMSCs for satellite intelligence, troop transportation, maintenance of armoured weapons carriers and facility security (of the camp in Faisabad) in Afghanistan as well as logistic services in Kosovo (Petersohn 2006: 15, 18). Moreover, it has further developed some (limited) privatization aims with regard to non-core functions such as site and facility management (Branovic/Chojnacki 2007). Out of theatre, the German Bundeswehr has outsourced further military and security functions in the areas of logistics, training (e.g. of jet pilots), maintenance of material (especially with the marine) and site security (Petersohn 2006: 18). However, so called 'core military functions' remain mostly (though not completely) with public military forces, while the use of PMSCs by the US extends into these core military areas (ibid. 12-21).