However, this law is almost useless. The characterization of a mercenary is so restrictive but inaccurate that anyone can shake it. As military historian and jurist Geoffrey Best notes, “Any mercenary who cannot exclude himself from this definition deserves to be shot – and his lawyer with him!” 16 In addition, private security providers have circumvented labour law, inter alia, by paying lower wages than their colleagues in developed countries to employees in developing countries and by denying health care to their employees. About 53,000 U.S. contractors were in the Middle East last year, compared to 35,000 U.S. troops, according to a study by Boston University and Brown University. This ratio was 1:1 at the height of Iraq`s military strength in 2008. And since 2001, about 8,000 entrepreneurs from U.S. companies serving in the Middle East have died.
That`s 1,000 more than the U.S. soldiers killed. But most of the contractors deployed in war zones were engaged in the mundane but often dangerous work of logistics and supplies. U.S. contractors such as DynCorp and Triple Canopy managed laundry, operated restaurants, operated bus lines, built tents and housing units, transported fuel and water, provided security guards and performed other tasks. Interestingly, during Obama`s two terms, the number of private contractors on the U.S. government`s payroll increased in several departments. In 2015, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that 55% of the staff in the Secretary of Defense`s office were private contractors.  Similarly, the Commander of the United States. Cyber Command, that 25% of the command`s employees are contractors.
Therefore, it is important to remember that PMS has been and is being used in various departments at home and abroad. Moreover, the net dollar amount that the U.S. spending on private contractors also increased during Obama`s tenure. The total federal budget for private entrepreneurs peaked in 2010, reaching more than $600 billion.  In 2015, the Pentagon alone paid more than $270 billion to private military contractors. Finally, a 2010 report revealed how the Department of Defense under Obama hired warlords to provide security services.  They were attacked by 500 mercenaries hired by Russia, who possessed artillery, armored personnel carriers, and T-72 battle tanks. These were not the cartoonish scum portrayed by Hollywood and Western pundits. It was the Wagner Group, a private military company based in Russia, and like many high-end mercenaries today, they were secretive and deadly.  Bruce Falconer, “Blackwater`s Man in Washington,” Mother Jones, September 25, 2007, accessed April 1, 2018, www.motherjones.com/washington_dispatch/2007/09/blackwater-contractors-doug-brooks.html.
Private military companies, or PMCs, are independent companies that exchange military services through a variety of opportunities they have due to their corporate nature. Private sector organizations hold military power for a variety of reasons, including changes in the global order and a security vacuum that PMCs must fill, globalization phenomena – whether related to new technologies or new social approaches to war – and the privatization trend of the 1990s. The U.S. began recruiting contractors for Latin American countries to perform security tasks in their war zones, minimize U.S. casualties, and prevent domestic resistance to numerous U.S. military interventions abroad. While the U.S. argues that this deal benefits both U.S. and Latin American entrepreneurs economically, it is morally and politically unacceptable to pay foreigners to “take risks for us” in order to avoid the “political costs” of waging otherwise unpopular wars.
South Africa`s PMSC Sterling Corporate Services, which commissioned Somalia`s semi-autonomous Puntland region to form a paramilitary naval force to fight pirates in the Horn of Africa, has been heavily criticized by the United Nations for its systematic violations of UN arms embargoes and its possible impact on human rights abuses. It is likely that Bancroft Global Development, a US-based PMSC already working for UN AMISOM in Somalia, will win the contract. However, this transition was the result of a “closed-door agreement to avoid sanctions”. (Independent Online) 36 Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Contractors` Support of U.S. Operations in Iraq (Washington, DC: CBO, August 2008), 17, available at . In my ESRC-funded research (and my book The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies), I evaluate the main moral objections to the use of these companies. In short, I argue that the use of private military and security companies should be avoided and, in particular, that their use poses significant problems that cannot be solved by regulation alone. In Iraq, even the coordination of private military and security companies has been outsourced (to Aegis, which has set up a reconstruction operations center). Vinnell was hired to train the police. CACI provided interrogators to work in detention centers, including Abu Ghraib – where its employees (and those of Titan who provided translators) were allegedly involved in torturing Iraqi civilians. The endless war has wreaked havoc on American soldiers.
Suicide rates, crime, drug abuse, desertion and sexual violence have increased at U.S. military bases. To solve the problem, the US corporatized its war machine. Private military and security companies are hired to replace low-morale citizen armies. Drones are greeted as if they were the most stylish iPhones on the market. Corporate involvement cuts off the American public from involvement in military affairs, while the U.S. continues to expand its influence, and all for some suspected insurgents scattered around the world. (TomDispatch) Dr. McFate`s career began as a paratrooper in the famous 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. He then became a private military contractor in Africa, where he dealt with warlords, raised small armies, worked with armed groups in the Sahara, managed arms sales in Eastern Europe, and helped prevent genocide in the Great Lakes region. Dr.
McFate co-wrote the novels Shadow War and Deep Black (William Morrow), based on his military experiences. He is also the author of The Modern Mercenary (Oxford University Press). He has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and The Economist, as well as on MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, BBC, Vice/HBO, Discovery Channel, American Heroes Channel and other media outlets. 3 To do this, the United Nations (UN) should establish a licensing and registration system that all members of the industry must comply with in order to prequalify for contracts with the organization. This would require clear standards and guidelines governing all industry activities, as well as clear oversight and accountability mechanisms. This regime should include at least the following elements: registration criteria, ethical code of conduct, employee control standards, transparency and accountability mechanisms, eligible clients (i.e. sanctioned by the UN Security Council), training and security standards, contractual standards and compliance enforcement mechanisms such as audits. Contractual instruments must be in place to ensure the rapid deployment of private military contractors in the event of a humanitarian disaster.