Role of Private Military Security Companies in Counter-Insurgency Operations

  • Michelle Lynette Jones

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The emergence of Private Military Security Companies has altered the way in which security has been perceived and delivered. Prior to the Cold War, security had fallen within the state’s domain and the deliverance of military services was a purely state-centric affair. Military downsizing has resulted in certain tasks and services being out-sourced to private entities. Within the last decade, these companies have grown in size and broadened the range of services they offer. States opting to partake in long-term military operations have contracted Private Military Security Companies in order to provide a troop surge and enhance their presence in the region. However, devolving security to a non-state entity has sparked concern, and options regarding methods of regulation and accountability have plagued the academic and policy world.
With states now opting to conduct military operations with a lighter footprint, the option to out-source certain tasks and services has provided great relief to states and granted certain strategic advantages. The benefits include the hiring of personnel when needed, contracting specialists in order to carry out certain tasks and using these companies as force multipliers to complete reconstruction and development projects. However, the utilisation of these companies can also provide serious strategic implications for states. When conducting counter-insurgency operations, the ability to successfully win over the local population via a dedicated ‘hearts and minds’ campaign is a vital aspect of the operation. The employment of Private Military Security Companies during the recent counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq has sparked great debate regarding the implications of using these actors during conflicts where sensitivity and active engagement are key operational components. If regulated successfully and held accountable for their actions, Private Military Security Companies could provide substantial strategic benefits to counter-insurgent forces who desire cultural and linguistic specialists, and a reconstruction workforce in order to build support from the local populations and win the desired ‘hearts and minds’ campaigns
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  • Prifysgol Aberystwyth

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