Monday 2010-10-11

Corporate Warriors by P. W. Singer

Singer has lots of negative things to say about outsourced warfare and showcases three companies to explain how it works: Executive Outcomes, MPRI, and KBR. Since the 1990s. the end of the Cold War meant advanced countries sent reduced funds and materials to lesser developed countries, at the same time those advanced countries were trimming their own military budgets. This leaves the lessers to their own devices at the same time staff are encouraged to leave the advanceds' militaries. However, Singer also makes FUD points like this:

Likewise, although government activities are open to examination under laws such as the Freedom of Information Act, the company contracts are protected under proprietary law, often making their activities completely deniable.
-- Preface
Several angry senators could put any action, private or public, front and center on the US's Stage of Concerns. In the end, we're left just guessing as which of his points seem valid and which are just sensationalist...

In fact, many of the Hessian troops found that life in America compared quite nicely to Germany and by the end of the war roughly a third of the force deserted.
-- Privatized Military History, Mercenaries in the Age of Reason
The companies (Dutch East India et al.) arrived in the midst of local chaos with superior technology and organization (parallels to Private Military Forces today). The resulting actions they took to protect their own interests -- building forts, establishing markets, recruiting local mercenary armies -- soon led to their political control of the entire Indian subcontinent.
The initial activities of the trading companies illustrate how they used their military operations to force out trade competitors.
-- Privatized Military History, The Corporate Free Hand
The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away."
-- Ronald Reagan, Why Security Has Been Privatized
While many hoped for a "new world order" of global peace after 1989, the real order that came about was that of "peace in the West, war for the rest."
-- Why Security Has Been Privatized, Released Conflicts
Moreover, as public security appartatuses broke down, it was not just teh line-soldiers who were now left jobless. It is estimated that nearly 70 percent of the former KGB also entered the industry.
-- Why Security Has Been Privatized, Labor: The Market Flood of Soldiers
The new unified Germany did not want the East's old weapons and chose to put its entire stock on the market. The result was essentially a huge yard sale of weaponry, where nearly every weapon in the East German arsenal was sold, most of it to private bidders at cut-rate prices.
-- Why Security Has Been Privatized, Tools: The Market Flood of Weapons
Indeed, in several US military war games, small units of hackers, hired off the private market, have proven capable of gaining access to critical military systems and disrupting entire military operations.
-- Why Security Has Been Privatized, The Requirements of Technology
With enough money anyone can equip a powerful military force. With a willingness to use crime, nearly anyone can generate enough money.
-- Why Security Has Been Privatized, The Criminalization of Conflict
The Angolan air force had the hardware (Su-25 close-support bombers and Mig-27s) from its former Soviet patrons, but lacked the combat skills to use them effectively.
-- The Military Provider Firm, EO's Corporate Network
The war in Angola can be traced to its abrupt independence from Portuguese colonial rule in 1975. At this time, several hundred thousand Portuguese -- virtually the entire educated population -- abandoned the country
-- The Military Provider Firm, History of Major Operations
War is a realm which military thinkers such as Carl von Clausewitz could only describe as a series of unique situations limited by numerous ambiguities.
-- Contractual Dilemmas, Introduction
With any military operation, the 'five Ps' prevail: Prior planning prevents poor performance.
-- Conclusions, PMF Policy Recommendations