Private military contractors are increasingly becoming an essential part of developed nations security, with nations like the United States being the biggest customer of PMCs. While they have some benefits such as less bureaucratic tape to cut through to make use of them, they are inherently flawed. There is no evidence that they are actually cheaper in the long term, because often contractor’s insurance will be just as high as any other military benefits, especially in the United States. For developed nations, often times the contractors will be not as well trained and motivated as personnel serving their country. The role of a military is security of the country, and when private contractors are used to enforce other nations will, or their own, it takes security from the public and makes it a business. PMCs may increase safety overall, but in nations with instability, a state having a strong military to maintain order and protect its people is important to keeping governments, and not companies, in power.
South Sudan understands the need for private security, especially in fragile states, but believes that private security should only add to a military presence, not replace it. South Sudan sees incidents such as Baghdad’s Nisour square massacre, in which Blackwater security opened fire on innocent Iraqi civilians, leaving 14 dead and 18 wounded. South Sudan is a fragile state, but working to stabilize the nation is the top priority.
The role of PMCs is fluid, and South Sudan believes the role of PMCs should be less about combat roles, and more about security for individuals or groups. For example, an effecting use of PMCs would be diplomatic missions from a smaller, less developed country with little resources to move military personnel. The United Nations has been known to use PMCs when going to potentially dangerous states. One thing that must be done, however, is make it easier to hold security personnel who act out of line accountable. After the Nisour incident, it took almost 7 years to find them guilty in US courts, and the United Nations could take on the burden of prosecuting security employees to prevent bias.
Are Private Contractors Really Cheaper?
- Ben Wedepohl