How Effective Are Private Military Companies Essay

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1459 Words
Date:  2022-04-04

Private military companies have increased their operations in the recent past. They provide combatant services as private contractors. Mostly the government hires the military contractors to train their personnel and perform other tasks that the government military officers need help with. However, the working tactics of private military contractors have come under question severally. Considering the methods of operations applied by private contractors raises questions on their effectiveness. Critiques of private military contractors have argued on the high cost the countries incur on them. They are also concerned on the accountability of the contractors. Mostly their operations do not put the interests of the nation at heart. On the contrary, some argue that private contractors are the most effective in delivering to government operations. It has become a trend that many governments in the world are hiring private military and security companies to provide them with services. Finally, the question that arises at the end of the day is either the private contractors are effective or they tend to avoid accountability. The effectiveness of these firms seems to be possible because of their flexibility and unquestioned acts.

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Private military companies have come under international civil organizations criticism for their lack of humanitarian respect. The civil organizations have had to question the acts of individual contractors (Lindsey, 2006, p 580). Mostly the private contractors are answerable to company's shareholders who pay them. This has rendered accountability and oversight of the contractors impossible. The government has no touch on the operations of private companies. It is often difficult to impose government agencies rules to private contractors since they have no laws set in place to regulate their actions. In most cases, humanitarian rights are violated in the course of contractors operations. For example, the Iraq and Afghanistan war raised humanitarian questions on how the contractors acted. It came to light on their insubordination to government orders and military counterparts. This raises the questions of how well the government should regulate the operations of private military and security firms (Steven, 2002, p 320)

Most of the governments in the world outsource security personnel and equipment from private companies. Most of the government armories are supplied by private companies that make good profits out of the deals. Most firms have also come up to provide cybersecurity to governments. Despite the good deeds of individual companies to keep the country safe, they have promoted terrorism. Lack of scrutiny and oversight from the government has resulted in dangerous equipment landing to the wrong hands. Some of the companies participate in deals that end up benefiting terrorism groups for the sake of good profits. The problem resulting to this is the lack of accountability to any agency (O'Brien, 2000, p 62).

Outsourcing of military services by governments is mostly due to the flexibility of private contractors. Usually, for a government to get things done, there are lengthy bureaucratic processes that have to be undertaken. Government is a political entity that requires various procedures for operations. In most military operations multiple aspects have to be assessed. At the same time, government military personnel are bound by orders and chain of command that they have to follow. To realize results of a government military operation takes time due to the rules and laws that need to guide the personnel. On the other hand, private contractors are flexible in offering their services. They are not worried about any political implications or answering to any government entity. Outsourcing by the government is mostly driven by lack of accountability of the private contractors. They always accomplish their mission without many complications in the chain of command being involved. Contractors also act discretely since they don't have to explain their actions to anyone, unlike the government military which has to answer to the government.

Private military companies tend to lack transparency and accountability. Their lack of scrutiny is what fits some of the government operations. The government has security secrets that it protects at all cost. A country's security lies in the hands of government intelligence services. The secrets uncovered by secret services are protected at all costs. Everything does not need public scrutiny concerning the government. Hence, the government outsources companies that are secretive and protective of these secrets. Private contractors lack accountability and are mostly not answerable to any government agency. They are not regulated by any government agency (Leander, 2005, p 611)). They are used by government mostly to conduct covert operations because of their secrecy. Ultimately, the lack of transparency and accountability makes private military companies the best for some government operations. This has led more private firms to rise and overtake most of the government works. They are supplying primary government security apparatus including the personnel.

The government prefers private military companies due to their reliability and professionalism. Government military operations are costly since they involve many personnel and machinery to deliver their services. On the contrary, private military companies use few people to provide a job. They recruit their employees on specialized skills that are more result oriented. In cases where the government needs a job done with little cost implications, they hire private contractors to do the work. Private companies are reliable in delivering their services in few numbers at a fair cost as compared to government military personnel. These services include combat missions, protection of high profile personnel and infiltration of foreign countries. In summary, few professional and skilled mercenaries are more efficient than a large group of military employees in conducting specialized missions.

Private contractors are proving to be more efficient and effective in their work. As compared to government operators, most security firms train their personnel to deal with the upcoming threats. They are recruitment on the usage of new technology to combat crime and threat assessment. The expertise they provide to the word is more useful for government operations than the government employees. The firm shareholders invest more of their resources to ensure that they market their companies. They ensure that they deliver quality services to ensure their businesses thrive. The skills trained to private contractors are more up to date hence being effective in the delivery of their services. Ultimately, they provide the more specialized skill set in their work than a government entity.

Private military contractors are effective in ensuring they up military assets during critical missions. They free up military personnel in case of missions that do not require many operators. They help in minimizing U.S casualties. In some instances, many contractors are foreign ex-military officers. They have more experience and skills in dealing with security issues. The private contractors substitute U.S military personnel and help save critical military assets. They are more effective in their jobs than government military machinery.

Opponents of private military firms mostly argue by training mercenaries without regulation which may result in terrorism. Sometimes there is a rogue contractor who ends up terrorizing their own countries. Sometimes lack of background checks on private firm's employees may result in the training of loose cannons. The lack of accountability has mostly led in far many unprecedented results. However, this does not dismiss the effect of private security contractors in the market. The reliability and effectiveness of individual contractors should not be dismissed out a few mess ups. Some wonder where they serve public interests especially regarding due to violation of human rights. However, policies can be put in place to accommodate and regulate the operations of individual military personnel. This will ensure a safer world with more regulated actions. It will also ensure accountability of private military companies (Oldrich, 2005, p540).


In conclusion, private military companies are coming up globally and taking up more government security jobs. Private military contractors are more cost-effective as compared to government machinery. The lack of supervision and accountability makes them more efficient in their operations. The private firms are making government operations more efficient and cost-effective. Despite private contractors being useful in their services, policies and laws should be put in place to oversee their activities. This is to prevent cases of rogue contractors and ensure accountability. They are doing an adequate job, but they require oversight to protect the countries interests. Private military companies have been left to operate due to their effectiveness in security work.


Brayton, Steven. 2002. "Outsourcing War: Mercenaries and the Privatization of Peacekeeping."Journal of International Affairs 55(2): 303-329.

Bures, Oldrich. 2005. "Private Military Companies: A Second Best Peacekeeping Option?".International Peacekeeping 12(4): 533-546.

Cameron, Lindsey. 2006. "Private Military Companies: Their Status under International Humanitarian Law and its Impact on their Regulation." International Review of the RedCross 88(863): 573-598.

Leander, Anna. 2005. "The Market for Force and Public Security: The DestabilizingConsequences of Private Military Companies." Journal of Peace Research 42(5): 605-622.

O'Brien, Kevin A. 2000. "PMCs, Myths and Mercenaries: The Debate on Private MilitaryCompanies". The RUSI Journal 145(1): 59-64.

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