When asked why private security contractors are important for the U.S. military a former specialist for the United States Army replied, “It’s the extra sense of security. Strength in numbers. The United States Government won’t deploy more troops overseas but they will hire these private companies to help us out” (Ruohenen).
Habib Moody, a student at Yale University, is the author of “Soldiers for Rent”. In this article written for The New Atlantis, Moody argues that the government should not be hiring companies to fight the war for our soldiers. At one point in the article he says by hiring private companies to fight, we are “degrading such a noble calling”. In other words, by having civilians working alongside the military we are degrading a soldier’s work. He generates claims and describes why he thinks there is a lack of oversight and regulation on contractors overseas. Because of this, the contractors are unpunishable and getting away with war crime. While I agree with Moody that there is an excess of government military contracts, having private companies overseas is highly beneficial to our government. Without these contracts, the amount of U.S. military personnel would need to be increased to more than double, leading to a higher government expense than what the contractors charge.
Private military companies or PMCs have been taking part in wars for the United States for a long time now. Deborah Kidwell is the Assistant Professor of Military History and has done a lot of research on PMCs. She says in her book “Public War, Private Fight? The United States and Private Military Companies” that PMCs were used as far back as the American Revolution.
During the revolution companies were hired for means like transportation, engineering, labor, and tech services. World War II is where privatization indubitably began to expand. This is where construction and repair and maintenance operations overseas were starting to get hired out. Also a surge of new technology being created by the private industry was taking place at this time and the government was buying (Kidwell). As shown in figure 1, the ratio of the amount of PMCs to the number of US soldiers increased from 1:20 in World War I to 1:7 in World War II. Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield both heavily relied on saving money with PMCs because of the steep budget cliff at the time. The draft wasn’t quite enough and PMCs, although non-combatant, proved to be worthy for the US. Privatizing expanded quickly and there are now more private contractors overseas than military personnel (Moody).
Even after being around since the founding of our nation, there are still a couple problems that have come up with PMCs. Frequent critics claim it will be a long run problem for the reason that they are for profit, compared to the US military where their first priority is to protect and serve the nation. Plus relying on a countless number of private companies in...