I had an interesting discussion with some colleagues about the use of Private Military Security Contractors (PMSCs) in the future. As of right now, they are being utilized in combat support roles, but the question I asked them was this: With a limited number of special operations forces, do you think PMSCs will eventually move into combat roles?
The reason why most people agree they will not is because there is no way to control them, i.e. Blackwater, and they can create problems with stability operations. So for every step the military moves forward they tend to hinder the progress. They all also agree they work at their best in combat support roles. My argument was that most of the public doesn’t really care if 100,000 PMSCs go into combat, but they do care about 100,000 military personnel. There are political goals that need to be reached, so how do we accomplish our national security goals without compromising our integrity? There is a great disconnect in the decision making ability from those in the executive branch due to a sincere lack of military service or just not listening to past mistakes.
What’s the solution? One colleague believes the developed countries and major stakeholders in the region need to step up and take responsibility for what is going on. Everyone believes that the U.S. can take care of everyone’s business when in reality it is not our job to do that, and when we do, people tend to hate the U.S. even more. In the end, he suggests NGO’s and the military need to work together. He was very pointed to say while the military has a short term mentality, NGO’s have a long term mentality, and there needs to be a balanced approach in which everyone works together to find a resolution.
The use of PMSCs is widespread, and it is still one of the highest grossing industries in the world. The reality is this, they are not going anywhere any time soon, but it is the capacity in which the U.S. uses them that will determine and guide their future. Conflict is growing all over the globe, so the question now becomes: Do we have enough resources to fight or resolve other’s conflicts or do we look for alternatives?