Private Militarization


The use of private contractors mostly armed by the US and otherstates is becoming a challenge to matters of security and humanrights violation. The scope of this problem is that privatecontractors guard military bases, conduct surveillance of potentialmilitary targets, protect diplomatic personnel and other such dutiesin the name of governments saving money and providing strategicflexibility at the expense of citizens and lawmakers consent(Clement, 2012). Soldiers for hire or privatized military give statestoo much leeway to take armed actions without the consent of citizensor lawmakers. The magnitude of this problem is evident at the ratewhich states are employing the private contractors instead of usingmilitary personnel (Chesterman &amp Lehnardt, 2007).

Critics of private contractors view private contractors asunaccountable in the way they conduct their duties. Unlike the military who pledge to uphold public trust support the militarymission and respect international law, private contractors are notbound to such pledges and violate human rights as in the 2004 scandalexample where detainees from Abu Ghraib prison were severely abusedby contractors (Clement, 2012). Current trends reveal that securitycontracting is expanding at a fast rate as the need for regulatedrules to be enforced regarding security contractors becomes an issue.Many nations look at hiring private soldiers as a solution to savingmoney and solving their security problems like fighting pirates,guarding remote mining operations and other security concerns whilecreating larger problems like human rights violations.

The problem of privatizing the military mostly affects citizens andthe lawmakers. Private soldiers contend no system of law at nationalor international levels and thus pose as a threat to human rightsviolations. For the lawmakers, dealing with contractors is a majorchallenge as they fall under the gray area making them more difficultto be prosecuted for illegal or inhumane conduct asserts Clement(2012). There are no international laws stipulating how contractorscan be tried for crimes like abuse or violation to human rights notesRAND analysts. The prosecutions that go forward have slow progressfor example the case presented to the US Supreme Court regarding fourformer contractors in connection to deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians inNisour Square.

Citizens are vulnerable to receiving harsh treatment or even dyingat the mercy of contractors as seen in the above example argues(Chesterman &amp Lehnardt, 2007). An example of a formal policyactor from the reading is Lawrence J Korb a senior fellow center forprogress action fund who feels that the US will protect vitalnational interests at reduced costs, if the congress signed thecontracting reform act of 2012. Opposing that was professionalservices council CEO Stan Solo way who felt that the act wasuntimely. Other informal actors are human right organizations andcitizens who do not want to continue being victims of privatecontractors.

To address the problem of privatizing military one of the proposedpolicies has been the new code of conduct. The Swiss government andthe Red Cross International Committee developed a non-legal bindingpledge that would be used by governments that hire contractors. Thepledge stated that those governments would have to comply to humanright standards. The countries included the USA, UK, China, and other41 signatories as of 2012 (Clemet, 2012). Governments, civilsocieties, security companies and groups representing publicinterests like universities called ICOC (international code ofconduct) for security contractors developed another policy. Thesepolicy instruments can be characterized as forms of regulation forcontractors.

The most relevant evaluative criteria for assessing the use andperformance of private military contractors are case studies. Casestudies reveal the real events and what contractors do given theopportunity as a result certain tradeoffs like how to protect humanrights have to be considered before assigning them the role that themilitary should be playing. The privatization challenge as aprincipal-agent problem is a threat to governments, as it appearsthat the private contractors want to take over the role of themilitary in many states (Becker, 2011). Governments use privatecontractors as agents to reduce costs in their states withoutconsidering the consent of citizens or lawmakers.

In an effort to minimize the costs used, they risk exposing theircitizens to human right violations and getting their agents walk awaywithout paying for their offences as no law has been developed tocharge them. The use and oversight of private military contractorsrelates to human capital in that private contractors privatecontractors guard military bases, conduct surveillance of potentialmilitary targets, protect diplomatic personnel and other such dutiesin the name of governments saving money and providing strategicflexibility.


Becker, M. (2011)&quotExplaining Variation in SecurityPrivatization: A Principal-Agent Approach&quot&nbspPaperpresented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association Annual Conference &quotGlobal Governance: PoliticalAuthority in Transition&quot, Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel,MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA Online &ltPDF&gt. 2014-11-26from

Chesterman, S., &amp Lehnardt, C. (2007). From mercenaries tomarket: The rise and regulation of private military companies.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Clement, M. (2012). Privatizing the military, CQ Researcher,July, Vol, 22, No.25 Sage publications inc.