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This chapter provides the background to the study. It includes the problem statement, research objectives and questions, and rationale for the study.

Background of the Study

The history of private-based military companies dates back a thousand years ago. However, its ethical dilemma and entrepreneurial-based nature continue to amaze many journalists, scholars, and military researchers. Majority of scholars have labeled differently, for instance, in Britain it is called British Association of Private Security Companies (BAPSC). In America, the name was changed several times since 2001, but the current one is International Peace Operation Association (IPOA) (Chesterman & Lehnardt, 2007). Majority of members of these military private based companies are mercenaries, though today, they are proud of being listed among security agents guided by professionalism and serving various countries such as Iraq, Libya, and Sudan among others globally.

Their entrepreneurial capabilities in various nations have earned them credit for being contracted to provide some military services such as guarding, logistics, provision of military weapons, and consultancy services among other warfare-related services. Statistics indicates that in some countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States and their war allies withdraw forces when PMCs are busy building their camps and driving their trucks to provide military and intelligence services. Companies possess some of the largest military forces in some countries, for instance, in Afghanistan, there are over 130000 people compared to Afghan National Army, which has only 100000 soldiers. Moreover, they have been accepted by several countries globally since Pentagon in the US has contracted dozens of PMCs to perform certain military services that had initially been performed by US-based uniformed soldiers.

The aim of this research paper is to answer the following questions: what drives PMC's entrepreneurial capabilities, why are they being trusted to provide military services by state authorities such as Pentagon, and how PMCs excel in ethical matters over their ever growing personnel population? Most scholars are amazed by the new waves of PMCs, which target some war-torn countries such as Libya and Iraq. Does this move not pose security threat to them and the nation at large? In order to answer this question, the researcher formulates questions related to the rise of PMCs industry, challenges faced by companies in modern world, the ways in which the companies outperform some of the national militaries, why industry associations are interested in self-regulating themselves, and what are the impacts of these among other ethical matters?

It is essential to provide factual statement about companies in various countries to provide a concise answer to the principal question of the study. This information was collected from other sources and it relates to private military companies. Moreover, some alternative course of action was taken to address ethical challenges faced by PMC companies across the globe to remain relevant in the market. Later, the researcher selected some reasonable alternatives that provide solution to ethical and working challenges of PMCs in several countries, such as Iraq and Libya, before issuing implementation techniques of decisions.

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Research Questions

Despite the entrepreneurial nature and immense growing rate of PMCs, companies face several challenges starting from insecurity, ethical consideration, and competition from other security and military based providers. However, there are several questions that must be addressed:

1.0: What factors caused the immense performance and growth of private military industry in recent years?

2.0: Why are PMC industry based associations, such as IPOA and BAPSC, interested in self regulation?

3.0: What are private military companies doing to reserve ethics among their military personnel in politically unstable and dangerous countries?

4.0: What is the future of private military industry across the globe?


1.0: The private military industry recorded an immense performance and growth over the recent years.

2.0: Most private-based military companies in the industry association, such as IPOA and BAPSC, are interested in self regulation.

3.0: Private military companies are keen to address ethical considerations of their military personnel in politically unstable and dangerous countries.

4.0: The future of private military companies has a great potential across the globe.

Literature Review


This chapter discusses literature related to the origin and rise of private military companies across the globe, global challenges, and competition from American and British based militaries, identified hotspots for future markets, advocated self-regulatory measures and ethical considerations of private military companies in the world.

The Rise of the Private Military Companies (PMCs) Industry

Traditional private military personnel included mercenaries, who were provided with money to help in civil-based war and eventually topple some governments. However, modern private military companies are performing different duties, such as guarding, providing military advices, professional counseling, logistics of military weapons, and other services. Currently, they are headed by retired military officers from British and American defense forces. The rise is attributed to entrepreneurship, professionalism, and ability to add value to military service delivery in politically unstable and war-torn countries such as Libya, Iraq, and Sudan. This has enabled them to complete globally.

Companies serve their clients on several duties, such as provision of military weapons, like guns alongside military officers. Others are contracted to provide military consulting services, for instance, military professional resource company in the USA. Lastly, there are those which are hired to provide non-lethal based services, such as transportation logistics and intelligence, for instance DynCorp International, which has risen recently to make over 2 billion revenue profit and employed over 16800 employees. Statistical figures reveal that the industry has grown immensely since 2009 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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While the United States and its allies’ military forces leave these war-torn countries, private military companies’ camps are located in these countries. In 2009, it was noted that PMCs had over 130000 trained military personnel compared to just 100000 Afghan-based soldiers. In Iraq, the private based military personnel amounted to over 113000 soldiers, while United States personnel totaled to 130000 (Kinsey, 2010). The immediate withdrawal of the US-based military personnel in Iraq saw these companies lead in the number of personnel. This even agitated Pentagon and other state-based departments to employ some of PMCs personnel. Currently, Pentagon has employed over 5000 trained personnel in Iraq. On the other hand, PMCs industry houses several retired military soldiers from the United States of America Special Forces. This indicates how quick PMC industry is growing and amazingly performs in terms of security matters. However, the industry personnel faces several competition and security-related challenges.

Challenges Faced by the PMCs Industry

Presence of some private military companies in some of the conflict-based countries triggered several questions such as which side of the war should they support. Traditionally, military officers from private companies were required to support the government or militia by the law. This has been found to pose threats on their security. For instance, in Iraq, the private military based personnel were targeted by militia groups based on a belief that they were American special force agents. This led to over 18000 deaths and around 40000 causalities reported in PMCs industry. A recent report indicated that over 25 percent of death cases in Iraq came across the PMC industry personnel in 2011 (Ja?ger & Ku?mmel, 2013).

In addition to the above challenge, the company receives numerous contracts from the American Special Forces and other security agencies. However, the companies are seriously disturbed by the competition from other security agencies that are ready to offer logistic and other services to US military forces across the globe at a cheaper price. Stiff competition comes from British Based PMCs as they are found to employ their own soldiers as the first movers of their services. Such activities are found to promote their duties across the globe regardless of the challenges.

Other challenges associated with the private military industry include ethical matters. The first ethical issue relates to the morality element, which is found to influence the deployment. Some lamentations raised by the society relate to Rwanda genocide where they question why UN Security Council failed to deploy PMCs personnel in 1990s to control the war. They argue that PMCs personnel can be relied on given that most has witnessed previous work performed by them in Iraq and Libya. Deployment of PMCs personnel will cost the organization lower amount compared to a full nation-based military personnel. The second and biggest challenge pertaining to ethical matters is accountability. This arises where they are not observed to trigger conflict. In Libya, PMCs were accused of supplying militia groups ready to boot out Ghaddaffi from power with weapons. Moreover, in Abu Ghraib prison, several private military contractors were found to torture prisoners. In time of jurisdiction, private contractors were not arrested or charged because it was impossible to know how they did it. Usually where there is no accountability, most of security firms will turn out to be violence brewers, and this will destabilize the world.

Regulation of Private-Based Military Industry

Some private military companies, such as Blackwaters, were found to breach the code of ethic and, therefore, go to a different notoriety stage. This disturbs the industry, which became mature by diversifying some of its post-conflict based reconstruction process and other risk management. In the absence of proper regulatory measures, PMCs' activities were found to be confidential in nature and, therefore, did not make them globally recognized by different state governments to be legitimate peacemaking players. Due to this, the companies are keen to amend the Unmercenary Code of Conduct of 200 to allow self regulation. It is argued that self regulation measures may promote professionalism, reliability, and increase the quality of service provision process. This is because they believe that they are pussycats of peace and not dogs of war as initially termed. However, it poses a great ethical dilemma, especially in countries whose governments have been overthrown. PMCs industry stakeholders are blamed of torture and other notorious incidences in various countries that had been initially torn by war, and, therefore, the United Nation Security Council must been keen to be observant in amending the code of conduct and allowing these private military personnel be unregulated.

Future Opportunities for the PMCs Industry

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Private-based military personnel has a bright future given that it will be regulated. There are several hot spots that are found to form key areas for camping and embrace peace. As land-based wars in Afghanistan and Iraq end, American and its allies' military personnel takes an exit. Weak governments left in these countries need military support. Therefore, they are contracting some of the private-based military companies to train their officers, provide weapons, and offer necessary military consultancy services. This indicates that they will continue to provide private military services across the globe. Currently, Somali waters generate a lot of fear among potential and existing investors pursuing business in east Africa. This is instrumental where PMCs can settle and reduce piracy in the region. This can be evidenced by the presence of PMCs personnel patrols of over 40 percent of all vessels in the region of the Indian Ocean and along Somali coast. So far, no PMC guards have been killed or hijacked, and, therefore, they will continue to provide services in the region (Sheehy et. al, 2013). Therefore, ships guarded by private military personnel are enjoying lower insurance services compared to those unguarded.

Lastly, the new spot identified to be future hub for PMCs personnel is Libya. The turmoil in the Middle East region, such as in Syria and Israel, provides new opportunities for these companies. Currently, PMCs are flooding these countries so as to provide private military-based services.

Alternative Courses of Action

There are various alternative actions that can be used by the private-based military companies to solve some of the principal competition and ethical problems. Usually, the alternatives are based on long-term and short-term objectives of the study. Each of the alternative actions has merits and disadvantages, and, therefore, the companies must evaluate them carefully before application. Some of alternative actions are discussed further.

First, some companies, such as Blackwaters, were found to be notorious due to lack of proper regulatory measures. Their military personnel is engaged in fraud and other violent incidences instead of providing peace and other security-related services. For that reason, it is essential for the companies to come up with a regulatory body, the purpose of which would be to control activities of all members. The essence of this will purely promote confidence of these private military agencies among different countries. Moreover, it will ensure that private military companies operate in accordance to law and, therefore, they do not engage in war or act in a partisan manner. Therefore, it is recommendable that one of the main actions to follow is to institute proper regulatory measures of private military companies.

Secondly, there is a need to facilitate proper training of private military personnel to ensure that they have accepted society-based morals. There must be strict governing and punishment measures taken against those who violate human rights. Some incidences of moral misconducts observed were related to Black Water Company, which promoted immunity in Iraq instead of peace. United States Government took an action to punish the company by not renewing the contract in 2009, and, therefore, this came in as lesson to others. This made the company change the name so as to be officially accepted in the market again.

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Third, the companies should embrace accountability where it is necessary for them to ensure honesty in logistics, provision of consultancy services, and other professional duties. The level of accountability and honesty determines the way they will be accepted by governments of different states. Currently, the United States Pentagon governance is keen to integrate the companies in logistics and other transport services meaning that they are accountable for their clients.

Another alternative suggested by the companies and other stakeholders is self regulation. The companies feel that they are growing to maturity, and, therefore, for them to be self regulatory bodies means that they will be more professional and accountable to their clients. However, according to different conflict resolution experts, it is found that self regulation measures will negatively affect peace in war-torn countries. Therefore, it is unacceptable in nature. Though they have been offered different names such as 'dog of wars', they are currently defining themselves as pussycats of peaces based on what they have done in several Middle East countries, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Therefore, alternative actions will facilitate proper understanding of companies’ duties.

Best Alternative Decision and Reasoning

Among different alternatives selected, the presence of proper regulatory measures will help facilitate the presence of all other alternative actions. Regulation of various private military companies’ stakeholders means that any breach of laws will definitely lead to cancellation of the contract, penalty, or even a warning. It is through this strict action measures that companies will ensure they are accountable and objective in provision of various services such as logistics, guarding, and other services. Another advantage of regulation is that it ensures that companies do not scatter in all war torn countries and, therefore, their personnel is safe. They enter only those countries they are allowed to by the United Nation Security Council. Regulation can take the form of self regulation or public regulation. Self regulation can be essential in some occasions, but on extreme security matters, it has been found that this can trigger further war. Some companies may collude with the government or even militia group for weapons supply and hence worsen peace keeping missions.

On the other hand, public-based regulation involves some international bodies, such as the United Nations, and, therefore, this helps ensure that they are carefully watched in all those war-torn countries entered. Private military companies under the IPOA and BAPSC have always advocated for a review of some of the code of conduct acts, for instance that of 2001 so as to allow them be self regulatory bodies. There is a belief among the firms that this may increase their training professionalism conduct and accountability. However, there are several weaknesses, such as death of some other personnel, which must be addressed to avoid future deaths. Regulation can help them achieve it because they will not only go to a country because there is war but be consistent in entry, employment, and delivery of military services.

Implementation of the Decision

In the implementation process of regulatory-based decision, it is essential to amend some of the acts pertaining to un-mercenary code of conduct. Some of the acts were made long time ago when companies' contribution to the war-torn countries had not been recognized. Currently, the Pentagon is using them in logistics. Therefore, any amendment to recognize and award them with contracts will definitely serve well to ensure that they rise further. Moreover, there is a need to train their personnel adequately before being recognized by the UN Security Council.

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This research paper has adequately addressed the questions related to the rise, origin, and challenges of private military companies across the globe. The world today witnesses a spontaneous growth and contribution of companies in some countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and, therefore, it is argued that if proper regulatory measures are undertaken, then the companies may help the UN and other bodies with logistic, peace keeping, and guard service provision. The above alternative action discussed can serve well in promoting their services.

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