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Defense Contractors and Private Military Contractors

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Defense Contractors and Private Military Contractors

Post  Roi on Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:15 am

What is a defense contractor?

A defense contractor (or security contractor) is a business organization or individual that provides products or services to a military or intelligence department of a government.

Products = military or civilian aircraft, ships, vehicles, weaponry, and electronic systems.

Services = logistics, technical support and training, communications support, and in some cases team-based engineering in cooperation with the government.

Security contractors do not generally provide direct support of military operations. Under 1949 Geneva Conventions military contractors engaged in direct support of military operations may be legitimate targets of military attacks compared to a private military contractor.

Size?

Defense contracting has expanded dramatically over the last decade, particularly in the United States, where in the last fiscal year the Department of Defense spent nearly $316 billion on contracts. Contractors have also assumed a much larger on-the-ground presence during recent American conflicts: during the 1991 Gulf War the ratio of uniformed military to contractors was about 50 to 1, while during the first four years of the Iraq War the U.S. hired over 190,000 contractors, surpassing the total American military presence even during the 2007 Iraq surge and 23 times greater than other allied military personnel numbers. In Afghanistan, the presence of almost 100,000 contractors has resulted in a near 1 to 1 ratio with military personnel.

The biggest (top 4) include Lockheed Martin (US), BAE Systems (UK), Boeing (US), General Dynamics (US). The biggest EU Defense Contractor is EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company) which is number 7.

What about Private Military Contractors/Companies (PMCs)?

- provide armed security services and are commonly known as mercenaries, though modern-day PMCs euphemistically prefer to refer to their staff as security contractors or private military contractors.

Private military companies refer to their business generally as the private military industry or The Circuit, in an attempt to avoid the stigma often associated with mercenaries. While the hiring of mercenaries is a common practice in the history of armed conflict, it is prohibited in the modern age by the United Nations Mercenary Convention, which is why PMC's make a specific differentiation between their commercial activities and the connotations surrounding the word “mercenary”.

services and expertise offered by PMCs = similar to those of governmental military or police forces, most often on a smaller scale. While PMCs often provide services to train or supplement official armed forces in service of governments, they can also be employed by private companies to provide bodyguards for key staff or protection of company premises, especially in hostile territories. However, contractors who use offensive force in a war zone could be considered unlawful combatants, in reference to a concept outlined in the Geneva Conventions and explicitly specified by the US Military Commissions Act.

In geographic terms, it operates in over 50 different countries. It’s operated in every single continent but Antarctica. In the 1990s there used to be 50 military personnel for every 1 contractor, now the ratio is 10 to 1.

contractors have a number of duties depending on who they are hired by. In developing countries that have natural resources, such as oil refineries in Iraq, they are hired to guard the area. They are also hired to guard companies that contract services and reconstruction efforts such as General Electric. Apart from securing companies, they also secure officials and government affiliates.

Private military companies carry out many different missions and jobs such as supplying bodyguards to the Afghan president Hamid Karzai and piloting reconnaissance airplanes and helicopters as a part of Plan Colombia. They are also licensed by the United States Department of State, they are contracting with national governments, training soldiers and reorganizing militaries in Nigeria, Bulgaria, Taiwan, and Equatorial Guinea.

The PMC industry is now worth over $100 billion a year.

According to a 2008 study by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, private contractors make up 29% of the workforce in the United States Intelligence Community and cost the equivalent of 49% of their personnel budgets.

PMC Activities in Iraq:

Employees of private military company CACI and Titan Corp. were involved in the Iraq Abu Ghraib prison scandal in 2003, and 2004. The U.S. Army "found that contractors were involved in 36 percent of the [Abu Ghraib] proven incidents and identified 6 employees as individually culpable", although none have faced prosecution unlike US military personnel.[23]

On March 31, 2004, four American private contractors belonging to the company Blackwater USA (now known as Academi after changing name to Xe Services from Blackwater USA) were killed by insurgents in Fallujah as they drove through the town. They were dragged from their car in one of the most violent attacks on U.S. contractors in the conflict. Following the attack, an angry mob mutilated and burned the bodies, dragging them through the streets before they were hung on a bridge. (See also: 31 March 2004 Fallujah ambush, Operation Vigilant Resolve)

On March 28, 2005, 16 American contractors and three Iraqi aides from Zapata Engineering, under contract to the US Army Corps of Engineers to manage an ammunition storage depot, were detained following two incidents in which they allegedly fired upon U.S. Marine checkpoint. While later released, the contractors have levied complaints of mistreatment against the Marines who detained them.

On June 5, 2005, Colonel Theodore S. Westhusing committed suicide, after writing a report exonerating US Investigations Services of allegations of fraud, waste and abuse he received in an anonymous letter in May.

On October 27, 2005, a "trophy" video, complete with post-production Elvis Presley music, appearing to show private military contractors in Baghdad shooting Iraqi civilians sparked two investigations after it was posted on the Internet.[24][25][26] The video has been linked unofficially to Aegis Defence Services. According to the posters, the man who is seen shooting vehicles on this video in Iraq was a South African employee of Aegis Victory team named Danny Heydenreycher.

He served in the British military for six years. After the incident the regional director for Victory ROC tried to fire Heydenreycher, but the team threatened to resign if he did. As of December 2005, Aegis is conducting a formal inquiry into the issue, although some concerns on its impartiality have been raised.

On September 17, 2007, the Iraqi government announced that it was revoking the license of the American security firm Blackwater USA over the firm's involvement in the deaths of eight civilians in a firefight that followed a car bomb explosion near a State Department motorcade. Blackwater is currently one of the most high-profile firms operating in Iraq, with around 1,000 employees as well as a fleet of helicopters in the country. Whether the group may be legally prosecuted is still a matter of debate.


Legal position
Two days before he left Iraq, L. Paul Bremer signed "Order 17"[28] giving all Americans associated with the CPA and the American government immunity from Iraqi law.[29] A July 2007 report from the American Congressional Research Service indicates that the Iraqi government still had no authority over private security firms contracted by the U.S. government.[30]
The new status-of-forces agreement makes it clear that Contractors are under the jurisdiction of Iraqi law.

Roi

Posts : 116
Join date : 2012-11-19

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