Last Friday’s Evening Standard had an interesting survey of Britain’s private military industry, whose representative body, the BAPSC, is now apparently up and running. It looks as if the sector will continung expanding, even after the ‘Baghdad bubble’ has burst.
There are those who feel it is morally wrong for a nation to wage war then outsource manning the peace to men who are just in it for the money. It may be, as Iraq wobbles into civil war, that this particular gold rush is coming to an end.
As one security firm warlord said: ‘Things are getting a bit cheeky out there. If people think it’s too dangerous to be there, we have to go to.’
That doesn’t mean security companies will lose out. Many are diversifying, like Olive, into training camps, or marine protection or due diligence.
‘It’s the major growth area of the next 30 years,’ said an industry expert who didn’t want to be named. ‘With globalisation, you can’t just drill for oil in Alaska; you’ve got to be in the Malacca Straits and Kazakhstan, too, and you need security,’ he said, giving a vision of private armies guarding topsecret oil wells. ‘There are hard-eyed men making millions who never dreamed of that kind of money.’ (Evening Standard, via Weapons Trade Observer)
The interesting question is will PMC revert to the pre-Iraq modus operandi of companies like Executive Outcomes and Sandline, carrying out offensive operations to secure natural resources for private backers.