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The Rise of the Private-Sector Military

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In era of shrinking armed forces, America turns to private firms to carry out foreign military aid.

[1]Washington--faced with more overseas commitments and fewer resources, the US is increasingly relying on private military companies to do some of its most difficult international jobs.

[2] These aren't the mercenaries who parachute into hot spots, guns blazing, for cold cash. But they're controversial nonetheless.

[3] Over the past 10 years, private military companies, or PMCs, have quietly taken a central role in the exporting of security, strategy, and training for foreign militaries.

[4] In the process, PMCs are raising questions about the privatization of foreign policy, and whether a profit-seeking company can be accountable with limited government oversight. Oftentimes the companies are training armies in turbulent areas. And, once granted an export license, they are minimally supervised.

[5] "The worry tends to have less to do with the people involved than it has to do with the policy in place," says Deborah Avant, a George Washington University expert who is writing a book on PMCs. "It's a tool for foreign policy in a less public way--and that is not a good thing in the long term."

 

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