Private military and security companies and the "civilianization of war"
Protecting civilians during violent conflict : theoretical and practical issues for the 21st century
Farnham ; Burlington : Ashgate, 2012
Andrew Alexandra's chapter begins from the observation that Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) have come to play an increasingly important role in the military activities of states, especially of the United States. The functions of PMSCs cover the range of combat operations, training programs and logistical support, but while in the latter two roles they might formally be considered non-combatants (given their separation from the military chain of command) their activities in recent conflicts have created problems for the viability of the distinction between combatants and non-combatants. Alexandra explores the issues surrounding this "civilianization" of warfare, focusing on the congruence (or otherwise) of interests between PMSCs and the states that employ them, a relationship in which the interests of the states are sometimes put at risk. Alexandra urges that, given the unlikelihood of the role of PMSCs being curtailed, their position in conflict zones should be regularized by falling under the military chain of command, and becoming unequivocally lawful combatants.