Increased number of contractors – heirs to the Blackwater mercenaries
The Obama administration is hiring military contractors at a rate that would make Bush blush.
Both Afghnaistan and Iraq wars have been fought with the help of private military and intelligence contractors. But despite the troubles of Blackwater in particular – charges of corruption and killing of civilians—and continuing controversy over military outsourcing in general, private sector armies are as involved as ever.
Without much notice or debate, the Obama administration has greatly expanded the outsourcing of key parts of the US-led counterinsurgency wars in the Middle East and Africa, and as a result, for its secretive air war and special operations missions around the world, the U.S. has become increasingly reliant on a new breed of specialized companies that are virtually unknown to the American public, yet carry out vital U.S. missions abroad.
Companies such as Blackbird Technologies, Glevum Associates, K2 Solutions, and others have won hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military and intelligence contracts in recent years.
Some observers fear that the widespread use of contractors for U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Horn of Africa could deepen the secrecy surrounding the American presence in those regions, making it harder for Congress to provide proper oversight.
Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander of conventional and special forces in the war zones, is using contractors because “he wants an organization that reports directly to him,” said a former top aide to the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, the umbrella organization for all Special Forces.
[Excerpts from The Daily Beast]