The urgent truth about
the privatization of America’s national security that exposes where this
industry came from, how it operates, where it’s heading—and why we should be
Thirty years ago there
were no private military and security companies (PMSCs); there were only
mercenaries. Now the PMSCs are a bona fide industry, an indispensable part of
American foreign and military policy. PMSCs assist US forces in combat
operations and replace them after the military withdraws from combat zones;
they guard our embassies; they play key roles in US counterterrorism
strategies; and Homeland Security depends on them. Their services include
maritime security, police training, drone operations, cyber security, and
intelligence analysis (as Edward Snowden has famously revealed). Even the
United Nations employs them.
When did this happen? The turning point came when the United
States found itself in a prolonged war with Iraq, but without adequate forces.
So the Bush Administration turned to the PMSCs to fill the gap. Private
contractors and subcontractors eventually exceeded the traditional troops. The
industry has never scaled back.
Ann Hagedorn profiles the members of Congress who recognize
the dangers of dependence on PMSCs, but have been unable to limit them or even
determine their true scope. She takes us to the exclusive club in London where
the PMSCs were created, and she reveals the key figure in the evolution of the
industry. She introduces us to a US Army general who studies new developments,
such as PMSCs’ drone operations, and worries about PMSCs potentially fighting
American troops. The Invisible Soldiers
will inspire a national dialogue about a little-known international industry on
which our security rests. Download and start listening now!