Thursday, 15 December 2016 00:00

Private Military Companies

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The period between 1945 and 1990, which began at the end of the World War II, is the "Cold War" period. After the end of the Cold War, the US is the greatest asymmetric power and military-political leader in the New World Order.

The global powers that structured the Islamic geography 100 years ago, in the New World order that started with the end of the cold war, with the Greater Middle East project, this time they want to establish their dominance with the strategy of taking our geography under control, by provoking national-sectarian and congregation polarizations, by dragging them into a chaos environment.

In the Greater Middle East Project, the forces trying to restructure our geography began their asymmetrical attacks on September 11, 2001, in order to carry out a new arrangement in the region that would not pose a threat to Israel.

The United States and its allies first invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of al-Qaeda and destabilized Pakistan. Today, ISIS and Shiite militias are used as tools and they continue their struggle to invade our geography.

The parties to this unnamed war in the Islamic geography are between the Global powers (USA-England-Germany-France-Russia) and regional power Turkey. In this war, the United States and its allies added a new dimension to the war by using “Private Military Companies” along with their regular armies, as well as regional ethnic-sectarian forces to which they are proxies.

Turkey may need to evaluate the security strategy by demonstrating the determination to use this new Instrument-Force in the field of defense as well as “Private Military Companies”.

The understanding that the monopoly of the use of force is in the states has institutionalized the state as a security supplier both domestically and internationally.[1]

Private military companies, especially after the events of 9/11, after the period when the United Nations lost its efficiency and respect for international law was set aside, the changing nature of the war, the outsourcing of military services, the transfer of Iraq and Afghanistan to private security companies, after the US military, constituted the greatest strength of “private military companies”.[2]

According to the research conducted by the organization called “The Center for Public Integrity” covering the period between 2004 and 2006, the tenders of the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan have increased by fifty percent each year. Again, in the same report, it was seen that the total of the tenders in Iraq was seven times that in Afghanistan. While Kellog Brown & Root (KBR) was the company that won the most tenders with 16 billion USD, it was noteworthy that Dyn Corp, which ranks second, won one-ninth of KBR. Blackwater, which has been blamed for the deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians and is widely known, ranked twelfth among private military companies with 485 million USD. [3]

Threats that pose security problems vary according to these factors. Within this framework, the fact that non-state actors and public institutions fulfill the functions previously only under the authority of sovereign states in the name of "public interest" has created a kind of governance understanding. Today, although states continue to be the main actors in ensuring security, non-state actors are increasingly complementing states and new coordination networks between the state and non-state actors are developing. [4]

As seen in the example of the USA, great states also resort to leasing these private military companies as a way to overcome the pressure on their own public opinion. In addition, they can reduce the likelihood of attrition in international politics because they are not politically involved in the conflict. The casualties of the officers in private military companies do not get as much reaction from the national public as the losses in the national armies.[5]

Representatives of the private military sector, whose basic skill is to fight and who act together with combatant elements on the front lines or like combatant elements, is called the Military Company.[6]

Private military companies operate in a wide range from the protection of private property to the management of military bases and ports, from ensuring the security of convoys of humanitarian aid organizations to training in intelligence or logistics.[7]

Companies of which primary ability to fight is Private Military Companies; Military Consultancy Companies of which basic ability is to provide consultancy and training services, and lastly, Military Support Companies of which basic ability is to provide logistics and service support. All these companies forming the private military sector are also called “Private Military Companies” as an inclusive name. [8]

Military companies operating on battlefields and security companies operating outside of battlefields should not be included in the same classification. Because if we do so, the company that provides the security of a shopping mall and the company that provides protection to convoys in Iraq should be evaluated in the same class. [9]

The nature of the services of mercenaries and private military companies is different. Namely, while mercenaries provide services in a foreign army for any price, Military companies rent their services in return for a contract.[10]

Customers who request these services are also diverse: İncluding the African Union, OSCE, European Union, UN and NATO, multinational companies and non-governmental organizations. Private military companies have been used by the United States in Colombia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The main customer of private military companies is the USA. [11]

While the US had 711,000 active soldiers in its army during the 1991 Gulf War, this number dropped to 487,000 during the 2003 Iraq War. This personnel shortage was partially covered by private military companies. As of September 2007, the number of US troops in Southwest Asia was 160,000, while the number of employees working in the US military's tender services in this region was 196,000. [12]

In the 1990s, giant military companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman were formed as a result of the promotion of mergers of defense companies in the United States. In Europe, France's SOGEADE, Spain's SEPI and Germany's Daimler-Chrysler companies merged in 2001 to establish the “European Aeronautic Defense and Space” (EADS) partnership. EADS is Europe's largest arms company after the UK's BAE Systems company. [13]

After the end of the Cold War, many states cut their military budgets and reduced the number of their soldiers. Worldwide, between 1993 and 2003, the number of soldiers fell by about 9 million. This has led many retired soldiers to carry out their professions and expertise in private military companies.[14]

Since the 1990s, the United States has increasingly chosen to provide its military services from private military companies. In the 2006 U.S. budget for the military, 300 billion USD was spent through tenders. That’s why Pentagon is the biggest buyer in the whole world. Indeed, as a result of the escalation of violence in Iraq, private military companies have become active in many areas such as protecting the activities of private sector companies and non-governmental organizations, training and equipping the Iraqi police force. [15]

The most intense use of military companies has ever been in the Iraq War. Although not certain, more than 60 companies have been in Iraq with more than 20,000 employees. The interesting point is that after the USA, the military companies made the most contribution in the ranking of the countries that formed the Coalition Forces in the region during and after the Iraq War. In 2007, the US administration employed about 180,000 private security personnel in Iraq, which is 20 thousand more than the American troops serving there. Another striking example that describes the role of military companies in the Iraq War is the Barracks of Doha located in Kuwait. This area, which is a military barracks, is managed and protected by military companies. [16]

Vinnell Corporation, headquartered in the state of California, USA, was established as a company that provides military equipment military training. In 1975, it got a long-term contract to establish and train Saudi Arabia's guard regiment, equipping the guard regiment with military equipment, including artillery and anti-aircraft. Company officials also provided tactics and consultancy services to the Saudi army in suppressing the uprising of anti-government forces in 1979. During the 1991 Gulf War, the Saudi Brigades trained by the company were involved in the conflict. [17]

The intelligence and communication systems to coordinate the necessary reaction against any attack of the Northern Command, which was created to protect the US homeland, also assigned private military companies. Private military companies continue to make agreements with foreign countries with the permission of the US Department of Defense. The armies of Nigeria, Taiwan and Equatorial Guinea were trained by these companies. [18]

The Bush administration's concept of fighting terrorism has increased the efforts of the military of US to use civilian personnel for training and other covert missions in armies in other countries. For example, the training of the post-Taliban Military Force in Afghanistan currently has also been given to Private Military Companies. Military Private Companies have taken on a number of jobs, from providing security personnel for Karzai in Afghanistan to building concentration camps in Guantanamo. [19]

Private military companies or their employees previously undertook jobs such as providing logistics support to the army, helping in the field of equipment, and transporting food, supplies and fuel. But the roles of private military companies in Iraq have changed after the Iraq War. Private military companies now also undertake more sensitive tasks belonging to the army.[20]

As a result of states, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and multinational companies demanding "force" to protect their strategic interests and provide security services in their international operations, the number of private military companies increased rapidly, and as a result, a private military sector was formed at the global level.[21]


In today's wars, instead of the war of high-intensity armies, it has become a war supported by civilian experts, where technology is used at high level, balanced with local forces, and special military companies are used.

There is no longer a need for large armies to fight on the front lines in wars. The need for high technologies and specialized personnel has created the need for Private Military Companies.

One of the important partners in the field of defense and security, from the clearance of mined areas to logistics services, from intelligence and consultancy services to combat elements, has been private military companies. The defense and security paradigm has also changed in parallel with the changing understanding of war of the 21st century and the new features of the battlefield, which have gained positive/negative effects. Undoubtedly, one of the consequences of these changes has been the existence/necessity of private military companies.

Traditionally, ensuring security was considered one of the basic functions of the state, but in the last quarter of the 20th century, it was understood that this service, which spread over a wide area and gaining importance day by day, could not only be provided by government bodies and officials. In the face of this new situation, it has become widespread to create private military companies and security organizations to assist the services of government officials. Although the emergence and rapid proliferation of private military companies at first glance is met with the concern that state power and sovereignty of the state are eroding, this also creates a new safety net in which the governance, foreign policy pressure and control technologies of the state and private actors are added together.[22]

Turkey has demonstrated its will to act as a subject against the redesign projects developed for the region and has de facto demonstrated that it will not back down from this will despite all the attacks. Determined to confront the attacks it has suffered both in the economic and political sphere, psychologically and sociologically, as well as in the military (terrorism, border security, cyber defense), Turkey has chosen to destroy the danger at its source with its defense strategy across borders with the Operation Euphrates Shield. It is an important option for Turkey to benefit from private military companies in dealing with the Euphrates Shield and security issues of similar nature.

On the other hand, considering the economic structure created by military companies, even economic reasons show the necessity of Turkey's involvement in this field.

December 14, 2016

                                                                                             Çetin ZAMANTIOĞLU




1- Mustafa Aydın, Hans Günter Brauch, Mitat Çelikpala, Ursula Oswald Spring, Necati Polat, “Uluslararası İlişkilerde Çatışmadan Güvenliğe”, İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları 398, 2. Baskı, Bilgi yayınları, İstanbul, June-2015.

2- Sait Yılmaz, “21.Yüzyılda Güvenlik Alanının Yeni Sivil Aktörleri” (Access Date, December 13, 2016).

[1]- Mustafa Aydın, Hans Günter Brauch, Mitat Çelikpala, Ursula Oswald Spring, Necati Polat, “Uluslararası İlişkilerde Çatışmadan Güvenliğe”, İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları 398, 2. Baskı, Bilgi yayınları, İstanbul, June-2015. p. 385-405.

[2]- Mustafa Aydın, “Uluslararası İlişkilerde Çatışmadan Güvenliğe

[3] -op. cit.,

[4] -op. cit.,

[5] -op. cit.,

[6] -op. cit.,

[7] -op. cit.,

[8] -op. cit.,

[9] -op. cit.,

[10] -op. cit.,

[11] -op. cit.,

[12] -op. cit.,

[13] -op. cit.,

[14] -op. cit.,

[15] -op. cit.,

[16] -op. cit.,

[17] -op. cit.,

[18]- Sait Yılmaz, “21.Yüzyılda Güvenlik Alanının Yeni Sivil Aktörleri” (Access Date, December 13, 2016)

[19]- Sait Yılmaz, “21.Yüzyılda Güvenlik Alanının Yeni Sivil Aktörleri”

[20]- op. cit.

[21]-Mustafa Aydın, Hans Günter Brauch, Mitat Çelikpala, Ursula Oswald Spring, Necati Polat, “Uluslararası İlişkilerde Çatışmadan Güvenliğe”, İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları 398, 2. Baskı, Bilgi yayınları, İstanbul, June-2015.

[22]- Sait Yılmaz, “21.Yüzyılda Güvenlik Alanının Yeni Sivil Aktörleri” (Access Date, December 13, 2016)


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