Recent scandals in Iraq and elsewhere have shone unaccustomed light on an explosive trend: the growth of private military contractors. Such firms allow governments to accomplish public ends through private means and without much oversight. This lack of scrutiny may be expedient, but it is not necessarily good for democracy. Privatization can benefit everyone, but only if done in the right way.
P. W. Singer is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Project on U.S. Policy Towards the Islamic World at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry and Children at War.