As the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan depends in part on building that country's capacity to provide for its own security, the Government Accountability Office evaluates the use of contractor personnel to fill skill and resource gaps in training and equipping the Afghan National Security Forces.
President Obama is pushing for a "civilian surge" in Afghanistan, but John E. Herbst, in charge of staffing a State Department civilian-led reconstruction program that operates there, says congressional inaction and funding challenges are hampering American stabilization efforts.
An investigation by The Nation has found that members of an elite division of Blackwater are running a clandestine program to carry out assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives both inside and outside Pakistan, help run secret US military drone bombing campaigns and gather intelligence.
Doug Brooks, president of the International Peace Operations Association, and Erica Razook, a legal fellow for the Business and Human Rights Program at Amnesty International USA, debate the practical and legal issues surrounding private security contractors in war zones.
Two journalist reports first published in The Independent newspaper in the UK and the Philadelphia Inquirer in the US on the proliferation of mercenary forces in Iraq and elsewhere with a “license to kill”. The Independent’s report says that the immunity enjoyed by civilian security contractors in Iraq is generating a daily series of “legal” murders of Iraqis. The Philadelphia Inquirers report argues that the increasing use of mercenary forces is on the verge of threatening US civil liberties in the name of protecting homeland security.
Speakers: Kenneth Damstrom, Daniel B. Prieto, and Nancy J. Wong Presider: Stephen E. Flynn
Listen to Stephen Flynn, the Council's senior fellow for National Security studies and author of America the Vulnerable, lead a discussion on the role of the private sector in homeland security as part of the 2006 Corporate Conference.
The context in which humanitarians are operating has seen many changes in recent decades, especially with the challenges of complex emergencies, man-made humanitarian disasters and new security threats. One of the more notable—but least understood—developments has been the emergence of hired military services, better known as the 'privatised military industry'.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.