Paramilitary: The Civilian Security Experts
September 29, 2006: For the last three years, Britain has been spending about $7 million a month on "VIP bodyguards" for diplomatic and other senior British government officials in Iraq. About a thousand, mostly British, and mostly former military, men take care of these security tasks. Overall, there are 2,000-3,000 British former military people working security jobs in Iraq. About five percent of them come from the elite SAS commandos. These fellows can earn as much as $300,000 a year, or more, if they have gained several years of experience in this work. Some of the former military security people have, and if they have a track record of not losing any of the people they are guarding, or many of their own staff, the money just keeps rolling in.
Britain recently gave its SAS commandos a 50 percent raise, in part to discourage leaving the elite force for a higher paying private security job. Iraq and Afghanistan are not the only two places where big money can be made by former military men from elite units. Many parts of the world are dangerous for Westerners to work in. In addition to bandits, there are kidnappers and terrorists. What the private security firms provide, be it in Iraq, South Africa or Colombia, are smart guys, who know how to handle weapons. Most of what these security specialists do is collect intelligence, and select the safest places for their clients to live, and the safest routes for them to travel to where they have to be. Many of these security pros can boast of never having lost a client in a decade or more of service. That kind of reputation is what governments and businesses are paying the big bucks for.
The civilian security people often work with local military and police. In Iraq, this has provided many benefits for Iraqi and Coalition forces, as the private security firms have come up with a number of new tactics, techniques, and equipment, that has made life safer, or at least made life harder for the gangsters and terrorists.