Murphy's Law: March 27, 2004


The continued disorder in Iraq and Afghanistan, and general increase in violence by Islamic radicals, is causing an enormous spurt in demand for professional security personnel willing to work overseas. Companies are increasing security at their foreign operations, and providing more bodyguards for their key personnel. While you can always hire security personnel locally, the Islamic radicals are proving capable of infiltrating local security forces. So large organizations are paying more to bring in skilled foreigners to take care of security. 

Iraq alone has over 10,000 of these foreign security personnel on duty. Worldwide demand is about triple that. In the next year, over a hundred million dollars will be spent, in Iraq alone, on these commercial security forces. The problem is, the recruiters are going after the most experienced troops available, no matter what country they are serving in. If you can speak English (which is the common language of international business) and have at least five years military experience in the appropriate area (military police, special operations and so on), you are recruitable. The standard offer is two to three times what you made as a full time soldier, plus fringe benefits. Even experienced police are being recruited, especially if they have SWAT experience. Smaller nations, like Chile, are finding their ranks being depleted as recruiters lure away some of the best trained and most experienced officers and troops. It's hard to pass laws to stop this "poaching," as that smacks of slavery. 

Because there is a limited pool of highly trained, English speaking soldiers and para-militaries (SWAT), the demand for quality security professionals is making a dent in the existing armies and police forces. While many of those recruited are recently retired, the recruiters have found many men (and some women) willing to quit their current service and go commercial. There is also fear that this large pool of experienced security troops could provide a large enough group that unscrupulous operators could put together traditional mercenary units for less legal enterprises (like propping up dictatorships or overthrowing legitimate governments in small countries.). When the war on terror eventually dies down, in a decade or so, there will be a lot of "commercial soldiers" cut loose. Some of them will be tempted to work for less savory employers. This could be interesting, and, at times, quite nasty.


Article Archive

Murphy's Law: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close