Academic journal article Military Review

AMERICA'S COVERT WARRIORS: Inside the World of Private Military Contractors

Academic journal article Military Review

AMERICA'S COVERT WARRIORS: Inside the World of Private Military Contractors

Article excerpt

AMERICA'S COVERT WARRIORS: Inside the World of Private Military Contractors, Shawn Engbrecht, Potomac Books, Dulles, Virginia, 2010, 256 pages, $29.95.

Shawn Engbrecht's America's Covert Warriors is a comprehensive look at private military contracting with fi rst-person narratives from various contributors, with statistical data and personal opinions that make for an interesting read. As a former U.S. Army soldier, experienced private contractor, and the founder of the Center for Advanced Security Studies, Engbrecht uses his experiences to reinforce many crucial arguments. The author discusses the successful employment of private military contracting fi rms in such roles or activities as conducting personal security detachments, exchanging fire with a fledgling insurgency in Iraq, training law enforcement and military units in Afghanistan, or fi ghting back rebel forces in Africa. Unfortunately, as in most cases dealing with combat, successes are counterbalanced with failures that have impacted negatively on the contemporary operating environment. Such was the case with the 2007 Blackwater team's shooting of civilians in Baghdad. Groups meant to fi ll gaps in military capabilities (whether providing logistical support to units in the fi eld, training a host nation force, or providing security for reconstruction projects) have grown in number and expanded their roles, taking in billions of taxpayer dollars.

Engbrecht incorporates anecdotal narratives with logical opinions to form arguments for private military contractor reform. Engbrecht takes readers through the creation, utilization, and ultimate expansion of the private military contractor industry over the last three decades. He divides the industry into three categories: logistical, advisory, and operational, all of which need more stringent oversight and regulation. …

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