Department of Defense's Use of Private Security Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Background, Analysis, and Options for Congress [September 29, 2009] [open pdf - 226KB]
"This report examines current private security contractor trends in Iraq and Afghanistan, steps DOD has taken to improve oversight and management, and the extent to which DOD has incorporated the role of security contractors into its doctrine and strategy. It also reviews steps Congress has taken to exercise oversight over the use of PSCs [Private Security Contractors ] and includes options for Congress." More Specifically, "while DOD has previously contracted for security in Bosnia and elsewhere, it appears that in Iraq and Afghanistan DOD is for the first time relying so heavily on armed contractors to provide security during combat or stability operations. [...] Many analysts and government officials believe that DOD would be unable to execute its mission without PSCs. Nonetheless, the use of armed contractors has raised a number of issues for Congress, including concerns over transparency and accountability. Much of the attention given to PSCs by Congress and the media is a result of numerous high-profile incidents where security contractors were accused of shooting civilians, using excessive force, being insensitive to local customs or beliefs, or otherwise behaving inappropriately. These actions may have undermined U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. [...]. These steps include tracking contracting data, coordinating the movements of PSCs throughout the battle space, issuing new policy on managing PSCs, and updating DOD doctrine to incorporate the role of contractors. However, these efforts are still in progress and could take three years or more to effectively implement."
CRS Report for Congress, R40835