Mercenary Companies - An Inside Look
Mercenaries have a long storied history and they strike fear into the hearts of
their enemies whenever they go on a mission. From the Greeks, Romans, feudal lords, Alexander the Great, George
Washington and Napoleon, paid mercenaries have fought other units and were so effective that they became a fearsome
force. Nowadays, mercenary companies have sprouted and military units secretly are in contact with
these companies and use them as well for covert operations. To avoid heavy losses in the field, mercenaries are
increasingly replacing regular units and they are the ones who do battle. Aside from being combatants, mercenaries
also work as security personnel, gather intelligence, manage weapons, transport military equipment, render
technical expertise, train soldiers and advise them and other functions.
Their numbers have increased steadily that a congressional inquiry done in 2011
showed that mercenaries under the guise of being contractor personnel numbered 155,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is far more than uniformed personnel who numbered at 145,000. There is even a report that 260,000 of these
mercenaries are all over the world. Like their predecessors who were called dogs of war or soldiers of fortune,
mercenary companies continue to thrive and are deadlier now due to their arsenal of deadly weapons. Furthermore,
the money used for these covert units are staggering and some reports indicate three hundred billion dollars are
spent to finance these groups.
More incredibly, these groups were able to operate because of fraud, waste amount,
abuse, or often the recipient of bloated budgets. The figures are just the tip of the iceberg and it is possible
that more than sixty billion dollars made their way into these mercenary companies. Slowly but surely, the
number of troops have started dwindling. However, the expenses for mercenaries steadily increased as well as
bloating the defense budget. In the past, one hundred thirty four billion dollars found their way to the regular
Since then, the expenses given to regular units have grown to two hundred seventy
billion dollars and it is possible that private military companies get the lion’s share of the budget. At present,
mercenaries deployed by private military companies are now the second largest contingent next to regular American
soldiers. Additionally, these mercenary companies send their troops to different war-torn countries like the
Balkans, Sierra Leone, Papua New Guinea and Angola. During a ten-year span, these soldiers of fortune fought eighty
battles, which is far more than the fifteen conflicts that they were involved in from 1950 to 1989. The enormous
success of these private army companies is a boon to the military and the superior military training that their
soldiers get makes them a magnet for bidders who want their services.
Recently, in lieu of American soldiers, five thousand mercenaries went to Iraq
with the mission to protect American interests there. At the end of the day, mercenary companies are very
valuable to many countries who want to lessen military casualties. Lastly, these private military companies also
play a crucial role in protecting military convoys because they are able to deter attacks from the side of the