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Long before the latest Blackwater flap, Brookings scholar P.W. Singer has been highlighting the dilemmas and legal loopholes presented by America's increasing reliance on private military contractors in para-military, peacekeeping, and post-war security operations abroad.
Singer sends a new report on this issue today (.pdf), Can't Win With 'Em, Can't Go to War Without 'Em: Private Military Contractors and CounterInsurgency.
Top lines: "Not only is the use of contractors actually undermining [counterinsurgency] efforts," Singer writes, "but the end result is that the military can no longer carry out its core mission of winning the nation's wars."
Worth reading alongside my colleague Bruce Falconer's profile of a PMC lobbyist in Washington. Also check out R.J. Hillhouse's blog, The Spy Who Billed Me, about, you guessed it, the outsourcing of a growing number of U.S. military and intelligence functions, often well beyond the realm of oversight.