The changing forms and utility of force: The impact of international security privatization on Canada by ProQuest


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									Christopher Spearin

The changing forms
and utility of force
The impact of international security privatization on Canada

The Canadian forces are rightly interested in a new armed actor, whether
employed by Canada or by another allied country, present in its areas of
operations—the international private security company. In Afghanistan
alone, some 28,000 privately employed personnel provide security to a
variety of international clients. Numbers such as these highlight the
substantial growth of the private security industry since its modest start at the
end of the Cold War.1 Consequently, the Canadian forces are keen to know
more about how private security companies operate, how they are managed,
and how they interact with state militaries. Key issues of concern include
accountability and oversight, situational awareness, appropriate rules of

Christopher Spearin is associate professor in the department of defence studies of the Royal
Military College of Canada, Canadian Forces College, Toronto. The views expressed in the
article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the Canadian
Department of National Defence or the government of Canada.
1 For background on the rise of the private security industry, see Deborah Avant, The
Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2005); P.W. Singer, Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized
Military Industry (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003).

                                            | International Journal | Spring 2009 | 481 |
| Christopher Spearin |

engagement, respect for humanitarian norms and human rights obligations,
vetting, and levels of interoperability and training. Information and doctrine
development on these issues are important to ensure that private companies
complement, rather than overly complicate and detract from, Canadian
forces’ operations in the contemporary battle space.2
     This article’s goal is to cast the net wider to consider how the private
security industry may affect the Canadian forces’ position as Canada’s official
organization charged with the responsibility to employ violence when needed
overseas. This is no small issue, given the emphasis the Canadian
government currently places on the forces as an instrument of policy. The
forces have been reorganized into operational commands; the government
has increased levels of funding and made
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