"They have come from all corners of the world. Former Navy Seal commandos from North Carolina. Gurkas from Nepal. Soldiers from South Africa's old apartheid government. They have come by the thousands, drawn to the dozens of private security companies that have set up shop in Baghdad. The most prized were plucked from the world's elite special forces units. Others may have been recruited from the local SWAT team.
But they are there, racing about Iraq in armored cars, many outfitted with the latest in high-end combat weapons. Some security companies have formed their own "Quick Reaction Forces," and their own intelligence units that produce daily intelligence briefs with grid maps of "hot zones." One company has its own helicopters, and several have even forged diplomatic alliances with local clans.
Far more than in any other conflict in United States history, the Pentagon is relying on private security companies to perform crucial jobs once entrusted to the military...
...some military leaders are openly grumbling that the lure of $500 to $1,500 a day is siphoning away some of their most experienced Special Operations people at the very time their services are most in demand.
...Mr. Rumsfeld has praised the work of security companies.... the government recently advertised for a big new contract — up to $100 million to guard the Green Zone in Baghdad.
"The current and projected threat and recent history of attacks directed against coalition forces, and thinly stretched military force, requires a commercial security force that is dedicated to provide Force Protection security," the solicitation states.... "