Defining Mercenaries and Militias
Question 1: How do we define what a Mercenary is?
Dictionary.com defines a Mercenary as hired to serve a foreign army guerilla group etc.
Question 2 How do we define what a Mercenary is in a modern Global Context?
The Geneva Convention 1977 additional protocol to the 1949 convention, defines a mercenary in Article 47 section 2 as (a) is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;(b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities; (c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party; (d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict; (e) is not a
member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and (f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces. The UN 72 plenary General Assembly of 1989 expands the definition of mercenary to included. (i) Overthrowing a Government or otherwise undermining the constitutional order of a State; or (ii) Undermining the territorial integrity of a State.
Despite these very broad definitions Mercenary work which is a profession as old as warfare itself has evolved and adapted to fit the times we live in. It should be noted that international convention only defines a mercenary as some one who is proactively engaged in combat. It says nothing of the 1001 other services that need to be provided in a combat zone. Including communications, logistics, navigation, Intelligence gathering/ analysis, and specialization (e.g. pilots, mechanics etc). To that end; enter the Private Military Firm or security contractor (Here after PMF or SC). Who define themselves as “legally established international firms offering services that involve the potential to exercise force in a systematic way and by military or paramilitary means, as well as the enhancement, the transfer, the facilitation, the deterrence, or the defusing of this potential, or the knowledge required to implement it, to clients.” To that end and despite fitting at times the textbook definition of mercenaries PMF’s and SC are extremely widespread and widely utilized. Often in conjunction with state military forces or state approved PMF trained militia’s. Despite this broad range of services provided by PMF’s and SC’s. For definition purposes we will lump mercenaries into three broad categories based on the service they provide.
Is the traditional mercenary an individual or group of individuals recruited by a foreign state to serve in a direct combat role.
Category Two is the security contractor, an individual, company, or group, which provides a limited scope of military and security services under contract to a state corporation or individual. These services can range from logistics, to intelligence to security training, and security personal.
Category Three is the Private Military Company/Private Military Firm a company or group of individuals capable of providing a full package service; logistics, Intel, security, training, and direct combat role. It should be noted that PMC’s do not have to be a thousand strong force of foreigners rather a small group of highly trained individuals capable of training a good size local force then effectively utilizing advanced force multipliers to enhance state forces effectiveness.
Other Useful sources for information regarding mercenaries.
Question: How do we define Militia in a modern global context?
Militia is a very broad term, it can describe anything between a dozen individuals armed with hunting rifles, to a force of millions equipped as well as a professional army. During my research I was unable to find a break down of the groups of militias based on their organization and numbers. There is a wide range off research defining militias motivations, but for the purposes of this post those are largely
Question: Then how do we break down Militias typology?
Based on my own research I have classified militias into four categories based on organization, training equipment, and ability to engage in prolong conventional conflict. At the start of the spectrum is the Community Militia (CM) , this is an informal militia organized by citizens for a variety of reasons ranging from self-defense to vigilante law enforcement. These militias are often small maxing out at maybe 100 members, ill equipped and ill trained if at all. These militias are essentially weekend warriors their purpose is narrow and their commitment to soldering only part time http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/topic,463af2212,469f2db72,5050583a2,0,,,.html\. Next up the ladder is the Private Militia (PrM), while also a small force these militias are often well equipped and trained. Theses militias are often the private security forces of criminal organizations or wealthy individuals http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/11/cartel-weapons/ . Next is the Political Militia (PoM) a large force rallied around a specific cause. While these forces can be less well equipped than private forces they are often larger in number and much better equipped than community militias http://www.insightcrime.org/groups-colombia/farc/
. Finally there is the State Sponsored Militia (SM) often the most well equipped and trained as it can draw on the resources of the state and often acts as a adjunct to the states professional armed forces or security services http://www.nationalguard.com/. It should be noted that no militia will fit these categories perfectly; most militias are hybrid models which combined a number of traits from each category. For example Hezbollah can be characterized as a private militia, a political militia and a state militia all at once. It is controlled by a single powerful group of individuals with a broader political goal and as Hezbollah is now part of the State of Lebanon it has access to state resources; though it should be noted Hezbollah is far better equipped than the state forces. FARC can also be classified as a CM a PoM and a PrM all at once as its largely based out of a limited geographic area exposes a set ideology, but often subcontracts to Narco traffickers and allegedly Colombian left wing politicos.
Other Useful sources regarding Militia’s