Saturday, February 9, 2013

Defining Mercenaries and Militias


Defining Mercenaries and Militias

Defining Mercenary
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. 
Category One 
Is the traditional mercenary an individual or group of individuals recruited by a foreign state to serve in a direct combat role. 
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/08/former-qaddafi-mercenaries-describe-fighting-in-libyan-war/244356/
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.
http://www.aegisworld.us/security-operations 
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. 
http://www.iss.co.za/pubs/books/PeaceProfitPlunder/Chap5.pdf
 
Other Useful sources for information regarding mercenaries.
http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA473255
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Defining Militia
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
 irrelevant. 
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







14 comments:

  1. In terms of a state sponsored mercenary or state sponsored militia, if these individuals or groups commit a crime or act that was against the agenda of the government they represent, who is held responsible? For example, is the United States responsible if its paid security contractor goes against his mission and breaks the law of another state?

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    1. Short answer whoever sponsors them. Enforcement of the sponsors agenda varies but usually there is no mechanism to enforce discipline other than sanction, i.e loss of contract or loss of funding. Usually PMC's and Militias have there own internal discipline enforcement much like a regular army. So if a US contractor breaks the law of another nation usually he has legal immunity as part of his contract. However if he embarrasses the company and the sponsor he's fired. Going against mission on a company level will lead to contract termination.

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  2. Where do Category 3 mercenaries acquire their equipment? Many force multipliers, like Executive Outcome's famed Mi-24, are very expensive to acquire and maintain, and it would seem more of a financial liability than an asset to a for-profit organization. You mentioned that they borrowed some equipment from Angola; is that the norm?

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    1. Usually the state that hires them provides the hardware, such as Mi-24 which was usually bought during the cold war and then allowed to rust as nobody knows how use it since the KGB advisors left. In step PMC's they say okay we know how to fly it and more importantly maintain it so you lease it to us to use and well get it back in working order for you. It should be noted that force multipliers include GPS, Sat phones, and heavy mortars. Knowing how to correctly work all this equipment is a force multiplier in itself.

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  3. I know we briefly discussed this in our small group in class on Friday, but I just wanted to continue the discussion here. I came across an article on foreignpolicy.com (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/02/11/cyber_gang_warfare) that spoke about the rise of cyber warfare. The gangs in the group have a few aspects of each of the definitions you've placed forth. I was wondering into which type of militia you would place these people and why.

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    1. Usually hackers if there private citizens fall into the category of community militia because they lack formal training, military hardware, and a clear political agenda. Instead its a small "community" of people working towards a goal they define as important with in there community. It should be noted I'm not including state sponsored hacker units in this they can be categorized as State military units thus outside theses permitters.

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  4. Could you clarify the distinction between a "Category Two" mercenary and a "Category Three" mercenary? My understanding is that the United States government would not contract with a "Category Three" group, but I would be interested to see if you could identify an example of a "Category Three" group involved in an American conflict.

    Second, how do these "Category Three" groups incorporate legally in order to make profits as a legitimate enterprise? I would assume that such privately-owned and operated special forces organizations would be outlawed in Western states. How do these enterprises then circumvent restrictions in order to continue providing their services?

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    1. Good question first of all Category 2 and 3 is a definition based on deployed capabilities not potential capabilities. Most Iraq contractors fall under category 2 because they perform a narrow function i.e. logistics, security, or technical. However several companies i.e. Blackwater are capable of performing all these functions at once and they do in Iraq just not in conjunction with each other. As for legal sanctions check out that break down of executive outcomes I posted but short answer there not only legal but frequently employed. Not in direct intervention maybe but certainly in protection of ay the US ambassador to Iraq. Blackwater handled his whole detail complete with company owned armored cars helicopters and special forces trained troopers.

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  5. Is there any data to show the ratio of mercenaries to conventional forces in the conflicts the US have been involved in in recent years? Is the use of mercenaries growing?

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    1. Short answer yes the US Armies own internal audit shows that up to 1 out of 10 people employed in some capacity by the army are Contractors. There was a big push toward this during the Bush era, because of Chennys ties to Haliburton. But the trend has been increasing both before and since largely as a cost cutting measure. Shirking both political and finical blame.

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    2. Jeff, how far back do those internal audits go? If it's 1 in 10 now, what was it in 2000; 1990; 1980; and so on?

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    3. CRS has several reports published over the last couple of years that look at the growth of Contractors over the course of the last decade additionally the NY Times published this article showing data going back to WWI http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/02/world/asia/02contractors.html?_r=0

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  6. We can clearly see that militia and mercenaries are changing, as time goes by. Today , hackers and different cyber groups are threat to both human and global security, as most people do not actually see how we can be endangered and attacked through internet. Can different hackers and cyber groups be put into militia? And was there any case of good response for the attacks that these groups had performed in the recent past?

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    1. Short Answer Yes the common element of militias is there adaptability to different environments we can then examine cyber security and hackers in that context. More over several states i.e. China have military cyber units we can view as state militas.

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