Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from MA students of Defence Technology, The Royal Military College of Science, Cranfield University


  This paper was written by students on No 6 Defence Technology Course (MA) at the Royal Military College of Science. It has not been altered or corrected as a result of assessment and it may contain errors and omissions. The views expressed in it, together with any recommendations, are those of the authors and not of the Royal Military College of Science or Cranfield University or of individual members of the staffs of those institutions. This document is printed on behalf of the authors by the College, but has no official standing as an MOD, College or Cranfield University document.


  Private Military Companies are a recent incarnation, filling the void in the security market created by regional and intrastate conflict that has followed the end of the Cold War. PMCs span a spectrum of roles from unarmed security and mine clearance to combat.

  In order to provide a full response to the Green Paper, all the major stakeholders have been studied and consulted. PMCs largely approve of regulation, seeing it as achieving official endorsement and shaking off the mantle of mercenarism. Although they desire regulation, many are less happy about having to gain governmental approval for all their contracts, seeing this as unnecessary, slow, breaching client confidentiality and thus making them uncompetitive. The UN would be the ideal seat for legislation on PMCs, however it is clear that although there is support for single state legislation on this issue, the UN is not in a position to consider a unified response in the next five years. NGOs work with PMCs around the globe and although they would like to see regulation, they are sceptical of governmental agendas. NGOs would like to see PMCs sign an unambiguous Code of Conduct, and for extra-territorial legislation to apply to PMCs. Lastly Other Government Departments wish to see greater controls over PMCs, but they also accept their utility and global nature.

  Integrating these views into one option for regulation, this paper recommends firstly that all PMCs must register with the government and sign a clear commitment to uphold human rights. PMCs must check their personnel and be subject to inspection by the regulatory authority. All foreign contracts must be notified to this body, but approval will only be necessary for contracts offering a lethal capability. This should provide a responsive, cost-effective control mechanism for the Government.


CHDCentre for Humanitarian Dialogue
DATDefence Advisory Team
DESODefence Export Services Organization
DFIDDepartment For International Development
DSLDefence Systems Limited
DTIDepartment of Trade and Industry
ECPSExecutive Committee on Peace and Security
EISASExecutive Committee on Peace and Security Information and Strategic Analysis Secretariat
EOExecutive Outcomes
ECHOEuropean Commission Humanitarian Aid Office
ECOWASEconomic Community of West African States
ECOMOGEconomic Community of West African States Monitoring Group
EUEuropean Union
FCOForeign and Commonwealth Office
FMAAForeign Military Assistance Act
ICCInternational Criminal Court
ICRCInternational Commission for the Red Cross
IMATTInternational Military Advisory Training Team
IPAInternational Peace Academy
IPOInternational Peace Organization
IPTIntegrated Project Team
IRCInternational Rescue Committee
ITARInternational Traffic and Arms Regulation
MODMinistry of Defence
MPRIMilitary Professional Resources Incorporated
MSMember State
MSFMedecins Sans Frontieres
NGONon-Governmental Organization
ODTCOffice of Defence Trade Control
OECDOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development
OPEVALOperational Evaluation
PBSPhillip Brown Security
PFIPrivate Finance Initiative
PMCPrivate Military Company
PSCPrivate Security Company
REDRRegistered Engineers for Disaster Relief
SCIStrategic Consulting International
SFSpecial Forces
SOPStandard Operating Procedures
UNDPKOUnited Nations Department for Peacekeeping Operations
UNGAUnited Nations General Assembly
UNGCIUnited Nations Guard Contingent in Iraq
UNHCRUnited Nations High Commission for Refugees
UNITAUniao Nacional para a Independicia Total de Angola
UNMOUnited Nations Military Observer
UNOCHAUnited Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
UNSASUnited Nations Standby Arrangement System
UNSCUnited Nations Security Council
UNSECOORDUnited Nations Security Coordination

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Prepared 1 August 2002