October 31, 2020

Between reality and legend: The work of the Private Military Contractors

Between reality and legend: The work of the Private Military Contractor

Speaking about, “private security contractor” or “private military contractor” almost everyone thinks it is about mercenaries.

We must dispel the myths and negative connotations associated with the private security sector.

Contrary to popular belief, they are not mercenaries. The definition of mercenary is an individual who works only to make money. He or she participates in an armed conflict or seeks money in the armed forces of another country.

They have different legal status and job responsibilities. Usually, the people who choose this career path are veterans or former soldiers of elite American troops. They are not necessarily driven by personal interests.

Some people just enjoy the excitement of this job, or want to serve greater interests and defend their country. These professionals are contracted by private military and security companies.

The US government relies heavily on the security of private defense contractors. These civilians usually have a military background and are willing to travel around the world.

Even though both mercenaries and PMCs work for money, the latter are recruited and hired by well-known organizations. In contrast, mercenaries will work for people with the highest salaries and no relationship with a particular state or company.

Aspiring military contractors should know what will happen before starting this profession. Today, private military and security services companies employ skilled professionals for various tasks other than combat operations and security services. Consulting roles, intelligence gathering, logistics and maintenance, technical services, escort services and security plans are just a few examples. As a private defense contractor, you will wear multiple hats and shoulder many responsibilities.

The industry is strictly regulated, so any measures you take will have consequences.

Depending on your skills, experience and preferences, you can work for the United Nations, government, humanitarian agencies, international organizations or multinational companies.

Myths and Legends: The tactical courses to become a PMC


Another important myth to dispel is the PMC Training business which orbits around the legend of this professional figure.

  • No private company will ever be able to provide the experience necessary for this delicate job over a few weeks.
  • No legit private company would ever hire a civilian with a background of some days of tactical course and entrust him with delicate assignments.
  • No team of experienced and professional ex-military personnel would entrust their lives to the professionalism of a civilian who attempted a tactical course and turned himself into a “professional security operator”.

Unfortunately, there are many speculators who orbit around false myths and promises. Not even considering the waste of money, the real problem is that such attitudes feed the possibility that the unwary subjects, plagiarized by these phantom courses able to transform a subject from “bartender” to “Rambo” in less than 15 days, commit serious evaluation errors.

A serious evaluation error, among the many plausible ones, could be for example to accept assignments of “doubtful origin”, which often can hide a scam or a real danger.

The unwary sheep is the ideal meal for any wolf.

In the private security sector there are multiple activities, intended for multiple backgrounds and professional skills. Being PMC is not a game or a job suitable for everyone. Being a PMC is intended for a small circle of people, who through enormous sacrifices and risks have acquired the right qualities to be able to carry out this highly professional job.

If you cannot even manage yourself, it is impossible to provide security for anyone. Let us always keep this basic concept in mind. Everyone likes myths and legends but they must stay in the dreamland.

The reality is completely different and above all in this sector it does not admit mistakes or ingenuity.


Adriano Margarone

for P.S.W.

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