Tech is a booming business to be in-visit the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, and you will see dweeby 25-year old’s driving Tesla’s while simultaneously living in a 800 square foot studio for $2200 a month-utilities not included. The area is smothered by them, and the bubble seems to keep growing with no end in sight. The opportunity to make a lot of money with not a lot of experience is tempting to many-that is why going to Nob Hill in SF you will see young men in Facebook hats, jeans, and white running shoes drinking absurdly priced cocktails and bragging about how their tech start up is revolutionizing this, changing that, and is truly different than the seemingly infinite amount of others.
Now, the comparison between the tech industry and Private Military Contractors may seem odd, but there is more in common than most would think at a passing glance.
PMC’s have continued to be used and grow in popularity across the world. What were called mercenaries in the middle ages are now official and effective companies used by nations for a variety of reasons: Training, advice, support, security, direct military capabilities and providers of force-the list goes on. There are growing concerns (old and new) and tensions between PMC’s, the state, and civilians of the nations they operate in and for, but that has not slowed down their growth. While the ratio was 1:50 of contractor to military personnel in the Gulf War, that gap closed quickly for Afghanistan, featuring a ratio closer to 1:10. Taking a closer look into the startup of a PMC shows the similarities they share with tech startups, and businesses in general:
1) Conducting research for the country you wish to operate in. Knowing the laws, regulations, and competition is crucial to get the company on strong legs before proceeding to the next steps.
2) Having the initial founders have the appropriate and relevant experience and certifications. Having a military background not only provides the obviously needed skills to train future employees, but more importantly gives you experience in the way militaries work.
3) Writing a realistic and well thought out business plan. Since this is a business, profits are important. Having the details knocked out and having strategies in place for likely and unlikely events make certain that there is minimal amount of hiccups.
4) Registering, applying for licenses. Depending on where the business is located and conducts business, this step may require lawyers and technical experts on the matter.
5) Setting up, recruiting, and training staff. After the paperwork is filed and locations are chosen, the next step is having the appropriate offices and training areas for work. With this comes recruiting and training staff-this could range from just a small group to huge, depending on the scope and complexities of the jobs the business takes on.
6) Marketing to potential clients and expansion. Looking for business and companies that need your service and special niche talents and making certain that you can differentiate yourself in such a competitive field is important for recognition and success.
Indeed, the problems facing the start up of a PMC has many similarities with almost any other business. And just like the tech industry, their business is going to continue to thrive for the foreseeable future. Tech continues to expand into almost nearly aspect of government service and is revolutionizing it along the way, and the government is happy to accept the benefits of it. PMC’s have been doing this as well. They are being used in and expanding into many facets of the government rapidly, and the government is more than happy to outsource many of its jobs to businesses it can trust to accomplish them.
With the use of PMC’s for the future on the steady incline, their needs to be even more scrutiny and debate on their use and how far they are utilized. Just with how computer technology changing rapidly and having society adapt to it, the future of warfare requires careful forethought and planning so there are not disastrous consequences past nations have suffered as mercenary and non-state actors were charged with their security.