The first thing you need to understand is that the private security industry is made up of a group of for-profit corporations, businesses and individuals. Despite the fact that the term Private Military Company (PMC) contains the word 'military' there is almost nothing about the modern PMC which resembles the military. Certainly not in the areas of discipline, accountability, oversight, capability, capacity, troop welfare, tactical prowess or quality of leadership.
Private security contracting is the ultimate game of market capitalism. It makes Wall Street competition look like a child's game. Private security contracting is a lion's den of ferocious and vicious cut-throat competition where the law of jungle is all that exists. Only the strongest survive and they will do by consuming the weak.
I don't say this in a gratuitousness derogatory manner. I am just stating the facts as they are. Money, profit, the-bottom-line, what ever you choose to call them are the sole and driving force behind these businesses. While PMCs will often cloak themselves in patriotic terms and talk about their contribution to the country's foreign policy this is all window dressing. Were they really and truly motivated by patriotism or service to country they would provide their services at a deep and significant discount in an effort to 'contribute' to the cause. But this is not the case and again I do not begrudge the companies for doing what companies do...making money. But have no illusions about their motivation as it will drive all their decision making and this may or may not be aligned with your own personal best interests.
However, once you realize this and come to terms with the fact that in this industry money is always the primary and most cases the sole motivation for existence they are able to see other facts more clearly and learn to operate in a world which really has many unwritten codes but very few enforceable laws.
The primary facts, the common laws of contracting if you like, are:
- No one person or even small group of contractors, no matter their tactical skills, will ever stand in the way of company profit.
- The clients needs and wishes will almost always trump contractor/employee requests or requirements because it is the client who pays the invoices which create the profit.
- Corners will be cut at every possible opportunity in an effort to reduce costs and thus increase profits. This will manifest itself in nearly every aspect of the operation from the equipment chosen, the maintenance cycles, the quality of the staff, staff training, the site, the facilities, the salaries, per diem, travel expenses, work rotations/shifts, etc, etc... Some companies are more egregious than others but all do this to some extent.
Just remember, no matter what, the profit train is not one you want to jump out in front of as it will run over you every time. If you ever find yourself standing between your convictions on one hand and the impact to company profits on the other you better have your go-bag to hand because you're about to be placed on the next thing smoking and headed outta town.
There may come a day when a company is formed which puts the well being of the employee and the client ahead of the all-mighty profit margin but to my knowledge that company does not currently exist.
“In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else's mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one's own place and economy.
In such a society, also, our private economies will depend less and less upon the private ownership of real, usable property, and more and more upon property that is institutional and abstract, beyond individual control, such as money, insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks, and shares. And as our private economies become more abstract, the mutual, free helps and pleasures of family and community life will be supplanted by a kind of displaced or placeless citizenship and by commerce with impersonal and self-interested suppliers...
Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else's legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make. What would be the point, for example, if a majority of our people decided to be self-employed?
The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth - that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community - and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means.”
― Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays