NATO contracting in Afghanistan: The Problem of Principal–Agent Networks (Commentary)

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A very interesting paper demonstrating the challenges of building a supply chain for military operations in Afghanistan. The thrust of this article is the over-reliance on Private Military & Security Companies (PMSCs) for things like;

  • Logistics Support
  • Maintenance/Repair
  • Military Training
  • Armed Protection

However the increased reliance on these PMSCs has caused proliferation of Armed Private Security Companies which have been widely accused of violence, sexual abuse, harassment & exploitation of civilians. It also sheds light on the complicated relationship between the stakeholders in this supply chain with their own competing/non-aligned objectives and an equally complicated command structure.

Conclusions:

  1. It is clear that at a time when we are witnessing a decrease in defense budgets and the drive for maximising efficiencies in military operations, the reliance on private military & security contracting is likely to increase-or at least not decrease.
  2. There needs to be a stronger level of coordination, standards & oversight to ensure compliance in managing key stakeholders whether they are external agents or internal commands/structures.
  3. Finally the paper demonstrates that there are plenty of businesses all over the world that thrive from conflict, so we need to ensure that however powerful of a lobby they are we should not allow them to influence Foreign Policy. It may also help to diversify such businesses in ways that help them benefit at times of peace in reconstruction,  development and capacity building-being an idealist, maybe but I believe it is achievable.

Suffice it to say definitely a recommended reading material.

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