Private security military contractors, or at least their leading advocates, are gaining in political authority, successfully framing themselves not only as legitimate security actors but also as legitimate standard setters.
I am critical of largely self-regulation efforts, such as Codes of Conduct. It is not that such codes are bad. Rather, the problem is that in order to make it really work, some other things need to go along with it.
One of the tasks the U.S. government uses private military contractors for is overseas law enforcement. No, they are not walking a beat in another country. But they are used to demonstrate the government's commitment to international operations.
Usually lost in the often histrionic conversation about private military and security contractors is that they are not used only by the United States. When PMSC advocates talk about their industry being a global phenomenon they are exactly right; they are everywhere.