"As the U.S. military continues to draw down its forces in Iraq later this month and complete a full exit by the end of next year, analysts say the withdrawal will be a boon for the private security industry, whose employees will likely undertake more quasi-military functions such as defusing explosives and providing armed response teams. “They [private security contractors] are going to have to do everything that we expect soldiers to do without going out on patrols to engage the enemy,” says one former industry insider. “There are some pretty smart number crunchers in all the major contractors who are figuring out how much of this increasing pie we’re going to be able to get.”Read the rest of the article in "Mercenaries in Iraq to Take Over Soldier's Jobs", Newsweek, August 10, 2010. Learn more about private security companies in Iraq.
What exactly that pie will consist of remains to be seen. During the first four years of the war—the most recent available estimate—the U.S. spent as much as $10 billion on private security contractors, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Yet this occurred at a time when the military employed far fewer than the roughly 11,000 private security contractors that it employs today. Just how many will remain in Iraq when the U.S. leaves will depend on the conditions on the ground. Yet analysts say the number of mercenaries will likely remain stable and could even increase slightly. And, as these contractors expand into new roles, “the price of them goes up,” says Stephanie Sanok, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies."