The United States’ reliance on private security and other contractors in war zones is at an unprecedented level in both size and scope. In Iraq and Afghanistan, contractors equal, and at times, have outnumbered U.S. military forces there. Many of them are armed and carrying out military and security functions. With this increased reliance on contractors has come an increase in serious criminal conduct, including violence against local civilian populations.
Despite warning calls in the Abu Ghraib scandal and Blackwater shootings in Nisoor Square, the U.S. government has failed to establish an effective system of accountability and oversight over U.S. contractors fielded abroad.
Human Rights First has issued two reports outlining the issue and putting forth recommendations to establish accountability and oversight for private security and other contractors in conflict zones.