Army 'must rely on private firms'

Defence cuts mean British military commanders will have to rely on private security firms to carry out future operations, a retired general has said.

Major General Graham Binns said the UK's Ministry of Defence appeared more "reticent" about using armed contractors to support missions than other countries and other Whitehall departments.



He called on the Government to introduce a system for selecting and vetting a number of approved private security companies, which would be required to train regularly with troops.



Maj Gen Binns, who commanded coalition forces in southern Iraq from mid-2007 to early 2008, is chief executive of British private security company Aegis Defence Services.



Writing in a book of essays published by the Army about how it should adapt for the future, he suggested that private security contractors (PSCs) would become an integral part of the forces deployed on operations.



"Given the current economic climate and future force structures, it is likely that commanders of future military operations of whatever type will encounter PSCs," he said.



"Given the current size and structure of UK forces, it is inevitable that any future expeditionary deployment will require contractor support in many areas.



"PSCs may well come to feature as part of the force structure as there are many combat-support functions that can be fulfilled by PSCs, thus releasing troops for other duties."



The former general's comments come as the MoD is implementing a programme which could see 11,000 redundancies across the Royal Navy, Army and RAF by April 2015 in an effort to tackle the deficit and bring the defence budget under control.



Maj Gen Binns said British security firms had provided services for the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan ranging from gathering local intelligence to guarding senior officers.



He wrote: "The MoD could certainly afford to rely more on PSCs ... yet there appears to be a reticence in defence to the use of armed contractors in support of operations.



"This reticence is not replicated by the other Government departments and certain other nations."



He added: "Given the likely shape of future operations, there will be an ever greater requirement to support both regular and reserve forces on operations with contractors, including PSCs.



"It would be prudent to recognise this and prepare for it at an early stage."



But the retired general also warned that private security firms not working directly with the military could be "more problematic", noting that they could include "rogue" companies hiding behind the veil of a legitimate contractor or "thinly disguised local militias".





Source: PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable