Sustained outbreaks of violence in different areas of the world have opened up extensive opportunities for specialised security companies. One of the greatest challenges facing expatriate security companies in hostile regions concerns the recruitment of local people for security operations.
With the dissertation focusing on this particular area, it is proposed to title the assignment as follows:
Challenges and Complexities of Recruitment of Local Nationals in Expatriate Security Companies in Hostile Regions: A study with reference to the position in Iraq
Aims and Objectives
Hopes of a peaceful denouement to the violence ridden situation in Iraq evaporated within weeks of the US organised invasion of the country in March 2003. More than five years after the invasion, (which was followed by the installation of an elected government), acts of violence continue to be regular and widespread. Initial hopes among observers, as well as of corporate managements interested in participating in the rebuilding of the devastated country, of the military coalition taking up the responsibility for maintaining peace and ensuring an environment conducive to growth and development have been belied by the large scale violence that has continued to occur in the region and the helplessness of the overstretched occupying forces in controlling it.
The inadequacy of the military in controlling risks and minimising danger to civilian life and property in Iraq have opened up a window of opportunity for numerous western security companies who have entered the area and are now actively involved in providing a range of security services to local and international as well as private and government organisations.
“The private military and security companies that have stepped into this security vacuum range from large, relatively well-known concerns – such as DynCorp and Vinnell of the US, which are training the new Iraqi police and army respectively – to smaller operations such as Olive Security of the UK. ‘There is quite a bit of business out there,’ says Harry Legge-Bourke, for Olive. ‘From our point of view, it just gets better all the time.’” (Catan and Fidler, 2003)
Whilst the majority of these expatriate security companies depend extensively on westerners, mostly people with experience in military, para-military and police functions, to man their key positions, local Iraqi nationals are increasingly being drafted into these organisations. Iraqis are far cheaper than expatriates to recruit and employ, possess valuable knowledge about local customs, traditions and cultures, speak the local language, and are often far more acceptable to the local population than foreigners. Many of them are also extremely suitable for the responsibilities needed for jobs in security agencies.
Recruitment of local nationals is however also associated with a number of problems, namely the possibility of infiltration of security companies by people with disruptive intentions, the lack of adequate training of prospective employees, the possibility of such employees being intimidated by insurgents, and the likelihood of their being seen as collaborators by members of their community.
Very obviously recruitment of local Iraqis by expatriate security companies in Iraq, though essential for their success and effectiveness, is an extremely complex and multifaceted task. This assignment aims to study the topic of recruitment of local nationals by expatriate security companies in Iraq in detail, delving into the causes of their problems, the likely impact of such problems on the operations of security companies, client needs and demands, the options available to security companies in the recruitment of local employees, and the actions being taken by them to overcome various challenges.
A dissertation of this nature, along with its findings and recommendations, could be instructive and informative for all people associated with the running or utilisation of security companies, especially so in hostile or violence prone regions. Managements of companies intending to set up operations in such areas could also find it helpful in shaping their perspectives and in crystallising their plans.
Much of the information required for this dissertation will need to be obtained from available material on the subject; books, journal articles, research assignments, and magazine and newspaper articles. With the post war phase in Iraq having entered its fifth year, substantial material has already been generated, both online and by way of hard copy publications. It is proposed to base this dissertation primarily on a detailed study of available literature on the running of large and small security companies, their challenges and opportunities, the evolution of the post war situation in Iraq, the security situation in the region, the complexities of local cultures, traditions and customs, the challenges associated with the running and staffing of security companies in the region, the issues involved in recruiting and utilising local staff, and the actual actions of security companies in the region.
Whilst substantial information is available on the topic and it is proposed to access and use the same for the purpose of the dissertation, the assignment will be aided greatly if primary information can be obtained from managers of security companies operating in Iraq and other such disturbed areas. Endeavour will accordingly be made to secure appointments with managers in such agencies for obtaining relevant data. A number of books and articles, listed in the references section at the end of the assignment, have already been accessed on the topic. Articles by Flores and Earl (2004), Cole (2004), and Catan and Fidler (2003) have been illuminating. The book “Private Military and Security Companies, Chances, Problems, Pitfalls and Prospects” by Jager and Kummel (2007), being anthological in nature and containing a full chapter devoted to Iraq, has been particularly helpful in increasing my understanding of the subject.
Substantial additional information, currently under mining, is also proposed to be used for the purpose of the dissertation.
Whilst a certain amount of information has already been accessed, I propose to devote a significant proportion of the time at my disposal to obtaining additional information and collating it coherently for the dissertation. I shall also make efforts to obtain at least a couple of interviews with managers of security companies with operations in difficult and hostile foreign terrain. The rest of the time at my disposal will be devoted to writing up the dissertation, which will consist of finalising the research hypothesis, writing a coherent and well structured Literature Review and the putting together (if possible) of the interview transcripts; this shall be followed by detailing the methodology, arriving at the findings, analysing the same, testing the hypothesis, and coming to conclusions and recommendations. I plan to devote 10 % of the time available to revision, self-assessment, corrections, and smoothening out the dissertation. The next section details the structure I propose to follow for the purpose of the dissertation.
I plan to follow an orthodox dissertation structure, beginning with a short and concise abstract, followed by the table of contents. The body of the dissertation is proposed to be divided into the introduction, methodology, literature review, findings and analysis, conclusion and recommendations, appendices and tables, and the bibliography. The introduction will consist of an overview section followed by the framing of the research hypotheses. In the literature review I propose to devote separate sections to the origin and growth of the security services business, connected human resource issues, problems in hostile and violence prone foreign settings, and staffing including recruitment and utilisation of local personnel. The next section will focus on findings and analysis. The concluding chapter will be devoted to drawing conclusions, detailing recommendations and laying down the limitations of the assignment.
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