Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Dennis D. Strouble, PhD


Over the past fifteen years, the Department of Defense has experienced an increasing trend in the outsourcing and privatization of military operations. Key factors contributing to the growth include declines in military budgets, reductions in active duty end-strength, increases in operational deployments, advancements in weapon system technology, and evolutions in the nature of warfare. However, the continued escalation of incorporating Private Military Companies (PMCs) on the battlefield creates unique challenges. The purpose of this exploratory and descriptive research is to identify utilization rates, describe the types of roles being fulfilled, and synthesize the challenges of augmenting military manpower with civilian contractors. For this effort, the research scope is primarily focused on exploring the use of PMCs to support battlefield operations in Iraq. The research strategy involves the collection, reduction, and analysis of existing census data and secondary archival data from multiple sources. To add flexibility to the study, interactive data analysis techniques are employed using a combination of several qualitative methodologies. The conclusions drawn from the resulting data analysis framework are intended to facilitate a better understanding of the complexities of using civilian contractors in a war zone as well as outline key focus areas for improving the planning, management, and oversight of PMC operations. In addition, this research expands the existing body of knowledge on this dynamic topic.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number