Help wanted, part deux

As DoD, the State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development continue to contract out security functions, it seems Congress has taken notice and is making efforts to regulate these guns-for-hire. The 2008 Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 1585, and its Senate counterpart, S. 1548, seek to “increase accountability,” as one legislator’s press release puts it. Provisions include a “process for registering, processing, and accounting for personnel performing private security functions in an area of combat operations, a process for authorizing and accounting for weapons to be carried by, or available to be used by these contractors, and processes for reporting and investigating incidents of death or injury to the military contractor and allegations of misconduct.”

One of the most interesting is the requirement for a process to report and investigate all incidents where a contractor discharges a firearm — in a combat zone. The list is long, and the bulk of the work seems to fall to DoD, though a source close to the matter says much of the language codifies what commanders already are doing in theater. The final bill is expected in late September.

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