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The Army might continue hiring foreign firms to provide intelligence and security services to U.S. forces in Iraq. In June a federal judge halted a contract award following a suit bought by a Colorado man, who charged that the contracting of “mercenaries” went against an 1893 law prohibiting the hire of “quasi-military forces.”

Within days, and in light of unrelated procedural protests filed by major private military company (PMC) players —Britain’s Enrys and Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater USA — it seems the Army has re-opened bidding on the $475 million contract, the largest security contract in Iraq.

PMCs typically are composed of former military and law enforcement personnel who perform similar “security” duties for considerably more pay (and less oversight) than their uniformed counterparts.

It has been reported that the top contenders for this contract before the re-bidding announcement had been two British firms, ArmorGroup International and Aegis Defense Services. Aegis holds the current contract. It is unclear whether the personnel providing these services to U.S. forces will be U.S. citizens.

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