The United States is relying heavily on private firms to supply a wide variety of services in Iraq, including security. Based on the information available in published sources, this is the first time that the United States has depended on contractors to provide such extensive security in a hostile environment, although it has previously contracted for more limited security services in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and elsewhere. This book summarizes what is currently known publically about companies that provide personnel for security missions in Iraq and some sources of controversy surrounding them. A treatment of legal status and authorities follows, including an overview of relevant international law as well as Iraqi law, which currently consists primarily of Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) orders that remain in effect until superceded. The various possible means for prosecuting contractors under U.S. law in civilian or military courts are also detailed, followed by a discussion of possible issues for Congress.
This is an edited, excerpted and augmented edition of various government publications.