WEIGHING THE COSTS AND BENEFITS
161. Though the Green Paper does not offer this option,
it was suggested to us that the Government might consider doing
"very little" or "nothing" to regulate the
private military sector.
We reject the do-nothing option. As the Sandline affair demonstrated,
the dangers of inaction in this area of foreign policy are considerable.
162. In this Report, we propose a strong regulatory
regime. We recommend that private military and security companies
be required to obtain a general licence before undertaking permitted
military/security activities overseas. We further recommend the
establishment of a licensing regime which, with limited exceptions,
would require companies to seek the Government's permission before
accepting each contract for a military/security operation overseas.
We also recommend the prohibition of all combat activities by
private military companies.
163. Such a strong regulatory regime would need a
substantial enforcement mechanism to ensure its credibility. As
we indicate above, this mechanism will have significant costs
for the companies themselves and possibly for the Government.
We recommend that the Government consider very carefully how
to ensure that the benefits of permitting a regulated private
military sector to operate from the United Kingdom are not outweighed
by the costs of establishing and maintaining a regime for their