RPT-As Iraq, Afghan wars end, private security firms adapt

Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:59am EDT
 
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* Iraq, Afghan withdrawal may mean leaner times for contractors

* Shift to guarding private sector's oil fields and mines

* Some see big shakeout in private security industry

* U.N. member states wary of private security forces

By Peter Apps, Political Risk Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - On a rooftop terrace blocks from the White House, a collection of former soldiers and intelligence officers, executives and contractors drink to the international private security industry.

The past decade - particularly the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - provided rich pickings for firms providing private armed guards, drivers and other services that would once have been performed by uniformed soldiers.

But as the conflicts that helped create the modern industry wind down, firms are having to adapt to survive. They must also, industry insiders say, work to banish the controversial image of mercenary "dogs of war" that bedevil many firms, particularly in Iraq.   Continued...