98 fighter jets, 600 million a year…the mercenary industry is growing.

“We are looking for agents to conduct operations in Ukraine. Per diem up to $2000. They also give bonuses.”

Such a mercenary job posting appeared on Silent Professionals, a private military and security industry recruiting site, after Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year. Qualifications included having at least five years of experience in military operations in Europe and a working knowledge of small arms.

Around the same time, more than 1,000 fighters from the mercenary company Wagner Group were deployed in Russia. “In total, we received more than 16,000 applications,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. The number of mercenaries on the Russian side has been steadily increasing, with more than 50,000 Wagner Group mercenaries fighting alongside Ukrainian forces so far.

An army is an organization of soldiers capable of using force to defend a state and its people. Having an army has traditionally been seen as the exclusive prerogative of the state. This traditional notion of an army is changing. Armed conflicts around the world are increasingly being fought by “corporate warriors” employed by private military companies.

The United States contracts with a variety of private military contractors around the world to provide combat as well as rear support services such as food, transportation, and medical care. Russia employs mercenaries as key combat personnel and sends them to the front. In addition to this, mercenary companies train troops and sometimes provide advisory services in organizing operations.

The “mercenary business” is expanding at a rapid pace as private military companies are overwhelmed with work. According to the European Society for Marketing and Opinion Research (ESOMAR), the global market for private military and security services was valued at $258.1 billion last year and is expected to grow annually, reaching $446.8 billion by 2030. In particular, the Russian-Ukrainian (Russo-Ukrainian) war is said to have been the catalyst for the expansion of the mercenary industry.

The mercenary industry boomed after the end of the Cold War

In June 2018, more than 1,800 soldiers in red berets and navy blue uniforms were deployed around Singapore. They were Nepali Gurkha mercenaries hired by the Singapore Police Force. The mercenaries were tasked with providing security for the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. There’s a reason why Gurkha mercenaries are deployed where top-level security is required. The Singaporean government valued the reputation and know-how of a mercenary organization that has been around for more than 200 years. In 1816, the British invaded Nepal, but were quickly overwhelmed by the Gurkhas, who fought back with daggers. The British thought so highly of the Gurkha warriors that they hired them as mercenaries, a practice that has continued to this day.

The dictionary definition of mercenary is a soldier who serves for pay. Some consider it the oldest profession after prostitution. Some of the most famous mercenaries in history include ancient Greek mercenaries, Germanic mercenaries at the end of the Roman Empire, and mercenaries during the Song Dynasty in China. In the modern era, the mercenary industry really took off in the late 1980s. With the end of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union began to reduce their armaments, creating a large number of unemployed former military personnel. All sorts of conventional weapons were left behind. Naturally, there was an influx of people and weapons into the mercenary industry. “When the two major powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, disappeared, there were more small-scale wars in Africa and South America,” says Lee Se-hwan, a military expert and head of the Charles Institute for Military Studies, “and private military companies started to take advantage of this gap.”


The mercenary industry, which grew out of the Cold War, began to boom in the 2000s with the attacks of Sept. 11 and the Iraq War. The U.S. turned to mercenaries in droves as it sought to reduce the sacrifices of its own soldiers. A U.S. military report released in 2011 showed that mercenaries outnumbered U.S. soldiers in the Iraq War by a ratio of 1.25 to 1. The ratio has since widened to 3:1.

One of the most prominent players in the Iraq War was the American company Blackwater. The company was founded in 1997 by former Navy SEALs and grew out of a business protecting Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives메이저놀이터. Blackwater reportedly had as many as 20,000 mercenaries in Iraq at one point.

Estimates of 300,000 in 170 ‘company warriors’ companies

The Russo-U.S. war is likely to go down in history as the first war in which mercenaries played a major role. Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary company that has deployed 50,000 fighters in the war, was founded in 2014 by Dmitry Utkin, a former member of Russia’s special forces, the Spetsnaz, and Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close confidant of President Vladimir Putin. The company operated during Russia’s forcible annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014 and has been “capitalizing on conflict” since before the Russo-U.S. war, having entered the Syrian civil war to help the Assad dictatorship.

The Wagner Group hires former Spetsnaz members and Russian Airborne Forces reservists during periods of high mercenary demand. In the recent Russo-Ukrainian war, when the group ran out of troops, it turned to Russian prisoners as mercenaries, more than 5,000 of whom were reportedly pardoned after their service contracts expired. The Russian government stepped in and increased the number of Wagner Group troops. The U.S. White House has stated that “President Putin relies more on the Wagner Group than on the regular army, which has struggled in Ukraine.”

There are no overall statistics on the size or number of private military companies around the world. The International Mercenary Association for Counterterrorism (IMACT) estimates that there are about 170 mercenary companies (excluding small businesses) worldwide, employing about 300,000 people.

When mercenary companies get a bad rap after participating in a war, they tend to shut down and reopen a few years later under a different name. Blackwater, for example, changed its name to Xe Services in 2007 after killing 14 civilians in Iraq, sparking international criticism, and then rebranded itself as Academy in 2011.

More recently, “cyber mercenaries” have emerged as an online threat. Cyber mercenaries hack into the computers and cell phones of specific people or countries and provide them with sensitive information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *