reports today that British shipowners and insurers are drafting plans to send Private Military Companies to the Horn of Africa to protect commercial convoys. Der SPIEGEL openly tries to create a sensation here, though it reports hardly anything new. British PMCs have offered services off the coast of Somalia for a couple of years. Regular readers of this blog might remember that I attended a conference on security in the Perisan Gulf in Shrivenham earlier this year. In the holy halls of Her Majesty's British Armed Forces Staff College I met one CEO of a British PMC that has run convoy-protection for more than two years now. The only news about the proposition reported is to put eventually newly hired PMCs under EU command. But I am guessing that won't happen.
What is more is that this report is marked by a lack of serious background checking. Just to give you an example of the sort of thing I mean: The report says that Germany currently contributes two frigates to the mission: the Köln and the Rhön. There are two mistakes in one sentence here: only the Köln is acutally part of the mission, the Rhön isn't even a frigate, but might very well be in the same waters (its actually a tanker and might resupply the Köln but that doesn't make it part of the mission unless otherwise indicated by the German ministry of defence). I am writing this at the risk of sounding petty but this sort of thing has become pretty common for reporting on security policy in Germany.