Born June 6, 1969, Erik Prince is an American businessman and former US Navy SEAL, best known for founding the world’s largest, private military company, Blackwater USA, in 1997. He served as its CEO until 2009, and later as chairman until Blackwater Worldwide was sold in 2010 to a group of investors. Prince currently lives in the United Arab Emirates. -Courtesy Wikipedia

It’s likely America wouldn’t have been able to declare independence from England without the help of private military companies (PMCs). On today’s modern-day battlefield they are relied on more heavily than most people want to admit. Many have been critical of President Bush, and his extensive use of PMCs after the terrorists attacks of 9/11. The Obama administration continues to heavily use PMCs world-wide in support of American objectives. Obama himself used Blackwater for his own security detail as a US Senator.

The current structure of the military has essentially forced the use of PMCs in a variety of combat roles that would normally be staffed by active duty military. The future role of PMCs on the modern battlefield is an important topic that should be intelligently debated with an open mind.  The one certainty? Private military companies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Civilian Warriors


I was standing in the bustling San Diego airport terminal on my way to Texas this week, and stopped in the bookstore to look for something to read for the long flight to San Antonio.  I glanced at over several titles, and then saw Erik Prince’s book, Civilian Warriors, out of the corner of my eye.  I’ll admit it, I didn’t want to read it at first, in fact I put it back on the shelf, then stood and stared at it. Deep down, I knew I had to read it and get Erik’s version of Blackwater.

There are always multiple perspectives to every story, and somewhere in the middle resides the truth. In light of all the controversy stirred up in the media, and political hype drummed up by the usual suspects in DC, I’m glad Erik Prince finally told his side of the story.

The book Blackwater was a runaway best seller, and came from a relatively unknown (at the time) accidental Nation journalist Jeremy Scahill. The book is overly biased in my opinion, and somewhat prejudiced, based on Erik Prince’s conservative upbringing, which is no fault of his own.  Erik comes from a good family, and his father, and as you will learn, is the quintessential American entrepreneur. He worked hard, and was rightfully rewarded for the risks he took as a businessman.

There was something missing in Jeremy’s book Blackwater, another side of the story, and it left me with a nagging feeling after I finished it. I’d always wondered what Erik was like as a person, what motivated him to build his company, and why didn’t they manage their growth better? All questions I’ve wondered about. Blackwater became an overnight success, Prince grew a billion dollar empire, and it fell from grace just as fast as it rose to the top.