Dominick Donald

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Dominick Donald is a Senior Analyst for AEGIS, a British specialist security and risk management company. He has previously worked as a Programme Officer at the UN, a Leader Writer at The Times, and a Contributing Editor at Red Herring Magazine. He received a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London.[1]


In a paper published by RUSI, Aegis analyst Dominick Donald argues that "the Iraqi private security market is clearly maturing: more discerning clients and a number of well-established providers mean lower bids and tighter margins. If these trends hold true, then security contracts are likely to be smaller and less worth the effort of larger, well-established PSCs [private security companies] with substantial overheads."
Donald's pamphlet "After the Bubble: British Private Security Companies After Iraq" is remarkably candid about the options for the sector. One of its proposals is that private security companies should target humanitarian aid as an area of expansion.
"Humanitarian and development assistance will increasingly be more closely tied to government policy," Donald argues. "This is a natural political extension of the fact that GWOT [Global War on Terror] will increasingly involve the UK's targeted use of soft power, of which humanitarian and development assistance is a perfect example."
Donald believes this will eventually lead to a falling-out between aid agencies and the governments that provide much of their funding:
"The sector's insistence on retaining the perception of political neutrality and humanitarian impartiality means that it is extremely reluctant to be in any way associated with government activity. Many would therefore see participation in a planning process as jeopardizing their independent status.
"Yet none of this holds true for PSCs. Might there then be an opportunity for the private sector, which would be far readier to work to government's directions?"
Remarkably, the main thrust of Donald's argument is not that PSCs can operate in areas too dangerous for aid agencies. Instead, the key selling point of PSCs is precisely that they need not "deliver assistance impartially on the basis of need."
This is a suggestion so cynical that it is surprising to find it committed to paper. Clearly, if aid budgets are diverted to PSCs delivering programs driven by geopolitical considerations, the logical corollary is that real humanitarian priorities will go unmet.[2]