"Private security contractors, or PSCs, have been part of building the civilization that became the United States for 400 years. They are a founding part of the American entrepreneurial tradition of risk-taking and civic duty," scholar Michael Waller writes in RealClearPolitics.com.
Commenting on the Blackwater controversy, the Institute of World Politics professor says that outsourcing defense and security services dates to the first English colony in the Americas. "The first PSC on our shores was little more popular than his descendants today. Captain John Smith, a professional soldier who was paid to protect the interests of the Virginia Company of London in 1607, was accused of conspiring to subvert legal authority and locked in irons during the voyage to America, only to be exonerated and made chief of the expedition that founded the colony at Jamestown."
Waller follows with descriptions of PSCs including Captain Myles Standish, who was hired to protect the Pilgrims in 1620 in Massachusetts, a range of European officers who helped the United States during the American Revolution, the privateers of the Revolution and of the War of 1812, private counterintelligence and intelligence contractors during the Civil War, and the Flying Tigers under Gen. Claire Chennault in China during World War II.