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Elite British Troops Leaving for The Private Sector


Increasing numbers of the UK military's most elite troops are leaving the forces for private security work, it has been reported. A large number of the men leaving the service are from the Royal Marines and Parachute Regiment. Many of those choosing to become private security contractors are experienced non-commissioned officers (NCOs) such as corporals and seargents.

According to official MoD figures, 570 Royal Marines and 170 members of 2 and 3 PARA left the forces between 2009 and 2011. Even discounting those leaving for medica reasons, which are included in the figures for the Royal Marines, the rates at which troops are leaving these units is around double the average.

The rising threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden is one of the reasons for the rise of recruitment by the private sector. Former Bootnecks and Paras are highly sought after for security jobs around the world but are especially valued as guards aboard merchant vessels in pirate-infested waters like those off Somalia. Men who switch from the military to private companies typically see a large increase in salary and, often, a work schedule less disruptive to family life.

Analysts fear that such a drain of experienced junior commanders from the Paras and Royal Marines to the private sector will harm the effectiveness of those units. The Commando Training Centre at Lympstone has responded to the situation by training more NCOs through its Junior and Senior Command Courses.

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