Private Contractors Play Growing Role in Military, Says CAE Chief Exec

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CAE Inc. chief executive Marc Parent says a growing reliance on private contractors by Western armed forces—including Canada’s—bodes well for his company and global security, even as questions linger around spending and accountability.

In an interview, Mr. Parent said rising geopolitical tensions are prompting a military build-up that means governments contending with personnel shortfalls depend increasingly on private sector firms for everything from catering and construction to hired guns.

Last month, a joint venture between Montreal-based CAE and B.C.-based KF Aerospace secured an $11.2-billion contract to train aircrews and provide simulators for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The 25-year deal represents a vast expansion of CAE’s previous role in Air Force training, as the partnership aims to take responsibility for more areas, such as training support crews and procuring trainer aircraft.

David Perry, president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, says that in a world of technologically complex combat, companies fill critical niches for armed forces already short of recruits.

However, Brown University’s Costs of War project argues that militaries are spending more and more of their budgets on contractors with little accountability for how the funds are used.

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