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|Private Response and Military Defense Service|
|Formation||1991 - 1994|
|Legal status||Presumed active|
The Private Response and Military Defense Service (PRMDS) is a private military firm which surfaced in several Middle Eastern conflict zones following the Doomsday catastrophe. Since 2005, there have been furious rows about its activities in the Eastern Turkish Wasteland, Kalmykia, Dagestan, and elsewhere.
In 1983 Doomsday came suddenly for many countries, triggering the collapse of national defense structures and security forces. The Turkish military was certainly no exception, and its subsequent border war with the Soviet Union saw broad cuts in its personnel due to straggling or desertion. Soviet battalions in Georgia and Armenia fared little better; these disgruntled soldiers-turned-bandits, often taking valuable hardware with them, led a general exodus west to escape nuclear devastation to the east and south. The unemployment pool they joined - shared with thousands of former policemen, intelligence specialists, guards, and state paramilitary operatives from dozens of locales in the Caucasus - was to provide the inevitable basis for a new organization: PRMDS.
One of Doomsday's most serious consequences was the erosion in domestic security. It was only natural that governments would have to entertain a new strategy to protect their assets; divisions for maintaining order were simply too few and forced to do too much. Among the most active participants in meeting this demand were Russians, as well as a sprinkling of Armenians; they not only carried military backgrounds but also knew the destabilised areas well - having served there. Other nationalities included Greeks, Bulgarians, Chechens, and Turks, especially those representing more specialized disciplines concerning logistical quandaries, aircraft maintenance, electronics, etc.
Post-Doomsday conflict intensification has made the private military industry a lucrative world-wide growth market. An established firm offering preemptive and preventive crisis control may now develop solutions for a client's need through third party negotiations, dispatching trained operators to sites around the globe.
Few outside the Eastern Turkish Wasteland had heard of PRMDS until October 2004, when the Sultanate of Turkey's royalist army subsumed the Republic of Hatay and began advancing on its weaker neighbour, Elazig. Among other accusations leveled against the Elazigi regime were its alleged use of foreign combatants; as early as 2002 the Konya press was already claiming that "Greeks, Italians, and 300 Russians" had entered the district disguised as "construction workers". It soon became clear that they were part of a contingent charged with protecting key infrastructure and putting down unrest.
Sources from inside the collapsing Elazigi government suggested that PRMDS was then a fifty-man operation based in Trabzon and headed by a veteran of NATO military intelligence. The company had already acquired a reputation for providing unspecified training to Trabzon police, as well as logistics instruction in New Erzurum. Elazig's autocrats, recognizing the inadequacy of their own military strength, apparently hoped that a contract with PRMDS could blunt regional aggression by both Trabzon and the rising Turkish Sultanate. By introducing mercenaries, however, namely Greeks and Russians, some Elazigi officials feared that they had merely added another unstable element to a volatile Anatolia.
During the Doğu Fethini (Eastern Conquest), PRMDS pilots flew two aging F-100 Super Sabres, likely appropriated from the Turkish Air Force fleet, in sorties against Sultanate ground forces. Elazig also retained several armed Bell 205 helicopters for transport and light attack. Their failure to coordinate tactical air support resulted in Elazigi units being effectively neutralized on the ground while high-flying Bells remained dangerously vulnerable to strike aircraft and ground fire. Additional advisers were thus deployed with Russian Mil Mi-17s to offer instruction and provide professional backup to the infantry and armor operators. All of the Mi-17s were eventually captured intact in March, 2005.
Demand has not diminished for private armies willing to fight for the highest bidder. Since the abortive Elazig debacle, the firm continues to interpret fluctuating instability in the Caucasus as a market issue ripe for monopoly. Concerns are being raised that similar 'guns for hire' will be looked at as quick fixes to any government that can afford them - buying valuable skills normally beyond their reach. As PRMDS' reputation rippled across Central Asia, the little republic of Kalmykia was among the first to express interest.
Kalmykia's undisciplined and ill-trained militiamen had been uncapable of halting, much less reversing, acts of armed banditry in the countryside. Eager to stem the violence, Elista contacted PRMDS, which dispatched a pre-contractual analysis team in January 2006. By June, administrative and advisory personnel were being flown in from Georgia.
PRMDS soon recognized the need for light fixed-wing aircraft to move their own men and equipment in a nation with little infrastructure and difficult terrain. Additionally, it was recommended that PRMDS pilots be on hand to resupply militia bases from the air, rather than risky convoys. Although Kalmykia could offer arriving mercenaries some individual and crew-served weapons, two Cessna 185s, BTR-60 IFVs, and an Mi-24 Hind "D" were also imported. Used for hot pursuit, the level of firepower greatly intimidated casual raiders and proved remarkably effective in tracking or engaging hostiles on the open steppe.
In the summer of 2010, several PRDMS operatives and support staff were reportedly secured by the government of Dagestan for counter-insurgency exercises. Unidentified interests in Dagestan agreed to provide weapons and equipment for their guests, supplying everything from AK-47 rifles to mortars, tools and utility trucks. PRMDS was to train and mentor the Dagestani Army, a ragtag force of a few thousand men. Flush with funds from its recent successes, PRMDS came equipped with Bells for maritime patrols and ex-Iraqi AML-90s -- scout vehicles primarily used for reconnaissance.Stories of renewed activity by Islamist rebels inside Chechnya soon reached the ears of Dagestani combat intelligence. Weapons were said to be arriving from Chechnya contacts and corrupt border officials. Settlements were being plundered for food and unwilling Muslim recruits. Based on these reports, PRMDS quickly identified likely infiltration sites, forward operating areas, base camps, and avenues of advance. Dagestan's predictions that the militants were returning to offensive operations was confirmed mere weeks later.
It was difficult to argue with results. Since PRMDS fired the first shots in June, serious rebel activity has been eliminated; over two years have passed since the last major clash with Islamist fighters - early in 2011, as two armored cars approached a suspected radical neighbourhood, their crews came under sporadic 12.7mm anti-aircraft fire from several flatbed "technical"s parked near a bridge. One Belorussian responded from his single 90mm gun, destroying the pickups and killing five insurgents.
Despite these successes, foreign critics have began fearing that law enforcement may not be the company's primary concern in Dagestan. An elite, foreign-led, paramilitary force - loyal only to the ruling clique - could be used to suppress peaceful opposition, or even to impose the administration's claims to disputed territory.