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One of the serious problems that the new administration faces is undoubtedly the regulation and use of private military contractors in "the war on terror." The private military industry is largely unregulated at the national level. Its status under international law is also poorly understood. This article assesses the legal status of this industry, characterizes the various functions, demonstrates the difficulty of regulating the industry as a unitary entity, and identifies the appropriate set of international standards that the new administration and Congress as well as the larger international legal community could employ in evaluating regulatory options.