The crash, which some still insist on calling a recession, devastated the world. At the time, we didn't know how far reaching the effects would be, in that way we were naive. Many saw the signs, the banks that failed, the ever rising debt amongst the world powers, the increasing gulf between the have and have nots. Stop gap measures slowed the effects, diluting them from public knowledge and blinding us to the dangers they heralded. But as more people drifted out of jobs into the realm of hopelessness, more drastic measures had to be undertaken, to ensure that the governments themselves would not fail. In 2012, the US government, after an emergency session, declared their debt obligations null and void, effectively destroying 13 trillion dollars worth of wealth in a single action. As with most measures of a rushed nature, this one had repercussions. The elimination of the US debt sent tidal waves through the international markets, and within hours other nations had frozen their assets to ensure stability for a short period of time. America's allies unilaterally cancelled their own debts to the superpower, while other nations such as China and Russia took the more aggressive stance and raided US institutions with a coordinated cyber attack that plundered untold billions from the electronic vaults of companies. Only the ever-looming spectre of nuclear holocaust prevented an open engagement. Thus the world had been reset, with nations free of debt, but with global trade shattered.
The US action ensured that governmental budgets would need to be overhauled, as lending amongst varied countries had ground to a standstill. One of the first sectors to go on the chopping block was defence, with many nations looking for ways to reduce expenditures in this expensive yet necessary market. After a thorough analysis, the Argentine government came to the conclusion that the maintenance of a full time fighting force was excessive, and that it would make more sense to contract out a wartime fighting force in the event it was needed, and maintain a smaller armed force for peacetime operations. The Argentinians disbanded large sections of their Army, Navy, and Air Force, resulting in a glut of highly skilled warriors, many of which formed private military contracting corporations. When the benefits of the Argentinian system became apparent, other nations began following suit, even the superpowers reduced their peacetime forces and placed large quantities of armaments in storage. The new market for PMCs grew and spread like wildfire, bringing with it the rise of capital insurance brokers, and new arms trade organizations.
While running a PMC focused primarily on land operations is relatively straightforward, the far more costly Aerospace and Naval sections required a shift in the traditional business model. Many companies do not own their own equipment, rather they have leased it from giant organizations such as ILFC and Triton. These organizations for their part, simply acquire aircraft and vessels, whereas the PMCs supply the trained personnel. While at first seeming one-sided, your average third gen fighter is only worth around two and half million dollars, while a first rate fighter pilot can represent over four million dollars in training and development. The market for aircraft also changed drastically, with older models becoming financially viable again, for work in low impact operations in third world areas. While traditional defence companies continued to operate and produce modern aircraft, they reduced their output while 'Boneyard Dogs' began purchasing discarded equipment from government stockpiles, to refit and repair for duty. Some designs became highly sought after, such as the F-4 Phantom, or the MiG-21, for their rugged dependability and inherent strengths of their basic design.
The repercussions from these fundamental changes in world power projection are still being felt, but low intensity operations have been on the rise, with small nations willing to spend fractions of their budget to employ mercenary groups for strikes on their neighbours. Likewise, most nations have retention contracts, ensuring their protection in times of war, and guaranteeing that mercenary groups will be available to them should they ever be attacked. The amount of contracts and negotiations occurring today in 2015 is staggering, and market indicators are highly classified for their military intelligence value. A nation purchasing contracts en masse is usually the first sign of an impeding attack so intelligence agencies work frantically to find out what PMC is working where and for whom. This fragile balance is tenuous at best. With this many warriors for hire, and with the reduced national cost of warfare, the world sleeps uneasily knowing that the smallest spark in this mountain of kindling could ignite into a Global Firestorm.