Blackwater, the private security firm under fire for controversial shootings in Iraq, is preparing expansion plans to develop a bigger role as an arm of the US military. Company founder Erik Prince wants to make Blackwater a one-stop shop for all kinds of operations to which Washington won't commit US forces, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The Pentagon recently tapped Blackwater to compete for parts of a $15 billion program to fight terrorists with drug-trade ties. The US government wants contractors to help allies thwart drug trafficking with equipment, training and personnel. Prince also envisions his men responding to natural disasters and carrying out mundane operations such as moving military equipment. Blackwater is under investigation for a Baghdad shooting that killed 17 Iraqi civilians.