The 2021 War was a deadly conflict between the United States of America and Artemis Global Security. Spinning out of a regional conflict in South America between rival blocs of nation-states over US influence in the region, the war saw the Artemis launch a full-scale invasion of the United States before being driven off and ultimately destroyed. As a result of the war, numerous limitations and restrictions were placed on the power of private military companies, shuttling them into a small support role while re-establishing the dominance of the military power of the nation-state.
In 2014, during the events of the Mexican insurgency crisis, the United States Air Force deactivated the HAWX Squadron, so the members signed on to a powerful Private Military Corporation, Artemis Global Security. For the next seven years, the squad's pilots would spearhead many of the company's military operations in war zones as diverse as Central Asia, the Middle East and Central Africa. All the while, the power of Artemis and many other PMC's were growing substantily, even as the military might of nations like the United States was on the decline.
Meanwhile, in South America, tensions were increasing. Seeing the weakness of the United States and hoping to break free of their influence and establish their own regional power-bloc, an anti-United States of America alliance PMC known as Las Trinidad launched an invasion of US-friendly Brazil, but was pushed back by Artemis forces hired by the Brazilian government. Shortly after a Las Trinidad attack on Rio de Janeiro is repulsed, the United States officially enters the conflict, taking direct control over the military efforts against Las Trinidad and leaving Artemis increasingly marginalized, weakening the company's fiscal position. Feeling that there is no profit left in serving the United States or Brazil, the Board of Directors at Artemis, led by Adrian Dewinter, signed a new contract with Las Trinidad, essentially defecting to the anti-US bloc. First, it attacked the USS Jame Lawrence carrier strike group, then its forces launched an enormous military force against the United States of America itself. As a result, the former HAWX Squadron members defected back to the US, and then the HAWX squadron was reactivated.
Artemis' betrayal, and eventual invasion, of the United States took its leadership completely by surprise, and the company's substantial air, land and sea forces made considerable gains in the first twenty-four hours of the attack, severely damaging the White House and sending the President of the United States fleeing even as their forces occupied several major American cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, all the while disrupting the American military command structure and throwing their forces into chaos. Fortunately, the intervention of the HAWX pilots helped to turn the tide against the Artemis forces, first by helping the President to reach safety, then by eliminating the Artemis jamming system that had paralysed the US military, allowing them to organize and push the invaders back.
With Washington, DC was still in American hands, the President saved, and US forces swiftly mobilizing to combat the invaders with the assistance of their allies such as Japan and NATO, the tide had begun to turn against Artemis. However, the Artemis CEO, Adrian Dewinter, declared that he had stolen some tactical nuclear weapons, and threatened to destroy major American cities unless the President surrendered. Fortunately, the Ghost Recon Team, along with HAWX Squadron and the scientists at NASA managed to repair the damaged Space, Land, Air Missile Shield and retrieve most of the stolen nukes. In desperation, Dewinter almost detonated one in Los Angeles, California, but the nuke was located and destroyed by Crenshaw before it could be detonated, saving the city. In the end, Artemis Global Security is completely destroyed by the US Forces and HAWX Squadron, and Dewinter is killed by Crenshaw when the he take out his secret base, killing him and his Board of Directors.
With Artemis destroyed, the international community began to process of ensuring that such an event could never occur again, as the war had caused 40,000 civilian casualties in America and illustrated the problems posed by private military companies in stark detail. The United Nations begin a crackdown on every single PMC, forcing them to either assume a limited logistical support role for national militaries, or be dissolved completely. Never again would global military power be dominated by PMCs.