Global Policy Forum

Private Military & Security Companies (PMSCs)


The use of private military and security companies (PMSCs) has widely increased over the last two decades. PMSCs operate in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Gulf of Aden as well as Latin America, and Western governments are also increasingly hiring private contractors for domestic purposes.

The United Nations has dramatically increased its use of PMSCs in recent years, hiring them for a wide array of “security services” and giving them considerable influence over its security policies as a 2012 GPF report revealed.

Until today, this problem has not been solved as the Report on Contracting Insecurity underlines.

PMSC personnel have been involved in a number of scandals that highlight the risks and the potential for misconduct in the industry. However, there is no mechanism able to hold PMSCs accountable under national and international law.

While there are a number of national and international laws that regulate the use of private armies, existing legislation was not created with modern private security contractors in mind. Binding overshight bodies and mechanisms will be the only way to regulate the increasing spread of PMSCs around the world.

Countries in which PMSCs Operate

PMSCs: Risks and Misconduct

Regulation and Oversight of PMSCs

PMSCs and the United Nations


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