Skip to main content


Back to Resources

Humanitarian Non-Governmental Organizations and International Private Security Companies

31 December, 2006



Table of Contents


Section One
Violence and Different Approaches Towards Security
NGO/PSC Interaction and Human Security

Section Two
Approaches to Security and Market Ecology
NGO Linkage to Other Actors
Intra and Inter Organizational Challenges

Section Three
NGO Activism
NGO/Donor Relations
International Committee of the Red Cross



The international private security industry has been the focus of increasing attention since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. For the US Army alone, the US Government Accountability Office reported in 2006 that 60,000 contracted personnel supported its operations in Southwest Asia. This is a considerable increase from the only 9,200 contracted personnel that assisted the US Army in the first Gulf War. An increase of this magnitude also signifies the qualitative breadth and depth of the private presence. Firms have been employed to perform numerous tasks ranging from translation to logistics to maintenance and even, in some cases, the application of violence.

Though considerable attention has been focused upon the interaction between the US government and international private security companies (PSCs), the type of contracting firm most likely to employ violence, the net should be cast wider to consider other PSC clientele. This is because these relationships present their own interesting dynamics, but it is also because the direction these developments take may be important for the successful execution of policy.