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CIAO DATE: 12/00

The Privatization Of Security

Robert Mandel

International Students Association
41th Annual Convention
Los Angeles, CA.
March 14-18, 2000


In the post-Cold War era, the zest for privatization has spread around the world like wildfire. Associating privatization with both efficiency and effectiveness, most have hailed it as a major step forward, contrasting its benefits sharply to the failures of bloated over-centralized government bureaucracies. This unrestrained admiration for private sector performance has caused many countries to apply this management system in virtually every conceivable sector. Most recently, even the area most tightly associated with government functioning–the provision of security for its citizenry–has fallen prey to the privatization tidal wave.

This article undertakes a comprehensive exploration of the privatization of security. After summarizing recent trends and supplying a theoretical context, it begins by presenting a multifaceted taxonomy of the different types of security privatization, and then proceeds to examine carefully the causes and potential consequences of this pattern (including a highly tentative set of hypotheses about its dangers). Brief case study evidence illustrates and fleshes out the generalizations presented. Finally, this piece concludes with an assessment of the complexities surrounding responses to security privatization.

This study’s thrust is distinctive in several ways. While the literature on the privatization of security has expanded considerably over the last five years, it tends to follow certain predictable patterns, most notably to look at only one piece of the complex puzzle rather than the whole. Some writings thus deal in a rather isolated fashion with global trends involving only government outsourcing of military functions, mercenaries or private military companies, arms proliferation among the general population, gated communities and private police forces, or militia, vigilante, and gang activities. Other publications concern themselves solely with certain implications of security privatization, such as the relationship to human rights violations, at the expense of other issues. Moreover, most analyses neglect to provide any kind of overarching theoretical perspective that links the specific concerns identified to wider sea-changes in global security.

To compensate for these tendencies, this is a largely theoretical, broadly integrative study of the subject of security privatization. While this orientation runs the risk of being shallow and over-generalized in spots, it has the distinct benefit of being able to highlight the many parallels involved in the differing facets of the intricate security privatization picture. Weaving together foreign with domestic, top-down with bottom-up, combat supporting with military advising, and offensive with defensive private security services, this analysis aspires to stimulate fresh thinking on an issue that desperately cries out for sustained and systematic attention from the international community.

Dispassionate assessment of the privatization of security appears to be particularly urgent because of the prevalence of polemical stereotypes and close-minded judgments both for and against this trend. Critics see all privatized security services as disruptive, involving rabid mercenary "dogs of war" who exploit violence for personal gain or who are agents for unsavory powers; or they see all such activity as promoting repression, turmoil, and human rights violations. On the other hand, many private security service providers see themselves as just another business fulfilling client needs in a manner requiring no special attention, and many government officials privately voice a strong belief that privatized security provides stability and saves lives in areas where nothing else would do the trick.


Recent Trends In Security Privatization

Prior to analyzing the security privatization dilemma, a brief summary of the recently-emerging state of affairs seems appropriate. The overall pattern, as Michael Klare aptly identifies it, is "the growing privatization of security and violence" in which "we are seeing a growing tendency of individuals, groups, and organizations to rely on private security forces rather than on the state’s police and paramilitary formations." 1 There appear to be three trends worthy of particular notice: the spread of military armaments to the population at large, the growth of private security forces, and the increasing involvement of mercenaries in ongoing conflicts. These three highly interrelated developments combine to paint quite a different picture of global security challenges than under the more statecentric government-oriented assessments that still dominate much thinking in this field.

For the first time since the emergence of the nation-state, more military weapons are in the hands of private citizens than in the hands of national governments. As Jessica Matthews of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace notes, "the steady concentration of power in the hands of states, which began in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia, is over, at least for a while" in part due to ability of private military companies to wage war." 2 While national governments still maintain the advantage in actual firepower, since they possess the majority of the large weapons systems, they have the minority of the kinds of small arms used in the kinds of low-intensity conflicts that have actually broken out since the end of the Cold War. Much of the problem here is due to the dramatic growth in the clandestine transfer of this light weaponry across national boundaries: the robust international weapons infrastructure stimulated by the 1980s boom has refused to wither in the 1990s, with excess supply of arms and excess capacity in arms production combined with greater visibility of subnational turmoil fostering intensified competition by arms producers to enter foreign markets. 3 This spread of arms within nations has caused many advanced industrial societies to join with Third World states in becoming more concerned about internal rather than external security threats.

At the same time this rather uncontrolled proliferation of conventional arms is occurring, there is an explosion in the growth of private militias, vigilante squads, transnational criminal organizations, self-defense forces, and survivalist enclaves. These groups have differing agendas, but they are united in their belief that they need to provide their own security in a highly threatening environment because the government is unable or unwilling to do so. Some of these groups emerge due to a desire to preserve the status quo, such as protective private security services, and others develop due to a desire to overthrow the status quo, such as angry insurgent factions. Although often identified as being located primarily in inner-cities, these groups have become ubiquitous, found in rural as well as urban areas and rich as well as poor parts of countries. Regardless of their goals, the spread of these groups can legitimize the use of coercion and feed "a cycle of violence in many societies that in turn causes even greater demand for guns." 4 These private forces in many cases dwarf both national armies and public police forces. 5

A final piece of the emerging security tapestry is the growing involvement of mercenaries in local wars around the world. With the international community continuing to be reluctant to intervene in a sustained and effective way in armed conflicts that are perceived as strictly internal disputes, and the glut of highly-skilled military personnel available since the end of the Cold War and military downsizing, the supply of those eager to fight for profit on foreign soil and the demand for them to do so appear to be escalating in unison. 6 Embattled countries that find themselves low on munitions, training, or able-bodied soldiers can simply go on the international marketplace and buy what they need to keep fighting. Mercenaries have been hired by countries in all parts of the world, including places as varied as Vatican City, United Arab Emirates, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Kashmir, the former Yugoslavia, Ethiopia, and Colombia. There is every indication that the pattern of mercenary involvement in armed conflicts is more widespread during the 1990s than at any time since the 1960s. 7


Theoretical Context Of Security Privatization

The fundamental underlying theoretical question surrounding the privatization of security is who has, and who should have, the legitimate authority to use physical coercion in pursuit of security. The structure of the nation-state, buttressed by the concept of sovereignty, has control by national governments over the use of force at its core–"the ultimate symbol of the sovereignty of a nation is its ability to monopolize the means of violence, i.e. raise, maintain, and use military forces." 8 Admittedly in practice, however, there have always been extra-governmental applications of force deemed by the international community as either inevitable or unobjectionable. The problem here derives from the clouding of the notion of legitimacy in today’s global setting: under prevailing norms, who can define what security-providing bodies or uses of military coercion are proper according to a set of (nonexistent) universally accepted principles? The predicament becomes even fuzzier when one considers the existence of failed states, whose governments are unable to manage security affairs; rogue states, whose governments employ military measures both internally and externally in arbitrary ways; and corrupt states, whose governments are unconcerned about the security of their citizens. What with the rise in power of well-respected transnational and subnational groups offering security services comparable in quality to those provided by governments, there is a growing sentiment in many parts of the world that the distinction between public and private in the security realm is becoming increasingly arbitrary. The global spread of free-market values, promoting competitive privatization as optimal in all spheres of human activity, supports the notion that security privatization is a progressive step forward moving beyond the confining and outmoded mantle of the nation-state.

From a historical perspective, there is no reason to believe that having national governments monopolize the instruments of security is best. Looking at the broad sweep of legitimized violence from the origins of the nation-state to the present, Janice Thomson is highly skeptical about the utility of governmental monopolies on the use of force to promote security:

The contemporary organization of global violence is neither timeless nor natural. It is distinctly modern. In the six centuries leading up to 1900, global violence was democratized, marketized, and internationalized. Nonstate violence dominated the international system. Individuals and groups used their own means of violence in pursuit of their particular aims, whether honor and glory, wealth, or political power. People bought and sold military manpower like a commodity on the global market. The identity of suppliers or purchasers meant almost nothing. 9

Privatized security was consistently attractive over the centuries because it often ended up saving the rulers money and because it allowed for the responsibility-avoiding escape route of "plausible deniability" (a concept first mentioned explicitly in the seventeenth century): governments began authorizing privatized security forces as early as the thirteenth century, when privateering emerged for the first time; large private armies were widespread in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; and mercenaries were commonplace in the eighteenth century. 10

To understand the notion of security privatization more fully, it seems important to place it in the context of broader privatization trends in the post-Cold War era. This is truly the "age of privatization," where "communities are hiring for-profit firms to perform the tasks that have traditionally fallen to government–educating children, running prisons, and even building and maintaining highways." 11 It is widely agreed that "if any economic policy could lay claim to popularity, at least among the world’s political elites, it would certainly be privatization." 12 Generally, the rationale for the spread of privatization is maximizing efficiency, output quality, and effectiveness in services, accentuated by the declining quality and funding of public services provided in many areas. Aside from the direct provision of security to populations in need, privatization has spread in recent years to many other sensitive areas traditionally under governmental control, including the closely-linked defense industry (militarily-oriented multinational corporations), telecommunications industry (especially telephone companies), and transportation industry (particularly the airlines). Even though the results of privatization have been decidedly mixed, 13 the attraction to it as a panacea has not seemed to diminish in the slightest.

This march toward privatization in many sectors does, however, have a peculiar relationship to the inexorable trend of globalization. On the one hand, privatization and globalization appear to go hand-in-hand, as both believe that comparative advantage and competition maximize the possibility that the best products and services–in the case of security privatization, the weapons, military training, and fighting forces–will rise to the top. On the other hand, however, privatization can be inconsistent with globalization in localizing and isolating what is provided; in the case of security services, privatization can lead to pockets of highly different types and levels of security across communities and countries, with numerous gaps in between protected regions and populations. Security privatization appears to have a greater potential than other forms of privatization to lead to fragmentation rather than integration of the global community.

Just as looking at the broader privatization picture helps illuminate the special place of security privatization, so does embedding this trend in the wider context of post-Cold War international security discussions. Among security analysts there is certainly a spirited ongoing debate about whether national governmental sovereignty is declining or even transforming. 14 There are general suspicions among both camps that privatized security makes alliances, collective security, and burden-sharing more difficult; threats to internal security more likely; arms control more porous, and predictable deterrence relationships more unstable. From the vantage point of a state commissioning privatized security as a means of foreign military assistance, it reaps the advantages of increased flexibility in terms of its defense commitment; so from the vantage point of the recipient state, it suffers the drawback of not having a clear globally-recognized signal that another government is firmly in its security court for the long haul.

From the standpoint of overseas political risk management, a security end valued by both governments and multinational corporations, 15 the privatization of security moves those engaging in it from simply assessing security risks to controlling them. Companies operating internationally have a long tradition of hiring bodyguards and mercenaries to provide security for their personnel and operations, and governments have a well-established pattern of working with private paramilitary groups to stabilize areas they perceive to be crucial. Such efforts, of course, have a distinct possibility of irritating indigenous populations in affected regions. A critical component of political risk management has always been intelligence, and the international growth in privatized security has caused government and corporate intelligence efforts to move beyond their customary focus on foreign government military activities to incorporate the far more difficult tracking of private armies across national borders.

Many of the unruly groups involved in security-eroding "deadly transfers" 16 across national boundaries find the privatization of security to be a real advantage. The spread of transnational criminal organizations, themselves using private enforcement systems motivated by profit rather than political gain, is completely in tune with the proliferation of privatized defensive measures taken against them. Gunrunners involved in clandestine arms transfers find privatized security forces a ready market for their wares. Because of the apolitical stance of privatized security forces, rogue states, terrorist groups, drug lords, and other unruly actors find means of coercion more readily available for their use than they would otherwise.

Currently there are few if any fully-state-owned military security structures, and the idiosyncratic (and often self-centered) individual quest for security cannot be fully satisfied by the state. Most security analysts have thus begun to accept the inevitability of the entrance of private military companies into the mix of ingredients providing national and international security, as indeed the legitimacy of these firms has been growing slowly, with several even tasked by the United Nations to provide security support for international peacekeeping and relief operations. 17 But acceptance of this trend and understanding how to integrate effectively public and private security initiatives are two very different things.


Taxonomy Of Security Privatization

While many analyses treat the movement toward the privatization of security as if it were describing one unified homogeneous phenomenon, in reality this trend encompasses a variety of different interrelated patterns. The basic definition of security privatization, involving the non-governmental provision of military services, leaves a lot of ambiguity about what is included under this mantle. Different types of security privatization reflect the scope, form, and purpose involved.. Through a brief clarification of these distinctions in this section ( figure 1 summarizes the overall taxonomy), it quickly becomes clear that many sweeping generalizations about privatized security need qualification.

Beginning with issues of scope, here is where popular misunderstanding is often greatest. Most of the awareness and discussion centers on privatized foreign security assistance, supplied by non-governmental sources in one state (sometimes at the request of a government) to either governmental or non-governmental parties in another state. This may be initiated either by the provider (which tends to be within advanced industrial societies) or the recipient (which tends to be in developing countries). But an equally important pattern, largely ignored by many examining foreign security assistance, occurs when the provider and recipient are within the same country: in many states, both developed and developing, national government police forces responsible for maintaining internal order are being replaced by privatized security forces composed of people indigenous to that same society. Situations where foreign security assistance goes to both a national army and a government police force, or where a single private company provides both domestic and foreign security services, serve to cloud this distinction a bit. In any case, the artificial isolation of external from internal security privatization seems particularly odd since the growth of private security services internationally is to a great degree an extension of their more prominent domestic role. 18

A second distinction relating to scope revolves around whether the privatized security is fundamentally top-down or bottom-up. It is readily apparent that three different parties may be involves in security privatization–governments (though these by definition cannot be direct providers), corporations, and societal groups and individuals. When a government decides to have outsourcing of its internal or external security functions to private security providers, either domestic or foreign, that is a top-down initiation of privatized security. When individuals or loosely-organized societal groups (such as militias, vigilantes, criminals, neighborhood watches, self-defense forces, gangs, and survivalists) decide for themselves to provide their own security or to offer security services to others, that is a bottom-up form of privatized security. When a multinational corporation decides to provide security services for itself, or decides to hire a private security firm (again either from its own home state or from abroad), it is less immediately apparent whether this is top-down or bottom-up; this middle ground category where one firm hires another for security purposes may grow in the future, as multinational corporations–in exchange for future concessions–finance private military companies in client nations where governments cannot afford this cost. 19

Moving to the form of the security privatization, the most crucial distinction is between providing direct combat support and providing military advice. Within the category of direct combat support, which is generally considered to be the more intense form of privatized security, a provider may participate directly in military operations by supplying the fighting forces themselves (usually in the form of mercenaries or private armies) and the tools of violence (usually small and large conventional weapons systems). Within the category of military advice, the provider may supply classroom education on fighting strategy and tactics, battlefield training to the designated recipients, or even insight on civil-military relations within democratic systems. Hazy areas in between these two categories include logistics support during battle and restoration of order after a conflict has ended. Due to its more immediate strategic impact on the balance of military power, 20 it is widely agreed that direct combat support needs to be separated from military advice. While most of the attention in the popular press has focused on direct combat support, the privatized provision of military advice has been much more commonplace in recent years.

Finally, turning to the purpose of the privatized security, the most important distinction is between offensive and defensive aims. Although in security circles making a clear-cut offensive-defensive divide has become quite difficult (for example, now it is virtually impossible to separate definitively offensive from defensive weapons), differentiating between the two here appears crucial here because of the different baggage associated with each in the security privatization context.. In particular, many make a moral distinction between protecting people and attacking people for money: with defensive tasks constituting the vast majority of what private security companies handle these days, they appear much more palatable to those with these scruples. 21 The motive of the recipient, not the provider, is the key to splitting the two orientations. If a recipient obtains private security services with the aim of keeping order, guarding against threat, and maintaining the status quo, then this falls squarely in the defensive category. If, on the other hand, a recipient obtains private security services in order to overthrow an established legitimate government, then this is clearly an offensive application. The gray area in between is, of course, quite vast, due in large part to the obfuscation in today’s anarchic global environment about what exactly constitutes the status quo: some examples of this muddiness are using private security services to change the military balance in an ongoing conflict, to unseat an illegitimate despot who recently took control of a country by force, or to empower an angry separatist group that rejects the government in power.


Causes Of Security Privatization

As fits the variety of types of privatized security, there are many explanations of why the this phenomenon has mushroomed in recent years. This discussion of the sources of security privatization begins at the broadest global systemic level, then moves to the level of state and non-governmental organization responses, and finally trickles down to the level of the mass public. This cornucopia of motivations helps to identify the many different gaps privatized security is supposed to fill and the many different tasks it is expected to perform.

The broadest roots of the privatization of security stem from the end of the Cold War. With the breakdown of the bipolar system, states could no longer depend on the superpowers to restrain internal conflicts and provide external security, and many governments found themselves without the means–in terms of funding or skilled manpower–to supply meaningful protection themselves. Because of the absence of clear and immediate outside threat, defense funding and manpower has declined, with most national governments having significantly downsized their military expenditures, forces, and munitions; even the West has experienced a significant decline in standards for the armed forces. 22 The cutback on uniformed officers, in particular, left a glut of those possessing military expertise who had to look to places other than governments for meaningful work. 23 In any case, the nature of the unconventional dangers and sources of turmoil that presented themselves in the post-Cold War environment did not appear readily containable through conventional military means.

Meanwhile the international arena, devoid of superpower domination, began cracking apart at the seams. Subnational and even transnational groups began to push more stridently for their own autonomy and for independent influence over the course of world affairs; these groups have been competitors to states as security providers at the same time as they have posed new kinds of security threats not addressable through traditional defenses. The result has been the emergence of an anarchic global playground setting, in which global rules of the game are breaking down. 24 In this context the legitimacy of national governments is eroding, as their attempts to use coercion to restore order have not been effective in the long run, 25 and the justifiability of the times they chose to act in this manner is seen as arbitrary. Without the clear and present danger of an unambiguous outside threat, many governments cannot defend to their citizens why they need externally-oriented security forces.

Strong Western governments no longer see that it is in their national interests to intervene to achieve stability in distant parts of the world, with an increasingly unclear basis for legitimate coercive action due to the uncertain payoff, the high risks of involvement, and murkiness about which side to assist. Moreover, the pervasive indifference to these foreign predicaments among the mass public, whose wealth and position make them want protection for themselves (despite their questionable loyalty to the state) but at the same time reluctant to sacrifice their lives for the protection of others in far away lands, reinforces this noninvolvement. 26 Weak Third World governments, often on the verge of becoming "failed states," find themselves lacking military means to manage their own internal violence 27 and lacking popular support due to conflicting tribes and factions within their own borders. With the stiff demands they face to get outside aid, as Western states require movement toward democracy and the World Bank and IMF require implementation of structural adjustment programs that cut into military budgets, 28 these beleaguered governments may perceive private military sources as the best way to maintain stability because these outside groups are disinterested in politics and therefore less likely to conspire with internal groups to overthrow the regime. Within such a chaotic environment, as one would expect, conventional arms transfers are proliferating and seeping into the mass population. 29

As people have begun to recognize these protection changes, many groups have ceased to rely on the government and sought to provide their own private security. Given the declining sense of responsibility to a broader community and the emphasis on immediate self-gratification, 30 a patchwork of tribalism is spreading around the globe, with groups focusing on their own affairs, providing for their own protection, and not caring about others (or caring about them only enough to keep them out). Massive public fear about the seemingly uncontrollable spread of violence, crime, and social decay, the absence of visibly effective state protection, the resistance to government intrusion in people’s daily lives stemming from the spread of individualistic democratic values, and the rise in power of unruly groups serve to accelerate this trend: in wealthy countries people believe the public police are inadequately staffed to provide all of their demanding security needs; 31 and in many Third World countries, the widespread corruption of the police all but eliminates the possibility of official government protection from these dangers. In such settings filled with paranoia it is indeed unsurprising that private military companies providing a vast range of private security services have flourished both domestically and internationally. With the spread of free-market values, legitimized by the growing universality of economic liberalism, it seems only rational for private groups to fill the pressing security gap left vacant by governments and intergovernmental organizations. 32

Private military companies, as they have come to be known in recent years, seem tailor-made for exactly this kind of need. They often possess great flexibility with an ability to create unique solutions for each case, knowledge about the problem area and operational expertise, business integrity, secure confidentiality, and a completely apolitical nature. 33 When a government chooses to outsource to these companies, then the state bears no accountability for undesired consequences (back to the plausible deniability argument mentioned earlier), deaths of citizens, or moral and legal dilemmas about the legitimacy of an intervention. 34 With virtually all internationally-oriented private military companies emanating from advanced industrial societies, smaller state recipients of their services may believe that such arrangements can reinforce constructive interdependence with the West. 35 Given some of the unusual international circumstances where security services are necessary these days, such as dealing with the protection of international relief workers responding to complex humanitarian emergencies, 36 outsourcing security services to private military companies looks increasingly attractive. These private military companies also serve broader corporation as well as government interests: they offer a means (along with ongoing moves toward diversification and globalization) 37 for militarily-oriented multinationals to maintain profitability during a time of shrinking defense contracts; and they provide an easily-accessible means for other companies not at all involved in security issues to manage their own political risks abroad. 38


Opportunities And Dangers From Security Privatization

Given the recency of the post-Cold War move to security privatization and the sketchiness of definitive evidence revealing its full scope and nature, this section analyzes potential positive and negative effects rather than nailing down the consequences generated. The most important areas of impact appear to be changes in individual attitudes, societal norms, conflict management strategies, and foreign policy effectiveness. This section concludes by presenting a set of highly tentative hypotheses about when security privatization appears to be most and least dangerous.

Beginning with individual attitudes, the general concern here has to do with the impact on a sense of broad obligation to the community as a whole. There is quite a bit of evidence to suggest that the privatization of security weakens individuals’ feeling of mutual responsibility because it causes people to focus in a more microcosmic manner on the security of the targeted protected group. 39 In dealing with privatized domestic security substitution, privately protected enclaves seem to concern themselves only with the welfare of those in their in-group; and in dealing with privatized foreign security assistance, both the providers and the recipients appear to have no incentives to focus on the ripple effects of such efforts on surrounding areas. Often this narrowing of security focus tends to reinforce suspicion about out-groups and a lack of caring about their plight. Ultimately, the result can be a breakdown of respect for governmental authority, leading either to antagonism toward the regime right to rule or fear of its abuse of power. 40 Nonetheless, the opportunity provided by privatized security causes many affected individuals to feel a kind of comfort, openness, and all-around sense of well-being that they could never receive from overstretched and confined public security services.

Turning to societal norms, the largest gripe revolves around the disruption of the basis of social order. The fear of this interference appears to be greatest when dealing with privatized bottom-up security services provided by gangs and private militia than when dealing with privatized top-down security services provided by governments outsourcing security functions to established military companies. There is the ominous specter of a "might makes right" authority system, in which bludgeoning opponents into submission becomes the accepted mode of behavior, 41 threatening the very foundations of democracy. With private security forces unfettered in many societies by enforceable legislative or political restraints of any kind, the sense of accountability or limits on behavior can vanish. The result can be increased murkiness in distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate behavior and a degradation of national and international norms. 42 Friction may surface between private security forces and government army or police personnel. 43 Patriotism or a sense of "nationhood" may vanish in the process; 44 and overall societal security may erode as the gap between the security "haves" and "have-nots" widens. 45 At the same time, however, privatized security can in some instances be the very best way to preserve the particular traditions and values of a society devoid of other means of protection.

Moving to conflict management strategies, many worry that security privatization makes violence the tool of choice. The readily available private armies appear to make the resort to force more attractive for a variety of kinds of belligerent groups. 46 One of the ironic problems this creates is that the outcome of uses of force both internally and externally may become more indeterminate: possessing overwhelming force sufficient to attain one’s objectives appears to be less likely when a weak opponent can compensate for its inadequacies quickly by hiring a private army, and thus the predictable workings of stable conflict-preventing deterrence relationships seem less likely. The possibility also exists that legitimizing the use of violence by those not subject to strict restraints can increase the frequency and severity of human rights violations or other crimes against humanity. 47 Even the most avid proponent of military force as a way of resolving problems would know that it is dangerous to use the threat of counter-violence (in this case, through privatized security) as the sole means of decreasing the chances that violence will be used against you; a spiraling arms race can easily result here. An unintended consequence of security privatization on conflict management may thus be to militarize the official governmental police forces to keep up with prevailing coercion thresholds. 48 Regardless of these concerns, in the most severe problems of uncontrollable turmoil, privatized security services may be the only option with any hope of restoring order, filling a void where existing government authorities are fearful of treading due to political, military, or financial costs. 49

Finally, regarding foreign policy effectiveness, the wisdom of choosing privatized security has been subject to severe questioning. Some claim utilizing this means in this arena is the equivalent of conducting foreign policy "by proxy," with the long-standing asset of plausible deniability eliminating the possibility of any sustained and coherent link between foreign policy principles and interventions actually undertaken. 50 Others worry that it makes no sense from a national security standpoint that military assistance would be in effect for sale on the international marketplace, causing an uncontrolled dissemination of war-fighting skills, lethal arms to be viewed as neutral commodities, and a loss of faith in the official military establishment. 51 Still others are fearful that the availability of private military services may attract unhappy insurgent groups or feisty rogue states and used as a tool to foment instability. 52 There are even those who see private foreign military assistance as a new form of colonialism, where home governments use it as a subtle way to maintain influence over less powerful states. 53 Indeed, the most unscrupulous private military companies could have an interest in seeing violence and turmoil perpetuated to drum up business for their services. 54 However, representatives of private military companies argue that the integrity of their own staff prevents abuse of power, that they are careful in choosing clients that will not use newly-acquired capabilities back against these firms’ home states, and that in any case the defensive training and advice they give cannot be readily converted for offensive purposes. 55 Furthermore, many government officials, such as former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs James Woods, 56 do believe that privatized security efforts can help to relieve anarchy and chaos, keep local security disruptions from spreading, and provide sound defense against outside threat.

Figure 2 presents a brief set of highly tentative hypotheses about when security privatization appears to be most and least dangerous. These hypotheses are intuitive but need extensive exploration; the case examples of the privatization of security in the next section only illustrate some of the patterns and do not pretend to constitute proof. Several of the hypotheses link directly to the distinctions drawn in the taxonomy of security privatization. In any case, they are just a step toward stimulating movement away from simply descriptive discussions of the privatized security problem toward a more analytical conditional assessment of its costs and benefits.


Case Examples Of Security Privatization

Despite the absence of definitive comprehensive evidence on global patterns of security privatization, anecdotal data on particularly notorious cases abound. Because much of the data on security privatization is by nature both proprietary and confidential, the diverse empirical findings reported here are inescapably tentative and not necessarily representative of the overall trends, serving to suggest an agenda for future inquiry than to frame definitively existing realities. This case discussion is divided into two parts, dealing first with recipients of privatized foreign security assistance and then with recipients of privatized domestic security substitution. Due to space limitations the presentation of each example will necessarily be quite brief, with a focus on understanding its immediate precipitants and broader security implications.

Recipients of Privatized Foreign Security Assistance

By far the most widely discussed examples of security privatization concern assistance sent to distant foreign countries to stabilize or transform the dilemmas they face. The providers of this assistance come primarily from the United Kingdom, United States, France, and Israel, and they differ markedly in terms of the types of security services offered. The recipients of such aid are located in all parts of the Third World, as it is not always the poorest of the developing countries which take advantage of this privatized security help from abroad. The wide-ranging cases chosen for inclusion here are Sierra Leone representing Africa, Papua New Guinea representing Africa, Colombia representing South America, and the former Yugoslavia representing Europe.

Examining first the Sierra Leone case, this transmission of private foreign military assistance takes place within a continent that has received more attention than any other for the significance of privatized security impact (indeed, Angola, Liberia, and Zaire have also been recent regional recipients). 57 In May 1995, the government of Sierra Leone contracted with Executive Outcomes, a South Africa-based private military company that provides direct combat support (and officially ceased operations on December 31, 1998), to assist in quelling the rebel movement led by the Revolutionary United Front. Over the four-year war 1.5 million of the people in that country had become refugees and over 15,000 had been killed, and the government army was small, hastily recruited, devoid of professional skills, and corrupt. 58 Facing a desperate situation in which the insurgents had cut off the government’s last major source of domestic revenue earlier that year, President Valentine Strasser elicited direct combat support from Executive Outcomes, and within months the private company had cleared rebels from the capital, removed rebel troops from the principal diamond mining areas, trained local self-defense units to replace the government army, and even attracted other foreign investors in the mining industry. 59 This impact is not surprising when one takes into account widespread reports that an "unofficial alliance" exists between Executive Outcomes and the British-based Branch Energy company, now owned by the Canadian mining company DiamondWorks. 60 Although fostering short-term stability, this intervention created some long-range problems: Sierra Leone became subject to extensive influence from foreign mercenaries and experienced a seemingly endless need for protection. 61 Moreover, while in 1996 Sierra Leone’s democratic elections went well, with the new government continuing to rely on Executive Outcomes for security; when such dependence ended in February 1997, this new regime was overthrown by a coup the following May. 62

Moving to the Papua New Guinea case, private foreign security assistance did not even have a chance to be fully implemented before it had an explosive impact. Since 1989 the country had experienced internal turmoil, with a rebel force (the Bougainville Revolutionary Army) aggressively fighting government troops over secessionist issues revolving around control of a lucrative copper mine in Bougainville. Several thousand soldiers and civilians have died in the conflict, with Amnesty International accusing both sides of atrocities. 63 After Sir Julius Chan became Prime Minister in 1994, he soon realized that he could not militarily resolve the problem, and so in late January 1997 he initiated a $36 million contract with Sandline International, a London-based private military firm providing direct combat support and procurement assistance, to quell the rebellion. 64 Once this arrangement was made public on February 22nd, however, there was widespread outrage from the Australian government, which as a major aid provider to Papua New Guinea called the use of mercenaries "totally unacceptable;" from the World Bank, which said it would review its loans because of the mercenaries, and from the citizenry of the country itself. 65 Even more importantly, Brigadier General Jerry Singirok, chief of the government army, denounced the deal with Sandline and on March 17th called for Prime Minister Chan’s resignation. 66 Facing mounting internal and external pressures, he did just that on March 26th. Before the Sandline soldiers even fired a shot, forty of them were ejected from the country by the government army, and Lieutenant Colonel Tim Spicer, head of the Sandline operation, was arrested on the charge of illegally possessing a pistol and ammunition. 67 Ultimately the incident turned into a source of humiliation on all sides, even though a subsequent judicial inquiry revealed that the contract issued to Sandline was legitimate, that Sandline appropriately complied with its terms, and that corruption was not present. 68

Turning to the Colombia case, private foreign security assistance went to a corporation instead of a government. It is well established that Defence Systems Limited, a United Kingdom-based private military company that provides military training and logistics support, has helped (along with the government army) since 1992 to protect British Petroleum from guerrilla attacks on its operations in Colombia. 69 Defence Systems Limited has set up a company called Defence Systems Colombia to handle this contract, reportedly worth one million pounds. 70 As it turns out, BP operates in Casanare, a remote region near the Venezuelan border that is the stronghold of the National Liberation Army, Colombia’s second-largest guerrilla group whose favorite target is oil pipelines. 71 In 1996-97, BP was a target of numerous accusations of complicity in murder, torture, and intimidation, with its private security forces said to include former army officers with poor human-rights records. 72 More specifically, locals who spoke out claimed that they lived in fear of private paramilitary death squads cleansing the area of perceived troublemakers, with the Colombian army doing nothing to restrain this activity; while BP has not directly instigated this violence, the leaders of protests against BP appear to be singled out for persecution. 73 In response to these accusations, British Petroleum has "kept its head down" and has made no major effort to defend its reputation, arguing that it is a victim of a smear campaign by the National Liberation Army. 74 Similarly, Defence Systems Limited has argued that it "always acts within the laws of those countries in which it operates" and that’s people do not carry arms but rather just provide advice. 75

Finally, examining the case in the former Yugoslavia, private foreign security assistance has attempted to alter the balance of power and restore a measure of stability. Since Serbia attacked Slovenia and Croatia in June 1991 and Bosnia in April 1992, the region has experienced tremendous turmoil. In March 1994 the Pentagon recommended to the beleaguered Croatian Defense Minister to seek help from MPRI (Military Professional Resources Incorporated), a United States-based private military company providing military training and analysis, and soon afterwards MPRI began advising them on military training and on how to run a military force in a democracy with a civilian-controlled army. 76 This effort came to fruition in August 1995 when, seven months after MPRI began its work, the Croatian army drove the Serbs out of the Krajina region. 77 Buoyed by this success, in May 1996 MPRI garnered a three-year contract with the Bosnian government to build up its army against the Serbs: this "train and equip" program involves helping with logistical structure, personnel management, and military training, is reportedly worth $400 million, and is funded in part by Islamic nations including Brunei, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. 78 Proponents of this MPRI intervention argue that the sooner Bosnian forces can defend themselves, the sooner international troops can leave; but skeptics respond that increasing the power of the Bosnian forces may ultimately lead to increased violence in the region, offensive Bosnian moves to recapture lost territory, and a breakdown of the cease-fire agreed to under the 1995 Dayton Accords. 79 Notwithstanding the recent turmoil in Kosovo, MPRI claims that its operations in Bosnia have indeed been effective, measured by both the absence of significant fighting within Bosnia and the three-time renewal of MPRI’s contract there. 80

In reviewing these examples of privatized foreign security assistance, the military proficiency of the private military companies involved in managing the tasks assigned is not at issue, but questions do emerge about the broader implications. In some cases, such as in Sierra Leone and the former Yugoslavia, the initial impact was clearly stabilizing, but there is as yet no reason to be sure that after the departure of foreign privatized military assistance chaos will not return; while this pattern is certainly typical of governmental military assistance programs as well, one could certainly hope for more from privatized security. The demonstrated or alleged links between private military companies and mining interests in the Sierra Leone, Papua New Guinea, and Colombia cases provokes inquiry about whether privatized security ultimately serves either government interests or those of the society as a whole in recipient countries. The accusations about human rights violations in the Colombia case, and the internal and external outrage in response to security privatization in the Papua New Guinea case, show that many private military companies continue to suffer from severe image problems regardless of the level of appropriateness of their actual behavior.

Recipients of Privatized Domestic Security Substitution

For whatever reason, as mentioned earlier, most discussions of the global privatization of security either omit or downplay those circumstances when the decision is made within nations to replace one’s own government security services with private security services. This type of behavior occurs within a wide range of both advanced industrial and developing countries, and can take a variety of forms ranging from large private armies to small groups of security guards. The cases included here are the United States representing North America, the United Kingdom representing Europe, South Africa representing Africa, and the Philippines representing Asia.

Looking first at the United States case, the most powerful nation in the world has witnessed in recent years the erosion of governmental control over its internal security. The statistics are indeed jarring: 81 $52 billion was spent in 1990 on private security compared to $30 billion on public police; there are today more than 10,000 security companies employ 1.5 million guards, over triple the 554,000 state and local police officers; and "the more than 100,000 gun-toting private guards have more firepower than the combined police forces of the nation’s 30 largest urban centers." This past decade has seen an incredible explosion of private security in many forms, including private corporate run prisons, security guards protecting businesses and personal property, and rent-a-cops maintaining urban order. Gated communities, often involving armed patrols and electric fencing, are perhaps the most visible and intrusive sign of this trend: this particular form of privatization began to spread dramatically in the 1980s to the point where in 1997 there were 20,000 such residential areas composed of more than three million units; and many of these are "security zone" communities in which bottom-up efforts by residents (not top-down efforts by local governments or developers) end up closing off access to neighborhoods. 82 Even on an individual level, the purchase of home security systems, most notably provided by Brink’s Home Security, has achieved unparalleled popularity. Whatever the form of domestic privatized security, these alarming trends are triggered by mass fear of violence and crime combined with diminishing confidence in the ability of government security forces to manage the dangers properly. While in reality the national violent crime rates have actually dropped in the late 1980s and early 1990s, media exposure and the unpredictability of perpetrators have kept the American public in a near-panic state of mind. 83 But despite providing a sense of increased security for those protected, privatized domestic security generates some long-term problems: the private security industry is largely unregulated and often hires poorly trained and inadequately screened guards who have in numerous instances engaged in unwarranted violence or shady dealings themselves; 84 and private security enclaves may lead to internal and external conflict and even racial tensions without any convincing demonstration of effectiveness in terms of significant crime reduction or closeness of community. 85

Moving to the United Kingdom case, the pattern is equally unnerving. In Great Britain as with the United States, the private security industry is larger than the government’s police force, with 7,850 private security firms in the United Kingdom employing more than 162,000 people, compared to 142,000 public police. 86 The roles of these private police are multifaceted, including walking the streets, monitoring public demonstrations, escorting prisoners, and guarding government buildings; and the British government–playing a more promotional role than any of the other governments in the internal security cases discussed here–wants to assign even more tasks to them. 87 The problem here is that these private forces are often "unregulated, unaccountable, badly trained, and full of crooks," inducing a more than occasional sense of fear among those supposedly protected, mass confusion about the boundaries of responsibility between the private and public police, and friction between the police and private security companies. 88 A more deeply-rooted concern is that the British private security industry responds only to client-driven responsibilities and is regulated only by market forces, in contrast to public police who bear "a national responsibility to society at large." 89

Turning to the South Africa case, it is indeed ironic that a country that finally shed its racist apartheid regime has had to turn heavily to privatized domestic security. The scope of this effort is huge, with South African private security firms employing 130,000 guards and earning almost $1.5 million in 1997, more than three times as much as 1990. 90 There are now ten times more private police than public police in South Africa. 91 Under apartheid, the public police "protected whites and oppressed blacks;" but now "whites no longer feel safe, and blacks want a proper police service;" both are now disappointed in what the government can provide and do not trust the police to maintain law and order. 92 The reasons the governmental police cannot do the job include low pay, widespread corruption, more restricted police powers, and frictions between veterans of the old apartheid police and new recruits from the African National Congress’ old guerrilla army. 93 As a result, private security guards are ubiquitous, watching cars for shoppers, patrolling malls, keeping banks and mining houses safe, and guarding houses and neighborhoods (South Africa has a rough equivalent of gated communities with streets and apartment blocks are guarded). 94 Although crime has decreased, the private security forces do not all have proper training (and have been accused of irregular behavior), and the private protection is not affordable to many of those who most need it. 95

Concluding with the Philippines case, the emergence of private domestic security forces here has not been a function of bottom-up demand from the mass public. Private armies–usually paid by powerful local politicians and wealthy provincial landowners in a tradition lasting for centuries–have controlled what goes on in much of the country, with 562 armed groups (ranging in size from a few individuals to units of 300) involving 24,000 men possessing around 11,000 weapons. 96 The largest security force in the Philippines is neither the 102,000-person national police nor the 120,000-person national army, but rather the 182,000 private security guards who are "virtually an army for hire," 97 with local bosses’ private armies clearly better equipped than government forces in some provinces. 98 With 228,000 licensed and unlicensed firearms present in the country, and lax controls on the books easily overcome by bribes, 99 the potential for anarchic coercion and violence seems huge. Indeed, a government official declared that "political warlords and their thugs have been responsible for some of the most gruesome and heinous crimes in the annals of our society." 100 Despite attempts by the Philippine government to rein in this private military activity, it continues even today, with gangs of heavily armed men roaming the countryside for economic gain. 101

In looking back at these cases of privatized domestic security substitution, it is clear that part of the citizenry feels a lot safer with this kind of protection–as with foreign security assistance coercive effectiveness is not seriously in question–but again wider questions surface. All of the examples raise concerns about the integrity of the private domestic security forces, and this appears to be a much more serious problem here than with the major private military companies providing international military assistance. The American, British, and South African cases highlight the possibility that privatized domestic security may exacerbate tensions between those protected and those unprotected, or between public and private police forces. The Philippines case illustrates how the government can easily see the spread of privatized domestic security forces as threatening to the stability of the country as a whole.


Complexities Surrounding Responses To Security Privatization

Weighing the dangers and opportunities resulting from the privatization of security highlighted through the case examples, it appears that the results are decidedly mixed. Many analysts have been quick to formulate solutions designed to eliminate the problems they perceive that privatized security has created. But one of the difficulties in moving directly to cures illustrated by this study is that security privatization raises a number of unresolved questions centering on ambiguities or inconsistencies in national and international norms. Until there is some agreement within and across societies about what is desired and what is legitimate, any attempt to suggest remedial policies appears to be premature.

More specifically, privatized security highlights a clash between some basic deeply-held values. There are tensions between the goals of security and profit, 102 revolving around both (1) whether regime perpetuation or revenue maximization should take precedence and (2) whether coercive force should be a market commodity or a prerogative of the state. Moreover, tensions exist between individual and community interests, revolving around the right to bear arms and to protect one’s own versus the broader responsibilities to serve the needs of the society as a whole. The spread of privatized security brings into question traditional understandings of the concepts of sovereignty and self-determination of peoples, and these understandings desperately need fresh discussion given the new realities about the possessors of coercive force. How, for example, does the widespread use of private security forces by a national government affects its legitimacy? A legal and ethical morass has emerged, in which none of the most important terms, including mercenaries and private military companies, can be universally delineated to anyone’s complete satisfaction. Widespread confusion exists about who has the right to hire private security forces (do transnational criminal organizations or terrorists have this privilege?), what rights these forces have within societies, and whose safety these forces enhance.

There appears to be no logic, in defending why governments are intrinsically better for managing all kinds of security threats than private security outfits, that is any more convincing than that defending why governments are intrinsically better for managing any other aspect of society than other types of private firms. In both cases public management works better under some conditions, and private management works better under others. The application of security privatization today has not differentiated well between those circumstances where it is effective and those where it is ineffective; any set of curative prescriptions thus needs to address itself to the task of trying to move the occurrence of privatized security to those conditions where it operates optimally in the minds of both the involved parties and the international community as a whole.

In contrast, while existing proposed solutions to reign in security privatization are important elements of a response, they generally seem inadequate. Although no global consensus exists about how to deal with this development, most analysts, even those most critical of this trend, agree that attempting to ban it completely is not an option and that constructive engagement is needed instead. 103 Transparency is by far the most popular suggestion among both private military companies and their critics; 104 but even if universally implemented, this idea would not go very far to reduce worries about the long-term dangers of privatized security. Some specifically suggest strengthened international conventions regarding mercenaries, tighter licensing procedures, or registration of private military companies, 105 but here enforcement obstacles loom particularly large. Others believe the problems stem from the availability of instruments of violence, and so they propose increased arms transfer restrictions across nations and increased gun control within nations to prevent weapons from getting into the hands of private groups; 106 but even though this approach links up particularly well to bottom-up privatized security initiatives, in may ways it appears to address symptoms rather than root causes of security privatization dangers.

While the primary purpose of this study is not prescription, its explanatory analysis suggests much more fundamental approaches be considered first to address the growing spread of security privatization. Rather than having as a focused target the providers or the tools of this protection, it suggests taking a very close look at addressing the plight of the recipients and the reasons they feel they need privatized sanctuary so desperately. What are the dangers they fear, and is their any way to reduce these threats? Those living in failing states or experiencing domestic violence may indeed with eyes wide open choose privatized security involving the application of coercion as the best way to achieve a short-term feeling of safety; but they need to become aware of the long-term dependence this engenders, the futility of isolated pockets of safety within an unsafe setting, and the inability of this approach to reduce substantially the growth of the dangers outside of their often temporary protected enclaves. We need to have more discussion and build more agreement about the acceptable types of private coercion, the occasions for its use, and the choice of who implements it. Without this awareness and discussion, there is a distinct possibility that efforts to reduce the spiraling anarchic violence within and across societies will actually be thwarted by the spread of privatized security, with protected groups becoming more ostrich-like in their unconcern for what goes on outside the sphere of their privatized safety. No amount of regulation of private security forces or weaponry will begin to induce those experiencing privatized security to think about the welfare of the broader community, whether it be inducing MPRI-protected Croats or Bosnians to think about the whole of the former Yugoslavia or inducing a security-guard protected gated community in Beverly Hills to think about the whole of Los Angeles. Ultimately, then, a concerted move to bolster and re-clarify the social contract between rulers and the ruled about mutual security responsibility appears to be a crucial prerequisite to transforming the privatization of security into a truly constructive force in modern global society.


 Figure 1: Taxonomy Of Security Privatization Back.

Scope of Privatized Security

  1. Foreign Assistance versus Domestic Substitution
  2. Privatized Foreign Security Assistance

    Non-governmental sources in one state provide privatized security services to either governmental or non-governmental parties in another state.

    Privatized Domestic Security Substitution

    Privatized security services provided by unofficial individuals or groups indigenous to a given society replace national government police services responsible for maintaining internal order.

  3. Top-Down versus Bottom-up

Privatized Top-Down Security Services

Governments outsource their internal or external security functions to private foreign or domestic providers.

Privatized Bottom-Up Security Services

Individuals or loosely-organized societal groups (such as militias, vigilantes, neighborhood watches, self-defense forces, gangs, and survivalists) initiate provision of security services to themselves or to others.

Form of Privatized Security

Direct Combat Support versus Military Advice

Privatized Direct Combat Support

Private providers supply either the fighting forces themselves (usually in the form of mercenaries or private armies) or the tools of violence (usually small and large conventional weapons systems).

Privatized Military Advice

Private providers supply classroom education on fighting strategy and tactics or on-site battle training (in neither case are the providers involved in actual combat situations).

Purpose of Privatized Security

Defensive versus Offensive

Privatized Defensive Security Services

Recipients obtain private security services so as to keep order, guard against threat, and maintain the status quo.

Privatized Offensive Security Services

Recipients obtain private security services so as to overthrow established legitimate governments.


 Figure 2: Hypotheses About Security Privatization Dangers Back.

Privatized security efforts appear to be more dangerous in international relations when involving direct combat support than when involving military advice.

Privatized security efforts appear to be more dangerous in international relations when involving bottom-up initiation than when involving top-down initiation.

Privatized security efforts appear to be more dangerous in international relations when involving foreign security assistance than when involving domestic security substitution.

Privatized security efforts appear to be more dangerous in international relations when involving offensive rather than defensive motivations and goals.

Privatized security efforts appear to be more dangerous in international relations when involving recipients or providers from developing rather than developed countries.

Privatized security efforts appear to be more dangerous in international relations when involving a recipient government’s military security being replaced rather than augmented.

Privatized security efforts appear to be more dangerous in international relations when involving greater private provider power than that of its own or neighboring governments.

Privatized security efforts appear to be more dangerous in international relations when involving an unstable environment surrounding the provider or the recipient.



Note 1:  Michael T. Klare, "The Global Trade in Light Weapons and the International System in the Post-Cold War Era," in Lethal Commerce, edited by Jeffrey Boutwell, Michael T. Klare, and Laura W. Reed (Cambridge, MA: Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1995): p.40.Back.

Note 2:  Paul Lewis, "It’s Not Just Governments that Make War and Peace Now," New York Times (November 28, 1998): pp. B9, B11.Back.

Note 3:  Robert Mandel, Deadly Transfers and the Global Playground (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999), pp. 39-46.Back.

Note 4:  Michael Renner, "Curbing the Proliferation of Small Arms," in State of the World 1998, edited by Lester R. Brown and others (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998): p. 134.Back.

Note 5:  Michael Renner, Small Arms, Big Impact: The Next Challenge of Disarmament (Washington, D.C.: Worldwatch Institute Paper 137, October 1997): p. 17.Back.

Note 6:  International Alert, "An Assessment of the Mercenary Issue at the Fifty-Fifth Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights" (unpublished paper, May 1999).Back.

Note 7:  Ibid.Back.

Note 8:  David Isenberg, Soldiers of Fortune Ltd.: A Profile of Today’s Private Sector Corporate Mercenary Firms (Washington DC: Center for Defense Information Monograph, November 1997), p. 1.Back.

Note 9:  Janice E. Thomson, Mercenaries, Pirates, and Sovereigns: State-Building and Extraterritorial Violence in Early Modern Europe (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994): p. 2.Back.

Note 10:  Ibid., p. 21.Back.

Note 11:  Mark Thompson, "Generals for Hire," Time, 147 (January 15, 1996), p. 34.Back.

Note 12:  Harvey B. Feigenbaum and Jeffrey R. Henig, "Privatization and Political Theory," Journal of International Affairs, 50 (Winter 1997), p. 338.Back.

Note 13:  Ibid., p. 355; and Harvey Feigenbaum, Jeffrey Henig, and Chris Hamnett, Shrinking the State: The Political Underpinnings of Privatization (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).Back.

Note 14:  Robert Mandel, The Changing Face of National Security: A Conceptual Analysis (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994), pp. 1-14.Back.

Note 15:  Robert Mandel, "Predicting Overseas Political Instability: Perspectives of the Government Intelligence and Multinational Business Communities," Conflict Quarterly, 8 (Spring 1988), pp. 23-46.Back.

Note 16:  Mandel, Deadly Transfers and the Global Playground.Back.

Note 17:  Kevin O’Brien, "Freelance Forces: Exploiters of Old or New-Age Peacebrokers?," Jane’s Intelligence Review, 10 (August 1998): p. 42.Back.

Note 18:  David Shearer, Private Armies and Military Intervention (London: Oxford University Press, International Institute for Strategic Studies Adelphi Paper 316, 1998), p. 24.Back.

Note 19:  David Isenberg, "Have Lawyer, Accountant, and Guns, Will Fight: The New Post-Cold War Mercenaries," Paper presented at the annual national convention of the International Studies Association (Washington, DC: February 19, 1999): p. 9.Back.

Note 20:  Shearer, Private Armies and Military Intervention, pp. 23-24.Back.

Note 21:  "Can Anyone Curb Africa’s Dogs of War?," Economist, 350 (January 16, 1999): p. 41.Back.

Note 22:  Shearer, Private Armies and Military Intervention, pp. 27-29.Back.

Note 23:  Ken Silverstein, "Privatizing War," Nation, 265 (July 28/August 4, 1997): p. 12.Back.

Note 24:  Mandel, Deadly Transfers and the Global Playground, pp. 1-13, 95-102.Back.

Note 25:  Shearer, Private Armies and Military Intervention, pp. 32-34.Back.

Note 26:  Summary of Proceedings, Defense Intelligence Agency Conference, "The Privatization of Security in Sub-Saharan Africa" (Washington, DC: unpublished document, July 24, 1998), pp. 1-2 .Back.

Note 27:  David Shearer, "Outsourcing War," Foreign Policy, 112 (Fall 1998): p. 70.Back.

Note 28:  Kirsten Sellars, "Old Dogs of War Learn New Tricks," New Statesman, 126 (April 25, 1997): p. 25.Back.

Note 29:   Robert Mandel, "Exploding Myths about Global Arms Transfers", Journal of Conflict Studies, 28 (Fall 1998), pp. 47-65.Back.

Note 30:   William H. McNeill, "Winds of Change," in Nicholas X. Rizopoulos, ed., Sea-Changes (New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1990): p. 176..Back.

Note 31:  Edward J. Blakely and Mary Gail Snyder, Fortress America: Gated Communities in the United States (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1997): p. 26.Back.

Note 32:   Shearer, Private Armies and Military Intervention, p. 74.Back.

Note 32:   Summary of Proceedings, pp. 1-2 .Back.

Note 34:  Shearer, Private Armies and Military Intervention, pp. 69-72.Back.

Note 35:  Private correspondence from Erik Mannik, Estonian Defense Ministry, June 15, 1999.Back.

Note 36:  Summary of Proceedings, pp. 1-2 .Back.

Note 37:   Robert Mandel, "The Transformation of the American Defense Industry: Corporate Perceptions and Preferences", Armed Forces & Society, 20 (Winter 1994), pp. 175-198.Back.

Note 38:   Summary of Proceedings, pp. 1-2 .Back.

Note 39:  Edward J. Blakely and Mary Gail Snyder, "Places to Hide," American Demographics 19 (May 1997): pp. 23-25.Back.

Note 40:  Julie Gallagher, "Anti-Social Security," New Statesman & Society, 8 (March 31, 1995): pp. 22-24.Back.

Note 41:  Shearer, "Outsourcing War," p. 75.Back.

Note 42:  Owen Greene, "From Mercenaries to Private Security Companies: Options for Future Policy Research," presentation at a Consultation on Private Military Companies held at the International Alert Offices in London on December 8, 1998.Back.

Note 43:  Herbert M. Howe, "Global Order and the Privatization of Security," Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, 22 (Summer/Fall 1998): p. 4.Back.

Note 44:  Blakely and Snyder, "Places to Hide," p. 25.Back.

Note 45:  John Harker, "Mercenaries: Private Power, Public Insecurity?," Life & Peace Institute (April 1998) p. 7.Back.

Note 46:  Greene, "From Mercenaries to Private Security Companies."Back.

Note 47:  "Philippines: Private Armies, Public Enemies," Economist, 328 (August 14, 1993); p. 34.Back.

Note 48:  Private Correspondence from Michael Renner, June 3, 1999.Back.

Note 49:  Howe, "Global Order and the Privatization of Security," p. 5.Back.

Note 50:  Silverstein, "Privatizing War," p. 12.Back.

Note 51:  Bruce D. Grant, "U.S. Military Expenditure for Sale: Private Military Consultants as a Tool of Foreign Policy," unpublished paper entered in the 1998 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategy Essay Competition, Institute for National Strategic Studies, 1998.Back.

Note 52:  Summary of Proceedings, p. 1-2.Back.

Note 53:  Howe, "Global Order and the Privatization of Security," p. 4.Back.

Note 54:  Private Correspondence from Erik Mannik, Estonian Defense Ministry, June 29, 1999.Back.

Note 55:  Interview with Ed Soyster, Vice President for Operations, MPRI, Alexandria, VA, July 23, 1999.Back.

Note 56:  Isenberg, "Have Lawyer, Accountant, and Guns, Will Fight," p. 9.Back.

Note 57:  Marcus Mabry, "Soldiers of Misfortune," Newsweek, 129 (February 24, 1997): pp. 40-41.Back.

Note 58:  Herbert M. Howe, "Private Security Forces and African Stability: The Case of Executive Outcomes," Journal of Modern African Studies, 36 (1998): pp. 313-314.Back.

Note 59:  William Reno, "Privatizing War in Sierra Leone," Current History, 96 (May 1997): pp. 228-229.Back.

Note 60:  Kevin Whitelaw, "Have Gun, Will Prop Up Regime," U.S. News & World Report, 122 (January 20, 1997): p. 47.Back.

Note 61:  Reno, "Privatizing War in Sierra Leone," pp. 229-230.Back.

Note 62:  O’Brien, "Freelance Forces," p. 43.Back.

Note 63:  Papua New Guinea: Executive Incomers," Economist, 342 (March 1, 1997): p. 40.Back.

Note 64:  Keith Suter, "Mercenaries, Mines and Mistakes," World Today, 53 (November 1997): p. 278.Back.

Note 65:  Ibid.Back.

Note 66:  "Papua New Guinea: Line in the Sand," Economist, 342 (March 29, 1997): p. 45.Back.

Note 67:  Ibid., pp. 44-45.Back.

Note 68:  Isenberg, "Have Lawyer, Accountant, and Guns, Will Fight," pp. 5-6.Back.

Note 69:  O’Brien, "Freelance Forces," p. 44.Back.

Note 70:  BP’s Secret Soldiers (Washington, DC: Center for Defense Information, June 1997),’s/Secret_Soldiers.txt p. 5.Back.

Note 71:  Colombia: BP at War," Economist, 344 (July 19, 1997): p. 33.Back.

Note 72:  Ibid.Back.

Note 73:  BP’s Secret Soldiers, p. 3.Back.

Note 74:  "Colombia: BP at War," p. 34.Back.

Note 75:  BP’s Secret Soldiers, pp. 9-10.Back.

Note 76:  Isenberg, Soldiers of Fortune Ltd., p. 15.Back.

Note 77:  Thompson, "Generals for Hire," p. 35.Back.

Note 78:  Isenberg, Soldiers of Fortune Ltd., p. 15; and O’Brien, "Freelance Forces," p. 44.Back.

Note 79:  Isenberg, Soldiers of Fortune Ltd., p. 15.Back.

Note 80:  Interview with Ed Soyster, Vice President for Operations, MPRI, Alexandria, VA, July 21, 1999.Back.

Note 81:  Mike Zielinski, "Armed and Dangerous: Private Police on the March," Covert Action Quarterly pp. 1-3.Back.

Note 82:  Blakely and Snyder, Fortress America, pp. 1-11, 99-101.Back.

Note 83:  Ibid., p. 100; and Zielinski, "Armed and Dangerous," p. 3.Back.

Note 84:  Zielinski, "Armed and Dangerous," pp. 3-9.Back.

Note 85:  Blakely and Snyder, Fortress America, pp. 120-121; and Blakely and Snyder, "Places to Hide," pp. 23-25.Back.

Note 86:  Gallagher, "Anti-Social Security," p. 23.Back.

Note 87:  Ibid., pp. 22-23.Back.

Note 88:  Ibid.Back.

Note 89:  Ibid., p. 24 Back.

Note 90:  "Behind the Razor Wire," Economist, 350 (January 16, 1999): p. 42.Back.

Note 91:  Howe, "Global Order and the Privatization of Security," p. 8.Back.

Note 92:  "Behind the Razor Wire," p. 42.Back.

Note 93:  Ibid.Back.

Note 94:  Ibid.Back.

Note 95:  Ibid.Back.

Note 96:  Rigoberto Tiglao, "Philippines: Safety Catch," Far Eastern Economic Review, 156 (September 16, 1993): p. 26; and "Philippines: Private Armies, Public Enemies," p. 34.Back.

Note 97:  "Philippines: Safety Catch," p. 26Back.

Note 98:  Donald Goertzen, "Muzzling Illicit Guns," Far Eastern Economic Review, 153 (July 25, 1991): p. 35.Back.

Note 99:  "Philippines: Safety Catch," p. 26Back.

Note 100:  "Philippines: Private Armies, Public Enemies," p. 34.Back.

Note 101:  "Philippines: Separatists and Warlords," Economist, 350 (February 6, 1999): p. 44.Back.

Note 102:  Mandel, Deadly Transfers and the Global Playground, p. 91; Summary of Proceedings, pp. 1-2; and Thomson, Mercenaries, Pirates, and Sovereigns, p. 2.Back.

Note 103:  Shearer, Private Armies and Military Intervention, pp. 74-77.Back.

Note 104:  Ibid., p. 77; Harker, "Mercenaries: Private Power, Public Insecurity?," p. 8; Interview with Ed Soyster, Vice President for Operations, MPRI, Alexandria, VA, July 14, 1999; and Sandline International, "Should the Activities of Private Military Companies be Transparent?" (London: unpublished paper, September 1998).Back.

Note 105:  Greene, "From Mercenaries to Private Security Companies;" International Alert, "An Assessment of the Mercenary Issue;" and Summary of Proceedings, pp. 1-2.Back.

Note 106:   Private Communication from Michael Renner, June 3, 1999; and International Alert, "Executive Summary of A Consultation on Private Military Companies" (London: unpublished paper, December 8, 1998): p. 1.Back.