Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Debate regarding the private security / military companies

The debate regarding the private security / military companies is an uneasy one. The first instinctive question on the subject is related to an ethical consideration – “Should I respect a person fighting for money?”. Based on an emotional understanding of the subject, the conclusion to a basic analysis of the privatized security industry tend to lead one to take position for or against the use of private security companies. By investigating the issue more deeply, we can distance ourselves from a solely ethico-emotional analysis and bring further the debate.
Thus, if you are looking for some information, I encourage you to have a look on those different website :
- Private Force : so-called “the largest private security community”. Gathers and files many articles on the subject.
- Private Military : bring some interesting articles, information, and yes, links for job-seekers within PSCs / PMCs.
- Frontline : have a look on the documentary. Also interesting interviews.
- BICC : if you want to participate in a forum on the subject.
- Bibliography : excellent bibliography. With the many books on the subject that are currently written, it will be sooner or later out of date, but still, gives a good idea of what to look for.
- Geneva Humanitarian Forum : at least, one humanitarian website dealing with PSCs / PMCs… Provides useful documents and interesting summaries of several books if you don’t have the time to read them, but the page was not updated since June 04…
- I'm sure you already receive too much emails daily, but if you want to get many useful links to up-to-dates articles on the subject, register to these discussion groups is a must : just send an email to and, both partially moderated by Doug Brooks, president of the International Peace Operations Associations ("a member-led, non-governmental association of private sector service companies dedicated to improving peacekeeping, peace enforcement, humanitarian rescue, and stability operations worldwide ". Basically, a lobby group supporting the PSCs).

Little has been written on the relations between the PSCs and the humanitarian actors. A part from Singer’s and Cockayne’s ones that you can already find on this blog, I strongly encourage you to have a look on International Alert’s “Humanitarian Action and Private Security Companies : Opening the Debate”; written in 2002, but still very relevant : . If you have more time, you could also see the report of a Conference organised by International Alert in 1999 on “Privatisation of Security, The Framing a Conflict Prevention and Peace building Policy Agenda”.

Thanks to Jean S. Renouf who has written the post. Former humanitarian worker, Jean is currently pursuing a PhD in international relations at the London School of Economics. Jean has lately written an excellent article on “The Impact of security privatisation on humanitarian action”. If you wish to get the article (in English or in French) and/or contact Jean, please let me know.


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