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Sié Chéou-Kang CenterPrivate Security Monitor

Afghan training


About the Private Security Monitor Project


The Private Security Monitor is an independent research project dedicated to promoting knowledge of and transparency in global private military and security services. The Private Security Monitor's web portal provides an annotated guide to regulation, data and analysis of private military and security services. It is a one-stop source for public information on the worldwide use of these services and thus a resource for governments, policy-makers, activists, journalists, and researchers.

Housed and maintained at the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies, the Private Security Monitor operates in partnership with the Geneva-based Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).


The idea for the Private Security Monitor grew out of a 2011 workshop at the University of California, Irvine co-sponsored by UCI's International Studies Program, DCAF, and the Center for Security, Economics and Technology (CSET) at the University of St. Gallen. At this workshop, participants from governments, international organizations, civil society groups, and industry agreed that lack of transparency was an important problem for the governance of private military and security services and that academic institutions could best contribute to information sharing, research and analysis. Thus the workshop's first recommendation was for an academic-based project to serve as a one-stop source for information about private military and security services.

Going forward, the Private Security Monitor will be collaborating with the UN Working Group to collect national regulations from around the world and with the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law to analyze national legislation. We welcome collaboration with other groups interested in enhancing transparency surrounding private military and security services.

Research Team

The Private Security Monitor is under the direction of Deborah Avant, Sié Chair and Director of the Sié Center and Jill Schmeider-Hereau, Assistant Director of the Sié Center. Eugenio Cusumano, a Fulbright Scholar and former visiting faculty member at the Korbel School also contributed to PSM. A group of research assistants maintain and update the Private Security Monitor. The current researchers are:

  • Kara Kingma
  • Jennifer Zavala
  • Catherine Clarke
  • Adam Ratzlaff
  • Andrew Ortendahl
  • Meredith Moon