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Sié Chéou-Kang CenterPrivate Security Monitor

An expert from ArmorGroup (left) trains local members of the Nepal and Maoist Armies on the safe removal of unexploded devices.


PMSC News Reports

Media reports play a critical role both in informing the public and as resource for academic work on the private military and security industry. Because journalists base their reports on a variety of sources, including employees, industry sources, and personal observations, their reports often provide an on-the-ground picture of firms' behavior that is lacking in many of other reports.

The Private Security Monitor's media project aggregates recent media reports into a single feed of the most up to date news articles on private security. After one month articles will retire into our news archives. Importantly, PSM exercises some editorial selectivity in articles, both in type of publication and in the topics presented. As such, this page is not a complete archive of all articles published, but a resource for the most relevant stories issued in the past month.

For those seeking in-depth, investigative journalism, view the investigative reports section at the bottom of this page. Separate from general media articles, these reports provide more extensive analysis on PMSCs from a journalist's perspective.

Recent News

6 members of private armed group killed in clash with police, military in Cagayan 
The Manila Times|   21 November 2018
> Six members of a private armed group were killed while one was arrested in an armed encounter with police and the military in Lallo, Cagayan on Tuesday night, according to a report reaching Camp Crame on Wednesday.

The Privatization of War in Afghanistan 
International Policy Digest|   21 November 2018
> Private military industries in the U.S. are behind the proposal of the privatization of the war in Afghanistan. Erik Prince, the founder the Blackwater Worldwide private military company, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, each see a role for themselves in the future of the U.S. long-drawn-out war in Afghanistan.

Mercenaries address a collective appeal to the International Criminal Court, asking for war crimes charges against PMC organizers in Russia 
Meduza|   20 November 2018
> Frustrated with the stalled effort to legalize private military companies, a group of Russian mercenaries and military veterans is asking the International Criminal Court to prosecute Russia’s PMC organizers and facilitators for war crimes. Evgeny Shabaev, the chairman of the All-Russian Officers’ Assembly, told Radio Svoboda on November 19 that the initiative has the support of 357 delegates from 52 regions across the country, representing 18 different social groups.

Russian veterans seek probe of private military contracting 
The Washington Post|   20 November 2018
> An activist says a group of Russian military veterans has asked the International Criminal Court to probe the activities of Russian private security companies.

Sudan’s Justice and Equality Movement executes 11 mercenaries in Libya 
The Libya Observer|   19 November 2018
> The Sudanese Centre for Press Services reported that the Justice and Equality Movement has executed 11 of its field commanders who serve as mercenaries in Libya - in a border area between Libya and Sudan.

Russian vets seek to bring the Kremlin's mercenaries in from the cold 
CNN|   18 November 2018
> A forum representing Russian military veterans took an unusual step Sunday by voting to ask the International Criminal Court to probe the Russian government's use of private military contractors in deployments abroad.

Honolulu Hires Private Security Guards to Patrol City Parks 
U.S. News & World Report|   15 November 2018
> Honolulu is funding two private security guards to patrol city parks, aiming to curb illegal homeless activity.

Russian Nationalist Group, Acting as a Private Military Company, Worries Kremlin 
Jamestown Foundation|   15 November 2018
> Private military companies (PMC), which the Kremlin has used with success in Ukraine, Syria, the Central African Republic and elsewhere, nonetheless constitute a potentially serious problem domestically for Russia. If they pursue their own goals, they can challenge the government’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force and even threaten its control of key sectors. That is one of the reasons why the Russian Federation has not legalized them. But their rise, especially in the gray area of semi-legality, is now frightening the powers that be in the Kremlin who have turned to the Federal Security Service (FSB) in an effort to establish tighter control over one of these groups.

Afghan minerals in the crosshairs of Blackwater's Erik Prince 
TRT World|   15 November 2018
> The founder of the notorious, and now defunct, Blackwater, has been making headlines for trying to privatise the Afghan war. What has gone unreported are his plans as "Trump's advisor" to extract the country's immensely rich mineral wealth.

Security guard comes under fire in Morningside 
Independent Online|   14 November 2018
> A Durban private security company described the shooting at one its response officers in Morningside as merciless.

Private security guard firms urged to register 
Khmer Times|   14 November 2018
> The National Police on Monday appealed to all security companies to register with the Interior Ministry and ensure that their guards are properly trained.

Moscow Laying Groundwork for Deeper Military Involvement in Libya 
The Jamestown Foundation|   13 November 2018
> Moscow is deepening its military involvement in Libya while denying to its own people and the world that it is doing so, thus repeating the pattern that the Kremlin has followed in Syria and the Central African Republic.

Questions surround Tempe's decision to pay for armed security guards at some parks 
Fox 10 News Phoenix|   12 November 2018
> The City of Tempe is planning to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire armed security guards at some of its parks, due to safety concerns.

Security company fined R30 000 for dodgy guns permit 
Independent Online|   12 November 2018
> A private security company that escorted alleged 28s gang leader Ralph Stanfield to court in Khayelitsha, was fined R30 000 for having dodgy permits.

Russian veterans groups accuse Moscow of war crimes over their use of mercenaries 
NEWSREP|   12 November 2018
> Earlier this year, a contingent of U.S. Special Operations troops working alongside Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria were engaged in a four-hour long firefight against a Syrian government-backed force of some 500 troops. Among those pro-Assad troops, it was reported at the time, were a number of Russian civilians — widely recognized among those in the region as mercenaries working indirectly for the Kremlin, but formally unacknowledged by the Russian government.

Russia's hired guns in Africa 
European Council on Foreign Relations|   12 November 2018
> The murder of three Russian journalists in the Central African Republic in July 2018 raised new concerns about Russia’s presence in Africa. Because the reporters were investigating the activities of Russian private military contractors (PMCs), there has been widespread speculation that they were killed at the behest of a Russian state determined to expand its presence on the continent. This explanation is plausible: after years of irrelevance in resource-rich but politically unstable central Africa, the Kremlin has heavily relied on PMCs – a cost-effective and efficient tool for hybrid confrontation – in making its return to the region.

China pours money into private sector military technology 
The Australian Financial Review|   12 November 2018
> China has mobilised at least Rmb387b ($77.2 billion) to fund private sector companies that develop technology with potential military applications, according to Financial Times calculations based on public documents and state media announcements.

Cops launch drive to check guards and private security agencies 
The Times of India|   12 November 2018
> The Pune police have undertaken the mammoth task of verifying the security guards and the private security agencies functioning in the city. The exercise follows the recent revelations that many security agencies were operating without proper licenses and security guard verifications.

Russian businessman linked to sending mercenaries to Syria attends meeting for Haftar in Moscow 
Libyan Express|   11 November 2018
> A Russian newspaper says video released by the self-styled Libyan National Army shows a businessman allegedly linked to a private contractor that sent mercenaries to Syria at a meeting with the head of the Libyan army and top Russian military officials.

Russian military veterans seek ICC investigation of mercenary deployments 
Reuters|   09 November 2018
> Groups representing Russian military veterans plan to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Russia’s secret deployment of civilian contractors in Syria, Ukraine and Africa, a paramilitary leader said on Friday.

Security firm pays damages to anti-asbestos activists it spied on 
The Guardian|   08 November 2018
> A private security firm has been forced to pay damages to five anti-asbestos campaigners after they discovered it had spied on them.

Governors can stop private militias from massing at the border 
CNN|   07 November 2018
> After President Trump's pledge to send up to 15,000 US troops to the border to help deal with the approaching caravan of Central American migrants, private militias have called for their members to travel to the border to support the troops and US Customs and Border Patrol agents.

Private security agency staff arrested 
The New Indian Express|   07 November 2018
> The private firm deputed for security duty at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, Kaloor, for the ISL matches, has once again landed in trouble as eight employees were arrested by the Palarivattom police for allegedly threatening and assaulting some youths who were engaged for duty at the stadium on a temporary basis.

Rwanda National Police Tighten Supervision Of Security Companies 
KT Press|   06 November 2018
> Responding to unprofessional conduct of some private security companies, Rwanda National Police (RNP) have vowed to tighten supervision.

Australian mercenaries referred to ICC 
The Australian|   06 November 2018
> Accusations of war crimes involving Australian mercenaries in Yemen have been sent to the International Criminal Court, catching the government seemingly unaware.

Security guard harassed Muslim family, struck Latina in Portland attack, police say 
Oregon Live|   02 November 2018
> A former private security guard faces hate crime charges after police say he harassed a Muslim family, smashed a Latina woman with a metal baton and then pepper-sprayed two other people during a racially motivated attack in Southwest Portland.

Stricter requirements for security guards in Denver go into effect 
Fox31 Denver|   01 November 2018
> The rules for being a security guard got a lot tougher in the City and County of Denver starting Thursday as new requirements went into effect.

<< Older News Reports Archive Main

Investigative Reports

African Defence Review

African Defence Review is a dynamic news organisation focused on African security. It provides the most detailed and comprehensive news and commentary of issues on the African continent.

Unloved but Needed: PMCs in Africa

Author: David Pfotenhauer
Publish Date:


In this article, the author finds that the seemingly insoluble dilemma of PMSCs in Africa is not because of PMSCs but because of a lack of imagination on the part of governments and regional bodies as to how to sustainably and effectively employ them. He also argues that the future of PMSCs in Africa will be contingent upon good governance with robust, strategically aligned frameworks that utilize PMSCs to cultivate, but not replace, security and military capabilities.

BBC Reports

The British Broadcasting Corporation is a publically funded news and entertainment company in the United Kingdom. The BBC produces daily news programs as well as in depth investigative reports.

Britain's Private War

Author: BBC Scotland
Publish Date:


In this documentary feature, the BBC investigates the British private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. The report examines both the companies who are contracted to provide security services and the individuals affected by improper practices in the field. 

BBC asked both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the private security firm G4S for a response to the program. 

  1. FCO's response
  2. G4S's response
The Center for Investigative Reporting

The Center for Investigative Reporting is a non-profit, non-partisan news organization based in Berkeley, California. The Center specializes in in-depth reporting on current issues.


David Isenberg

Author and commentator David Isenberg frequently reports on PMSC issues, including almost daily entries on the Huffington Post.

Federal News Radio

Federal News Radio is a radio news station focused upon stories, news and analysis relevant for U.S. federal government agencies and those who do business with government agencies. It is non-partisan.

National Public Radio

National Public Radio (NPR) creates and distributes award-winning news, information, and music programming to a network of 959 independent stations.

Audio Report: I'm from the Private Sector and I am Here to Help

Author: Nancy Updike
Publish Date:


In this story on NPR program "This American Life," contributing editor Nancy Updike went to Iraq to try to figure out what it's like to be a private citizen working in the middle of a war zone. Among others, Updike interviews private security contractors guarding the Baghdad International Airport and others training Iraqi police forces.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker is a weekly print magazine dedicated to the arts, politics, current events and investigative journalism.

Invisible Army

Author: Sarah Stillman
Publish Date:


This New Yorker article is a profile of the service subcontract industry for the U.S. military. The article discusses the more than seventy thousand "third-country nationals" who work for the American military in war zones. The author details the reports by many TCNs that the conditions they are held in resemble indentured servitude, and also the subcontractors who appear to operate outside the law.


PBS is a private non-profit broadcaster in the United States. It primarily produces educational programming for children and documentary features for adults. 

Private Warriors

Author: PBS Frontline
Publish Date:


Frontline investigates the new world of private contractors servicing U.S. military supply lines, running U.S. military bases, and protecting U.S. diplomats and generals. In the video, FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith travels throughout Kuwait and Iraq to give viewers an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at companies like Kellogg, Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, and its civilian army. "Private Warriors" also explores a very different kind of contractor—the private world of security teams that work for firms like Blackwater, Aegis, and Erinys—that provide armed protection for U.S. government officials, government offices, military installations and even military commanders.

The website for the episode also contains comment from KBR, and documents uncovered and used during the investigation.


ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

Disposable Army: Civilian Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan

Publish Date:


This investigation by Propublica explores the issues caused by the U.S. government's heavy reliance on civilian workers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The site features multiple articles, charts, and data on contractor injuries, insurance coverage, and other problems for civilian contractors working for the U.S. government.

The Washington Post

The Washington Post is the largest newspaper in the Washington, DC area and a central reporter on domestic policy issues in the United States. The post produces multiple investigative pieces each year that focus on different aspects of the U.S. government and its agencies.

Contractors Run U.S. Spying Missions in Africa

Author: Craig Whitlock
Publish Date:

Open PDF:

This article is part of a series in the Washington Post covering the U.S. expansion of its secret intelligence operations in Africa. The article describes the use of private contractors to conduct spying operations in Africa, specifically in Uganda. The missions are air surveillance, with contractors doing overflight operations on Uganda searching for the Lord's Resistance Army. Other articles in the series address the efforts of U.S.-hired and paid contractor to train the Ugandan army. 

Top Secret America

Author: Washington Post
Publish Date:


The Washington Post's Top Secret America project describes the huge national security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The articles in this series and an online database on the website depict the scope and complexity of the government's national security program through interactive maps and other graphics. Every data point on the Web site is substantiated by at least two public records. At the private-sector level, The Post identified 1,931 companies engaged in top-secret work for the government.