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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

Russia’s shadow armies: Soldiers, mercenaries or volunteers?  
WUNC|  18 March 2018
> In Ukraine, the Kremlin has denied — repeatedly — the presence of Russian armed forces. The war is cast as an internal conflict between a fascist Ukrainian government in Kiev and Russian-speaking separatists in the country’s east. Yet the Kremlin sides with the separatists politically while tacitly endorsing incursions by patriotic Russian “volunteers” to aid the separatists militarily.

Three dead in Kabul suicide bomb intended to strike security firm G4S  
The Telegraph|  17 March 2018
> A Taliban car bomb killed at least three people and wounded two in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday in an apparent attack on a British contractor company that came despite a further tightening in security across the city, officials said.

US troops in Syria prepare for more Russian attacks after crushing up to 300 mercenaries in February battle  
Business Insider|  16 March 2018
> US troops in Syria are digging in and preparing for future attacks after a massive battle played out in the country's east that ended with up to 300 Russian mercenaries killed by US artillery and airpower.

Personal security may be a new sunrise sector, but scale and execution are critical  
The Economic Times|  16 March 2018
> According to industry data ET gathered after speaking to consultants, the Indian personal security market was estimated at Rs 57,000 crore in 2016, and is likely to touch Rs 99,000 crore by 2020. It’s also expected to be one of the largest job generators in the country.

Yemeni snipers kill 14 Saudi mercenaries in retaliatory attacks  
Press TV|  14 March 2018
> Yemeni army soldiers, supported by fighters from allied Popular Committees, have shot dead more than a dozen pro-Saudi militiamen loyal to resigned Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in the kingdom’s southwestern border region of Asir.

Rs 1 lakh compensation to military contractor whose house was raided by army in 2011  
Hindustan Times|  10 March 2018
> The Gauhati high court has granted compensation of Rs 1 lakh to a private military contractor whose house was raided by an army intelligence team in what is known in army circles as the ‘Jorhat Dacoity’ case of 2011, in a first of its kind order on breach of right to privacy and late night searches by army forces in an area under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA ).

The quiet quadrupling of Canada’s private security sector  
Vice News|  02 March 2018
> Canada’s government isn’t sure how many private guards are providing security nationwide, or how much public money is being spent on their services, as criminologists urge authorities to improve monitoring of the increasingly powerful private security industry.

Russia is reportedly looking for more mercenaries after reports that hundreds died in a clash with the US  
Business Insider|  01 March 2018
> After a massive battle that multiple reports cite as resulting in hundreds of dead Russian military contractors, Russian job listing websites are reportedly offering more high-paid work in the "security" field.

Security Industry Council spells out guidelines for private security industry  
The Straits Times|  01 March 2018
> From next year, security agencies may not take up contracts that do not include clauses that deal with disputes and prompt payment, and a clause that allows for termination of contract by either the security service provider or buyer.

Russian mercenaries in Syria, Putin's secret army  
France24|  01 March 2018
> On February 7, in the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, the US army bombed fighters who were advancing towards oil installations held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the US-backed rebel coalition. Shortly afterwards, the Pentagon said these fighters could be "Russian mercenaries". Moscow is trying to cover up the real death toll from this incident and the role of the private military contractor Wagner, which sends mercenaries to Syria.

<< 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.