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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

2 private security guards charged in connection to killing near Kansas City bar 
KCTV5 News |  11 July 2018
> Two security guards have been charged in connection to the fatal shooting of Kevin Thomas.

Human Rights Violations by Saudi-Coalition Mercenaries Spark Mass Mobilization of Volunteer Fighters to Yemen's Southwest 
Mint Press News |  11 July 2018
> The Saudi-led coalition, unable to secure control of the strategic port city of Hodeida, has recently flooded the cities and towns surrounding Hodeida with foreign and indigenous mercenaries, hoping to bring the port city to its knees by taking control of the surrounding region.

Could the $76 billion per year U.S. war in Afghanistan be privatized? 
Newsweek |  11 July 2018
> The U.S. government spends about $76 billion per year on the war in Afghanistan, and the founder of private military company Blackwater said the country can significantly reduce that cost by turning to mercenaries.

Kremlin pressed to legalize private military companies 
Al-Monitor |  11 July 2018
> Russian war veterans are demanding that President Vladimir Putin take adequate steps to legalize private military companies. In a statement sent to the Russian leader, the veterans demanded not only the legalization of these private soldiers, but also an official recognition that Russian contractors are involved in the Syrian conflict.

I spent my career in the British Army and I know the dangers of privatising the battlefield 
Independent |  11 July 2018
> Private contractors play a valuable role in many elements of conflict but the 'ethics' of war require a core of state-based military experience

Outsourcing war: How foreigners and mercenaries power UAE's military 
Middle East Eye |  11 July 2018
> UAE’s futuristic cities and booming economy were built on foreign know-how and labour funded by petro dollars, and its military is no different.

Is Union Station, "Denver's Living Room," Really Open to All? 
Westword |  10 July 2018
> On May 17, a skinny fifty-year-old black man showed up at the Denver Police Department’s District 5 headquarters in Montbello to report an assault that had taken place nearly a month earlier. Officer Theresa Bergstrom was on hand to take down the man’s account, and it was quite a tale: He claimed that multiple private security guards had beaten him up inside a bathroom at Union Station nearly a month earlier, during the early hours of April 20.

Russia Should Admit It Uses Mercenaries 
Bloomberg |  09 July 2018
> The Kremlin has been unable to conceal its use of mercenaries for its military interventions because the nationalist fringe — which supplies many of the soldiers for hire – openly discusses their role. That and other considerations make it likely that Russia will eventually admit it’s using private troops.

Vladimir Putin told to stop lying about Russian secret forces in Syria 
Newsweek |  06 July 2018
> Russian veterans called on their government to admit it sends secret private military contractors to fight in Syria, in a bid to secure financial and medical benefits for thousands of fighters and their families.

The Puzzle of Russian Behavior in Deir Al-Zour 
War on the Rocks |  05 July 2018
> SA frightening event in U.S.-Russia relations unfolded in February near Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria, as both sides battled the remnants of the Islamic State. In violation of a 2015 deconfliction agreement that divided the area into zones of Russian and U.S. military control, around 500 pro-Syrian fighters – most of whom spoke Russian, but whose citizenship remains unverified – crossed the Euphrates River to the U.S. side from the Russian-controlled zone.

Communal clash: SARS arrests 37 suspected mercenaries in Cross River 
Daily Post |  04 July 2018
> Special Anti Robbery Squads (SARS) in Cross River State has arrested 37 suspected mercenaries in Ukelle, Yalla local government area of Cross River State.

Increased allowances for security guards 
Jamaica Observer |  03 July 2018
> The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has released additional information on the new minimum rates to be paid to private security guards as of August 1.

Private security firms employ 100k guards 
The Kathmandu Post |  03 July 2018
> The number of private security companies has jumped along with a rise in investment and crime rates. These firms employ nearly 100,000 registered security officers who guard business premises across Nepal. This figure is almost equal to the number of Armed Police and Nepal Police personnel.

National Police wants private security firms registered with ministry 
Khmer Times |  03 July 2018
> The National Police yesterday called on unregistered private security firms to apply for a license to avoid legal repercussions.

One arrested after Centurion shootout 
Centurion Rekord |  02 July 2018
> A shootout between private security companies and a suspected burglar in Wierda Park ensued on Monday afternoon.

Nigeria: Five Abducted As Villagers Attack Guards Securing NNPC Pipelines 
All Africa |  02 July 2018
> Five personnel attached to Topline Security, a private outfit securing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline at Atlas Cove, are still missing while two others were severely injured during an attack on them by villagers who aid suspected pipeline vandals at the Atlas Cove at the weekend.

<< 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.