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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.

Media

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

[AUDIO] Report: Trump Administration Wants To 'Outsource Afghanistan To Mercenaries'  
NPR |  20 July 2017
> Steve Inskeep asks Mark Perry of The American Conservative about his article that says some in the Trump administration want to use more contractors in Afghanistan.

On Point Radio: Privatizing The War In Afghanistan  
WBUR |  19 July 2017
> Talk in the West Wing about using a private army of mercenaries to take over the war in Afghanistan. Blackwater founder Erik Prince is with us.

Liberian Security Officer From USA to Establish Security Firm in Liberia  
Front Page Africa |  19 July 2017
> A Liberian based in the United State of America (USA) is back in the country with the determination of creating a private security firm to create job opportunities for Liberians interested in the field.

Opinions Could mercenaries end America’s longest war?  
The Washington Post |  17 July 2017
> Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is reportedly cool to a plan developed by Erik Prince that would entail turning over a substantial part of the Afghanistan effort to “contracted European professional soldiers” — what you and I call mercenaries.

The 'Blackwater 2.0' Plan for Afghanistan  
The Atlantic |  17 July 2017
> Here’s a crazy idea floating around Washington these days, outlandish even by today’s outlandish standards: The United States should hire a mercenary army to “fix” Afghanistan, a country where we’ve been at war since 2001, spending billions along the way. The big idea here is that they could extricate U.S. soldiers from this quagmire, and somehow solve it. Not surprisingly, the private-military industry is behind this proposal. Erik D. Prince, a founder of the private military company Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, each see a role for themselves in this future.

Trump's new Afghanistan strategy may draw on old, controversial methods  
Business Insider|  15 July 2017
> Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president's senior adviser and son-in-law, called in Erik Prince, who founded the Blackwater private-security firm, and Stephen Feinberg, a billionaire who owns military contractor DynCorp, to create proposals to use contractors in Afghanistan rather than US troops.

Stephen Feinberg, the Private Military Contractor Who Has Trump’s Ear  
The New Yorker |  14 July 2017
> To the financial press, he is known as the C.E.O. of Cerberus Capital Management, one of the country’s largest investment firms, with business lines in private equity, distressed debt, hedge funds, and real estate. His holdings have included the once struggling G.M. automotive-financing division, the controversial defense contractor DynCorp, and the Bushmaster assault-rifle brand.

The Militarisation of Conservation in Africa May Be Doing More Harm Than Good  
The Wire |  13 July 2017
> Conservation is becoming more militarised, and it is cause for serious concern. Rising rates of elephant and rhino poaching in Africa, and fears of a link between poachers and terrorists, have led to foreign national armies, private military companies and even UN peacekeeping forces all moving into wildlife protection.

Ramdev launches private security business with ‘Parakram Suraksha’  
The Indian Express |  13 July 2017
> Yoga guru and Patanjali Ayurveda founder Ramdev launched his own security firm titled Parakram Suraksha Pvt Ltd on Thursday. “Ramdev has hired retired Army and police personnel to train young interested recruits and plan to make a mark in security,” Balakrishna added.

Private military contractors aren’t going to do a better job in Afghanistan. Here’s why.  
The Washington Post |  12 July 2017
> General studies of PMSCs (though not focused on counterinsurgency, per se) begin to shed light on their overall impact on war. Looking at civil wars in Africa, only when there is competition among companies do PMSCs working for government and rebels have a positive effect on civil war termination. This suggests that we may not want the unified effort Erik Prince envisions.

The Spoils, and Profits, of Conflict  
The New York Times |  10 July 2017
> According to Russian news outlets, the Syrian government has contracted with private Russian companies that have Kremlin connections to carry out security operations for the Assad regime in Syria in exchange for a share of oil, gas and mineral production in territory won back from rebels.

Trump Aides Recruited Businessmen to Devise Options for Afghanistan  
The New York Times |  10 July 2017
> Erik D. Prince, a founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, have developed proposals to rely on contractors instead of American troops in Afghanistan at the behest of Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, according to people briefed on the conversations.

Yemeni forces capture strategic mountain, Saudi base  
Press TV |  10 July 2017
> Yemen’s army and popular committee forces have taken a strategic mountain in the province of Jawf from Saudi-backed mercenaries.

[Video] South Africa's booming private security industry  
BBC News |  07 July 2017
> Per capita, the country's private security industry is the fourth largest in the world and South Africans spend more than $4bn (£3bn) a year protecting themselves and their homes.

Russia Deploys a Potent Weapon in Syria: The Profit Motive  
The New York Times |  05 July 2017
> The Kremlin is bringing a new weapon to the fight against the Islamic State militant group in Syria, using market-based incentives tied to oil and mining rights to reward private security contractors who secure territory from the extremists, Russian news outlets have reported.

Troops neutralise mercenaries hired by Boko Haram  
The Guardian Nigeria |  04 July 2017
> The Nigerian Army said its troops in the North East have neutralised a number of mercenaries hired by the Mamman Nur faction of the Boko Haram terrorist group at Gulumba Gana in Bama Local Government Area of Borno.

Blackened Waters of Somalia  
The Huffington Post |  03 July 2017
> In a clever marketing strategy that exploits consumer biases, major manufacturing companies of household products commonly have several competing brands of the same products side by side in super markets. They even hire different brand managers to advance one product against another, though profits generated from all those products ultimately go to the same owners. The private mercenary industry clearly duplicated the same strategic marketing, and nowhere is that more apparent than in The Horn.

Yemeni forces kill 6 of Saudi's mercenaries in Jawf, Ta'izz  
Press TV |  01 July 2017
> Yemeni army soldiers, backed by fighters from allied Popular Committees loyal to the Houthi Ansarullah movement, have killed half a dozen of Saudi Arabia's mercenaries in Yemen's Jawf and Ta'izz provinces.

<< 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.


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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

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

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.