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Sié Chéou-Kang CenterPrivate Security Monitor

A contractor working for the Marine Corps explains to Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter the operation and capabilities of the unmanned aerial vehicle Scan Eagle at Al Qaim, Iraq.

Private Security Monitor

Industry Initiatives

Many private military and security companies and the industry associations that represent them are making efforts towards self-regulation. This is occurring in two ways: through adherence to company and industry codes of conduct, grievance processes, and internal ethics programs; and by incorporating specific performance and training standards into security service contracts. Increasingly, contracts are referencing "soft-law" codes and standards or are incorporating specific legal frameworks and rules, thereby binding the company to provisions that may otherwise be voluntary.

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Industry Association Initiatives

Individual firms that supply military and security services as well as professional associations have attempted to regulate the industry though company policies or codes of conduct. Listed below are regulatory efforts put forth by industry associations for domestic, global and maritime security providers. Company-specific codes of conduct or codes of ethics are not yet listed on the Private Security Monitor website.

Note that industry representatives have also played a part in the development of multi-stakeholder initiatives.

Joint Industry Initiatives

Industry companies and associations occasionally join together to sponsor best practices and guidelines across their organizations.

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ADS Group

ADS Group Ltd. is the trade organization advancing the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industries, and together with its regional partners ADS represents over 2,600 companies. The Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG) is a Special Interest Group within ADS. It brings together private security companies operating on land and sea around a common agenda of raising standards and introducing robust and independent accreditation for companies operating in complex and high-risk environments.

ADS was appointed by UK Ministers as the government's industry partner for the regulation and accreditation of private security companies in June 2011, and in March 2012, ADS Security in Complex Environments Group and the UK government announced that standards designed to ensure high levels of quality and professionalism of all private security companies operating in a maritime environment would be in place before the end of 2012.

The SCEG, in consultation government officials, client groups and others such as intergovernmental bodies and certification bodies, has been working on the standards. Once complete the draft standards will be submitted to government Ministers. It is intended that the government will play an important role in the selection of independent certification bodies that will audit individual private security companies against the standards, when they are finalized.

ADS Group Website

ASIS International

Founded in 1955, ASIS is a society of individual security professionals dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and productivity of security professionals by developing educational programs and materials. The ASIS Commission on Standards, under contract from the U.S. Department of Defense, has developed a set of four standards governing private security services. The first standard, ASIS PSC.1, has been adopted by the United States and the United Kingdom for all private security contracts and is currently under consideration for ISO approval. 

Documents Issued by the Commission on Standards

ASIS International Website

Australian Security Industry Association (ASIAL)

The Australian Security Industry Association Ltd (ASIAL) was established in and today represents approximately 85% of the security industry in Australia. Member companies must adhere to the ASIAL Code of Conduct. The organization also offers training to its members and acts as a mediator in resolving complaints and disputes on behalf of its members and the community.

Visit the ASIAL website.

Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO)

With members in more than 120 countries, BIMCO is the largest of the international shipping associations representing ship-owners. The association's main objective is to protect its global membership through the provision of quality information and advice, and while promoting fair business practices, facilitate harmonization and standardization of commercial shipping practices and contracts.

In an effort to promote its agenda and objectives, BIMCO is developing a standard contract for the employment of armed guards aboard ships and associated guidance on the rules on the use of force. The new contract, called GUARDCON, will be drafted by a team of experts of ship owners, lawyers and underwriters. The draft contract is to be unveiled in March 2012.

BIMCO, together with ICS, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO, OCIMF, IG P&I Clubs, created voluntary Industry Guidelines for the Use of Private Maritime Security Contractors as Additional Protection in Waters Affected by Somali Piracy, published in May 2011 to assist their members with the selection, vetting, training, command and control of maritime private security contractors.

Visit the BIMCO website.

British Association of Private Security Companies (BAPSC)

The BAPSC works to promote the interests and regulate the activities of UK-affiliated firms that provide armed defensive security services in countries outside the United Kingdom. It aims to raise the ethics and standards of operation of its members. All members of the BAPSC must adhere to the principles of the association's charter, which obliges members to follow all rules of international, humanitarian and human rights law that are applicable to PMSCs as well as all relevant international protocols and conventions.

Visit the BAPSC website.

Canadian Security Association (CANASA)

The Canadian Security Association (CANASA) is a national non-profit organization, established in 1977 dedicated to promoting the interests of its members and the safety and security of all Canadians. CANASA is the national voice of the security industry and has a growing membership of more than 1,200 members across Canada, representing all segments of the industry. CANASA supports its members through a comprehensive network of services, including security education, government relations, marketing, communications, leading industry trade shows and the latest industry information and news.

Notably, in January 2012 CANASA decided to launch an accreditation program for security contractors. This program will provide an opportunity for member contractors to attest by subscription to a list of industry "best practices "and allow consumers to differentiate between accredited and unaccredited security contractors. The proposed criteria for accreditation includes requirements such as criminal background checks, education courses through CANASA, and adherence to the CANASA Code of Ethics.

Visit the CANASA website.

Confederation of European Security Services (CoESS)

The Confederation of European Security Services (CoESS) is the European umbrella organization for 29 national private security employers' associations. It was founded in 1989. CoESS is the only representative European employers' organization defending the interests of the private security services industry. It promulgated the CoESS Code of Conduct and Ethics for the Private Security Sector which contains a set of basic standards of professionalism and quality that should be applied by all employers and employees in the sector. Items addressed by the Code include licensing, selection and recruitment of employees, and training.

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Institute of Protection Specialists & Security Contractors (IPSSC)

Institute of Protection Specialists & Security Contractors (IPSSC) is aspires to be a global training and support organization for professional bodyguards and private security contractors engaged in the provision of force protection duties in active combat zones and other hostile or non-permissive areas. The aim of IPSSC is to provide our members with the best training and support services available. While the organization maintains a website, most of the site—including information about training courses—is reserved for only members of the IPSSC community.

International Association of Maritime Security Professionals (IAMSP)

The IAMSP was created after a number of maritime security companies identified that there was a clear need for self-regulation within the maritime industry. The organization aims to set high standards of professionalism within the industry, and with that goal in mind drafted a Voluntary Professional Code of Practice. All persons seeking to become IAMSP members must abide by the Code of Practice as a condition of membership.

The IAMSP also offers authoritative advice to maritime security practitioners by conducting research and issuing reports and other guidance. Among other relevant guidelines, the IAMSP has issued a Use of Force Standard that is available to members.

Visit the IAMSP Website.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

Founded in 1947, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer of voluntary International Standards. International Standards give state of the art specifications for products, services and good practice, helping to make industry more efficient and effective. ISO standards are developed through a consensus process, bringing in experts from national standards organizations and relevant industries.

In 2013 ISO developed ISO/PAS 28007:2012 Ships and marine technology – Guidelines for Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSC) providing privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) on board ships (and pro forma contract). ISO/PAS 28007 is the only published International Standard dealing with armed guards on ships. The document contains essential information for private maritime security companies, and for ships selecting service providers.

Visit the ISO website.

International Stability Operations Association (ISOA)

The International Stability Operations Association (ISOA, formerly IPOA) is a trade association whose mission is to promote high operational and ethical standards of firms active in the stability operations industry, which includes private military and security companies. All ISOA member companies subscribe to the ISOA Code of Conduct, which seeks to establish consistent ethical standards for ISOA members operating in conflict, post-conflict, and disaster relief environments.In addition, the ISOA has an Enforcement Mechanism that allows any person or organization to lodge a complaint against an ISOA member company or organization for violations of the ISOA Code of Conduct.

Visit the ISOA website.

View the Stability Operations magazine, a publication of ISOA.

Ligue Internationale des Sociétés de Surveillance

The Ligue Internationale des Sociétés de Surveillance was founded in 1934. The Ligue is an association of private security organizations throughout the world that aims to provide the high ethical and professional standards in the private security industry as we know it world-wide through open exchanges of ideas and experiences between the member companies.

Visit the Ligue website.

Pan African Security Association (PASA)

The objective of the Pan-African Security Association (PASA) is to ensure that security and related contracts in Africa are solely discharged by legitimate companies complying with internationally accepted regulatory standards and the laws and regulations of African States. Companies applying for PASA membership have to undergo a thorough vetting process. Upon admission as members, companies have to pledge to adhere to the PASA Code of Principles, Code of Conduct and any other rules and procedures governing the Association.

Visit the PASA website.

Professional Services Council (PSC)

PSC is the largest association of government services contractors in the United States and counts among its nearly 350 member companies several dozen firms that provide critical support to U.S. government activities in contingency environments. That support includes logistics, engineering, infrastructure, satellite and information technology support, international development assistance, capacity building and more. Through its The Defense Task Force, PSC coordinates the activities of its member companies relating to the Army, Navy, Air Force and all other Defense Department services, and addresses issues of insourcing, conflicts of interest, services acquisition reform, DCAA audit issues, military cyber security efforts.

The PSC has a Code of Conduct that its members are to follow.

Visit the PSC Website.

Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI)

The Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) is an independent regulatory trade association for maritime security companies. SAMI has developed a standard for which its members must abide by, the standard derives a large portion of its principles from the International Code of Conduct, and companies wishing to become SAMI members must first sign the ICoC. Once maritime security companies become SAMI members, an accreditation process begins to certify the quality of each company and its adherence to the SAMI standards of operation.

Visit the SAMI Website.

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Security Association of South Africa (SASA)

The South African Security Association (SASA) was in 1964 as a representative for all security aspects in South Africa and as an advocate for professional business practices. Members must abide by the short SASA Code of Conduct.

Visit the SASA website.



The relationship between private military and security companies and their clients is usually set forth in a contract. Few contracts are publicly available. Those that have been disclosed contain few details on company operational standards. This has led many to argue that contractual terms should be expanded to include minimum standards for personnel screening and selection; personnel training, including training on limits on the use of force; contract monitoring; and compliance with third-party standards such as the International Code of Conduct or ASIS/ANSI PSC.1. In this way, the contract governs the operations of private military and security companies.

This page will contain a collection of publicly available contracts between private security companies and their clients. Note that some general information about contractual arrangements is already available online. In particular, the U.S. Department of Defense discloses its contracts with private vendors valued at $6.5 million or more each day on the DOD website. Older contract announcements are available from the DOD contract archive page.

Publicly Available Contracts

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Industry Reports

This section contains reports and analysis by the companies that form the private security industry, the professional organizations they belong to, and the corporate entities that hire them.

Maritime Industry Reports

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