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Home > Market > Homeland Security

Private Security in Iraq

Private security firms are being lured into Iraq, but attention to their operations has been minimal.

By The World Protection Group




The chaos in Iraq attracts constant media coverage, particularly focusing on the effects on and by 150,000 U.S. military personnel who are engaged in this Middle Eastern country.  The political dichotomy created by the Iraq affair has been covered meticulously.  However, there is minimal focus on the private security firms operating in what Senator Barrack Obama termed “ the biggest foreign policy disaster of our time.”

After victory was declared on April 15th, 2003, the scene was set for a U.S.-led reconstruction of a ravaged nation.  While the U.S. government was compelled to rebuild Iraq, the market system also mobilized, leading to an influx of private contractors.  The demand for security was high, leading to rumors documented in the London Times that “former soldiers could earn 500GBP (US$1,000) or more a day working for a security company.”  According to industry executives, this failed to materialize, but figures do range between US$340 to US$400 a day.

This comparatively low figure reflects the swell in supply of servicemen from India and South Korea available to a variety of clients.  Between 30,000 (PEJ study) and 48,000 (The Guardian) security contractors are operating in Iraq, performing some of the most unique tasks in U.S. military history.  “This is something new, this level of involvement,” says Deborah Avant, a Professor of Political Science at George Washington.  The extent of engagement is unprecedented with security officers engaging in such disparate duties as firefighting, and suffering numerous casualties as a

result.  The exact figures were only reluctantly released by the Reconstruction Logistics Directorate of the Corps of Engineers in June 2007, but 132 private security personnel have officially been killed.  However, this figure is believed to fall well short of the actual total.

Increasingly, the private security firms are being relied upon to provide armed assistance in a variety of situations from the cauldron of violence that is Iraq to the possible arming of security personnel in the U.S.A.  In Russia, legislation was passed in July 2007 to allow Gazprom and Transneft to create armed units.  These actions were viewed warily by Gennari Gudkov, a deputy in the Duma who had opposed the bill lamenting that this was a “pandora’s box… this law envisages the creation of corporate armies.”  Yet proponents, such as Duma Deputy Alexander Gurov, saw this as a reflection of the threat that terrorism offers to corporations as well as governments and has stated, “A couple of terrorist acts and an ensuing ecological disaster would be enough to immediately declare Russia an unreliable partner and supplier of energy.”

Reluctantly or not, private security firms are being lured into the lucrative industry of supplementing the governments’ military in order to safeguard that which their own resources cannot meet.


The World Protection Group, Inc. is a Los Angeles-based global provider of executive protection & threat management, uniformed protective service, security consulting and asset protection.  To learn more about WPG, please contact Craig Chamberlain, V.P. of Sales & Marketing at +1-310-550-4319 or by email at



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