Recent years have seen significant growth in the private security industry. This global industry ranges from major multinationals to smaller-scale domestic companies. Activities undertaken by these diverse security contractors may include:

  • Guarding buildings
  • Personal security
  • Protecting the public
  • Escorting humanitarian aid convoys
  • Training and advising armed security forces
  • Operating complex weapons systems
  • Providing security in detention centres
  • Intelligence-gathering
  • Counter-piracy operations and protection of vessels

Security privatisation has significant implications for democratic security sector governance. As part of DCAF’s holistic approach to security sector reform and governance, the private security governance programme focuses on:

  • Promoting an effective legal and policy framework to regulate private military and security companies (PMSCs) operating at the international and domestic level.
  • Supporting innovative oversight mechanisms for the private security industry, both at domestic and international levels.
  • Strengthening capacities of international and national actors in the area of private security governance.


The private security governance programme is structured into:

International Initiatives
Local Support and Implementation Activities