The effectiveness of self-regulation by the private military and security industry

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22 Scopus citations


Security is generally considered a core public good provided by the state. Since outsourcing military and security tasks erodes the state's monopoly of force, we would expect regulation in this area to be stronger than in areas that do not have potentially lethal consequences. But neither caution nor careful regulation is evident in state responses to the emergence of private military and security companies; instead, the industry's rapid growth has outpaced government efforts to control their activities. This article assesses whether two industry associations, the US-based International Peace Operations Association (IPOA) and the British Association of Private Security Companies (BAPSC), have adopted mechanisms necessary for effective self-regulation, and it evaluates different national approaches to self-regulation. Neither the IPOA nor the BAPSC has established self-regulatory mechanisms able to monitor or sanction member companies' behavior. The IPOA's activities correspond to American patterns of self-regulation, while the BAPSC's efforts suggest weaker linkages with the British government than seen in other self-regulatory mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-240
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Public Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Private security
  • force
  • outsourcing
  • self regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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