The Big Money World of Mercenaries and Private Security

By Jasmine Henrique 

Private Security Beginnings:

13th Century B.C.: Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses the II hires Nubians (popularly known as Medjai), Libyans, Syrians, and Sherdens (from Sardinia) to compliment his own military and security forces.
400 A.D. During the Byzantine empire, emperors contracted foreigners for their personal security, forming the Varangion Guard.
1748: Harry Fielding, in the UK, proposed the founding of a permanent well paid professional security force.
1850s: Allan Pinkerton (a former Chicago police detective) created the Pinkerton Agency, his own private security agency.

Private Security

In an Increasingly Violent World:

526,000: number of people killed by armed violence every year
Every minute: 1 person dies of armed violence
87.8: percentage of people killed annually in non conflict settings
12.2: percentage killed in conflict settings
1 in 10: number of people killed in conflict, or terroristic settings a year

The most dangerous places in the world (global average, 7.9 persons killed per 100,000 people):

• Syria: 3,750: Average number of violent deaths per month. More than 140,000 people have been killed in the past two years, including 7,000 children.
• El Salvador: 61.9 people killed per 100,000 every year
• Iraq: 59.4/100,000 (but on the rise)
• Jamaica: 58.1/100,000
• Afghanistan: 14.3 deaths per 1,000

4,000: Number of homicides in Caracas, Venezuela in 2012


The Rise of Private Security Services in Modern Times:

2005: At the Height of the Iraqi War:
• 20,000: number of non-Iraqi security contractors
Of these, 5-6,000 were British, American, South African, Russian or European; another 12,000 are from Third World countries, such as Fiji, Colombia, Sri Lanka, and India.
• 15,000 Iraqi security contractors
Most were hired mainly by the British security firm Erinys to guard Iraq’s oil infrastructure.

#1: U.S. is the number top user of private contract security services in the world
$174+ billion: amount spent on security services, worldwide, 2010
35: percentage of worldwide security services market is in U.S., 2014
17: percentage growth anticipated by 2015
$210 billion: amount projected worldwide demand of security services, in 2015

Fueling demand of personal security:
• Increased urbanization
• Need to protect assets
• Lack of faith in public safety
• Fear of crime and terrorism

Fueling the growth of the personal security industry:
• Foreign investment
• Economic recover
• Overloading of public services

In the U.S.:

Private Security
2 million: number of private security personnel
90,000: number of private security organizations

Vs. Law Enforcement
765,000: employed law enforcement personnel
17,985: number of state and local law enforcement agencies
80: percentage of private security personnel employment from 1980-2010
Less than 1: percentage of applicants hired by elite security firms.

What private security firms do:

Personal protection of:
• Business executives
• Celebrities
• Government officials
• Consulting and Training
• Threat assessment
• Threat management
• Investigation
• Legal support
• Background checks
• Information security

On the Sea: Private Maritime Security vs. Piracy
• $400 million: Annual cost of multinational naval presence
• 0: number of ships hijacked with private security aboard
• 140: number of maritime private security firms now operational
• 35,000: number of cargo ships that must pass through high risk zones
• $5.5 million: average ransom paid to pirates

Personal protection: about 50 % of private security services requested is for personal security
Guards for private security firms can make between $400 and $600 per day.
Guards employed by Blackwater, a high-profile American company that guarded Ambassador Paul Bremer in Iraq, were paid up to $1000 a day.

The world’s most powerful mercenary armies:
• G4S: employs 625,000
• Presence in more than 125 countries
• 2nd largest employer in the world (after WalMart)
• Unity Resources Group: 1,200 employees
• Strong presence in Iraq
• Erinys: more than 15,000 (unofficial)
• Asia Security Group, employs 600. Formerly owned by Karzai, president of Afghanistan.
• Dyncorp: staff in excess of 5,000.


How to Prepare for Mercenary Employment

Step 1 – Obtain military or law enforcement related experience.
• Previous experience working in the special forces of the army, USMC, navy, or air force if seeking the higher paying security-related jobs.
• Most private security companies will be looking for a minimum of 3-5 years of relevant experience on one’s resume.
Step 2 – Obtain proficiency in a foreign language.
• Develop a skill set in another commonly spoken language such as French, German, Arabic, Russian, or Spanish will make you more attractive to future employers.
Step 3 – Get into great physical shape.
• Many of the private security firms will require a physical fitness test be passed before making a new employee permanent.
Step 4 – Build your resume.
• Focus on job skills, qualifications, and experience that directly relate to the mercenary job(s) that you are interested in filling.
Step 5 – Gather required documentation.
• Most American private security firms require a valid U.S. driver’s license, tourist passport, the DD-214 provided on separation from the military service.



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