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Private Military and Security Companies Across the Globe

Updated: Nov 3, 2023


In the last decade or so we witnessed a new trend in security, the outsourcing of more and more military functions to private companies. In Afghanistan, it got to the level of having more private military and security contractors than American soldiers. Despite this important global trend, we know very little about those companies and their capabilities and roles. This study aimed at addressing this gap. In this study, we create a dataset that explores who those new actors are, where do they operate, and what do they do.


This project includes the creation of a comprehensive dataset of companies that provide private military and security services across the globe. The dataset harvest information from companies websites and open sources. It focuses on companies that operate internationally in conflict areas and deliver services that are mission essential for military operations and that otherwise would be carried by the armed forces. The dataset has over 1,700 companies from all over the globe.





2023. Swed, Ori; Capaini, Maria; Macleod, Sorcha. Private military and security companies in armed conflict. SIPRI Yearbook.


2021. Swed, O., & Burland, D. “Cyber Mercenaries: Review of the Cyber and Intelligence PMSC Market” Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, the United Nations. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Mercenaries/WGMercenaries/Pages/Report-Cyber-Mercenaries-2021.aspx


2020. Swed Ori, and Daniel Burland. “The Global Expansion of PMSCs: Trends, Opportunities, and Risks” Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination.


2020. Swed, Ori; Burland, Daniel. "Outsourcing War and Security". Oxford Encyclopedia of the Military in Politics. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.ORE_POL-01925.R1


2020. Swed, Ori. The path to outsourcing security in Southeast Asia. NYU SPS CGA Working Paper No. 2/2020.




Using: The Global Private Military and Security Companies Dataset. PWSCL-TTU dataset.

Cite Swed, Ori. 2020. The Global Private Military and Security Companies Dataset. PWSCL-TTU dataset.


Researchers: Ori Swed, Joseph Bongiovi, Daniel Burland, Eleanor Knuston

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