The PSD project defines Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) as private business enities that deliver to consumers a wide spectrum of military and security services. They are commercial, benefit-oriented companies, which need to fit the following criteria:
Since a lot of companies offer quite a broad array of products and services, the main challenge is to differentiate these companies from other strategically relevant industries (reconstruction and extraction). Furthermore they have a broad client base ranging from governments, IOs to Multinational corporations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO). Since the PSD mainly focuses on public outsourcing to the private sector three additional criteria are central:
Limited Statehood is related to deficits in the effective control of territory, the monopoly of violence, and the ability of state actors to enforce and implement political decisions (cf. SFB700 2005: 36). The PSD Project makes use of three main variables of the Political Instability Task Force (PITF) database (http://globalpolicy.gmu.edu/pitf/) to identify hard cases of Limited Statehood: MAGEREA, MAGFAIL, and MAGVOIL. The sample size is composed of countries that displayed the highest characteristics (4) in at least one variable and in at least one state-year constellation.
|Congo-Brazzaville||Mozambique||Yugoslavia (Serbia & Kososvo)|
Today, the demand side of the market for protection and force is composed of private and public actors. In failing states transnational corporations and non-governmental organisations hire PMSCs to protect their property, investments and humanitarian missions. Although these arrangements are an integral part of the overall security architecture in weak or collapsed states, the PSD collects data on public-private contracts. Beside practical reasons of data access restriction, this approach was chosen in analogy to the fact that the privatisation of security is mainly discussed as a shift from the public to the private sector. To understand this (partial) shift from government to governance, the PSD project focuses on the conditions and motives that guide public actors* to delegate main security functions to PMSCs.
Focusing on such delegation processes by public actors, two logical combinations have to be taken into account.
*We treat public actors as the sum of all institutions and bodies of states and international organisations.