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What Do Private Security Contractors Do?

The term ‘private security contractor’ is commonly misunderstood, and for good reason—for those outside the industry the name is ambiguous and misleading. Such personnel has nothing to do with carrying out regular security guard duties, nor are they close or executive protection officers (although they might work in such positions as a facet of their role).

Private security contractors are more correctly referred to as private military security contractors (PMSCs). They might also be known as private military operators. Essentially, they’re highly skilled individuals who’re employed in their thousands to carry out specific roles in war zones and combat situations. This might be in assistance to a military presence or isolation. They’re not, however, employed in combat roles—only in defensive situations.

The following discusses some of the duties carried out by private security contractors.

What Do Private Security Contractors Do? An overview 

  •     The role
  •     The employers
  •     The personnel

 The role

A popular misconception is that private security contractors are mercenaries. While they are, very often, well-remunerated for their services, it does these highly specialized individuals a disservice to refer to them by such a term. 

While they work in hostile territory, the role doesn’t involve offensive military actions—unless, of course, they come under unprovoked and direct attack. Their roles are highly varied and include the protection of government buildings, corporate HQs, maintenance of infrastructure, and armed security convoy, all in locations where attacks by criminals or terrorists are likely to occur. 

The employers

Private security contractors are employed directly by the military as well as through private companies. Many of these are large, multinational organizations who place their personnel directly with the Department of Defense.

The personnel

Due to the specialist nature of the role, most private security contractors are ex-military. However, some candidates with extensive knowledge of law enforcement and intelligence gathering might also work in such roles, and in some cases, medical personnel might also be employed.

Whatever the background, at a minimum individuals must have undertaken basic military training and have a clean criminal record. Weapons training is pretty much mandatory, as is gaining deep security clearance.

What Do Private Security Contractors Do? Legalities and job responsibilities

There is a very clear difference between the role of a private security contractor and that of a mercenary: quite simply, the former is legal, the latter is not. The activities of private companies that employ PMSCs are heavily regulated. They’re also restricted to working in countries that authorize their employment.

Job responsibilities are varied, ranging from guarding duties to advisory roles. Some examples include:

  • Protecting oil rigs
  • Training security personnel
  • Providing operational and intelligence support
  • Assisting in drone missions
  • Protecting important assets, such as strategic buildings and fuel pipelines
  • Developing security plans 
  • Intelligence analysis
  • Firefighters
  • Medical personnel

The private security market accounts for billions of dollars, with professionals playing critical roles supporting the armed forces and carrying out hazardous operations. Companies that employ and provide PMSCs specialize in various areas. This might be maritime security, land-based security, or both.

Contact Fast Guard Service for the Provision of All Your Security Needs

Fast Guard Service is a globally-recognized and respected provider of security service through all levels of the spectrum. With an international reach, their expertise services all elements of the security industry, from that of basic security guard through close/executive protection, and right up to that of private security contractors.

Whatever your security requirements, you can trust Fast Guard to deliver. To arrange a confidential, no-obligation discussion, visit // and schedule an appointment with one of their experts today.