Whereas the values, attitudes and motivations of soldiers serving in their countries’ armed forces have been widely studied, to date we know very little about the motivations and self-conception of individuals working for the private security industry. Using data obtained through an online survey, this article explores the values, attitudes and identity of more than 200 private security contractors with law enforcement backgrounds and operational experience with a security firm in Iraq. Contrary to media dominating images of ruthless, money-grabbing mercenaries, respondents in this sample adhered to attitudes and values very similar to those of professional soldiers serving in Western militaries.

Author Bio(s)

Volker Franke is Associate Professor of Conflict Management at Kennesaw State University. He is the author of Preparing for Peace: Military Identity, Value-Orientations, and Professional Military Education and more than 30 journal articles, book chapters, case studies and research reports on issues related to peace and security studies, conflict management, civil-military relations, development policy and social identity. Email: vfranke@kennesaw.edu


Blackwater security guards, constabulary roles, contractor identity, identity, Iraq, peace and stability operations, post-conflict environments, private security contractors, private security industry, professional identity, social identity, social identity theory (SIT), United States occupation

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