Many people are not familiar with the term private security contractor. They may think that a private security contractor is a private investigator, or perhaps a security guard or even a body man who protects a VIP or an executive of some form. This is not the case at all. In fact, a private security contractor has nothing to do with private security in the private sector at all, so a private security contractor is as far from a retail security guard as you might imagine, they are more akin to military personnel.
Military personnel, you say to yourself, what could a private security contractor possibly have to do with the military? Well, the fact is, they do have certain affiliations with military actions, particularly war and police actions, even though they are not exactly military. Are you confused yet?
People somewhat familiar with the term often get the concept wrong as well. Many people think that private security contractors are mercenaries. They think of movies and stories they read in magazines, but the fact is, a private security contractor is not a mercenary, not at all. To a certain degree they are a gun for hire, and they do work in war zones, like mercenaries, but that is the extent of the similarity.
Mercenaries are exactly guns for hire. Mercenaries fight IN wars for one side or another, whoever is paying them to fight. They are generally military specialists who are hired soldiers that actively participate in some military conflict, not for God or Country, but for cash. They simply work or ‘fight’ for whoever pays them to.
Private security contractors are nothing like that at all. The fact is, wars are an extremely large undertaking, and they involve an awful lot more than two armies fighting. They involve security guard companies that help perform many functions for companies at war. From facilitating and providing weapons to helping build infrastructure, there are many companies hired by governments to assist military operations in war zones or police zones.
This is where a private security contractor comes in. The private security contractor protects the interests, the private companies, that contract with the government during military operations in foreign lands. Private security contractors only work with legitimate contractors that work with governments that follow legalized or sanctioned military operations. In other words they are completely and legally sound.
There are hundreds of contractors in the Middle East, for example, that help the United States military and government with its daily operations. Private security contractors are hired by these firms to protect their people and their assets in the field. Private security contractors are often ex-military with a high amount of expertise or experience, perhaps ex- special operations. But in any case, they protect those companies that help governments wage war.