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Countering terrorism in the shadows: The role of private security and military companies


[ 1 ] School of International Relations, University of New York in Prague, Londynska 41, 10200 Prague, Czech Republic

Year of publication


Published in

Security and Defence Quarterly

Journal year: 2020 | Journal volume: vol. 31 | Journal number: no. 4

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • Security
  • Regulations
  • Privatization
  • Counterterrorism
  • Proxy

EN The article identifies the main features of the PSMCs’ involvement in counterterrorism operations and outlines what their future involvement might look like with its implications for international peace and security. The main methods used to gather data and to draw inferences are a content analysis of relevant primary and secondary sources, and a discourse analysis, used as a method of examining the prevailing discourse surrounding the activities of PSMCs, seeking to understand the level of transparency, accountability and attributability of these actors. So far, the PSMCs’ potential for counterterrorism has not been fully exploited. There are many challenges surrounding the existence and operations of PSMCs, mainly lack of transparency and accountability, the continuous significance of the plausible deniability and political expediency PSMCs provide to nation governments, and an insufficient and inadequate international regulatory and control framework with no sanction or enforcement mechanisms. Most recently, the tendency to re-legitimise PSMCs’ activities can be identified. There will most probably be an expansion of PSMCs’ activities in the near future, as climate change consolidates security as a commodity, not a right. Therefore, there is a renewed urgency for adequate and effective international regulatory and control mechanisms on their activities on the international level.

Date of online publication


Pages (from - to)

155 - 169



License type

CC BY-NC-ND (attribution - noncommercial - no derivatives)

Open Access Mode

open journal

Open Access Text Version

final published version

Release date


Date of Open Access to the publication

at the time of publication

Points of MNiSW / journal


Points of MNiSW / journal in years 2017-2021