The Department of Defense, to include Geographic Combatant Commanders, may contract for private security functions to fulfill non-combat requirements for security in Contingency Operations, Humanitarian or Peace Operations, and other military operations or exercises. Private security functions include guarding of personnel, facilities, designated sites, or property of a Federal agency, the contractor or subcontractor, or a third party. The use of force by PSCs is limited to self-defense, the defense of others and the protection of U.S. Government property. Deadly force can only be used in response to an imminent lethal threat to persons protected by the PSC, PSC personnel themselves, or to prevent the loss or destruction of inherently dangerous property or critical infrastructure. PSCs may not engage in combat, which is defined as deliberate destructive action against hostile armed forces or other armed actors. It is the policy of the Department of Defense that PSCs must be regularly established, registered, well regulated, rigidly disciplined, properly staffed with carefully selected operating personnel. This policy extends to include any other activity for which personnel are required to carry weapons in the performance of their duties. This policy reflects U.S. law and is implemented through Department of Defense Directives, Instructions, and acquisition policy, to include the use of rigorous and verifiable business and operational standards.

DoD Goal for PSCs:

Contracted private security functions remain a legitimate and effective method for providing non-inherently governmental protection of personnel, property, and activities in contingencies, areas of other significant military operations, peace operations, and designated military exercises where there is a credible threat of criminal or other unlawful violence and where the use of military or other government security forces are unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate.
  • The use of force in such protective services is limited to self-defense and defense of others against unlawful attack.

  • Services must be provided using methods and techniques that promote, and do not undermine, long-term stability and security of the region in which these services are performed.

  • Misconduct on the part of a PSC affects the ability of all PSCs to operate. Therefore, contracted security functions should be performed to quality standards common to all private security providers, regardless of contracting entity.
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