Mercenary identities: The self-image of employees of private military-security companies in Iraq




  • Agents and Patterns of Security and War

The objective of this research was to explore the identity, values and attitudes of private security contractors in order to improve our understanding of the professional self-conceptions and motivations of individuals who sign on with private security firms.  More specifically, this exploratory research seeked to examine whether there is an emerging professional identity among employees of private security firms and to what extent such an identity may differ from that of professional soldiers.
Data for this project was collected through an internet-based questionnaire. In conducting this research, we hope to contribute insights based on empirical data to the policy debate over developing industry specific accountability standards regulating the behavior of security contractors.

Project Leader

Project Team

  • Dr. Jan Grebe


  • German Foundation for Peace Research (Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung, DSF)

Duration of project

until 2009


Annual Report 2009

bicc , Bonn (2009)