Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2012


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.