Mercenary companies. Private military contractors in Europe include:
G4S, formerly Group 4 Securicor, is based in London and is one of the world’s largest employers, employing ~620,000 worldwide. Created in 2004 when the U.K.’s Securicor merged with the British-Danish Group 4 Falck.
G4S acquired a large U.K.-U.S. competitor and Iraq & Afghanistan contractor, Armorgroup, in 2008 (cf. Defence Systems Ltd below).
Other interesting G4S acquisitions:
Wackenhut (U.S.A., 2002), Progard Securitas (Serbia, 2008), ArmorGroup (see Defence Systems Limited below; U.S.A./U.K., 2008), Touchcom which “installs and maintains web-based electronic security systems and facility management software” (U.S.A., 2008) and GLS, “a provider of outsourced justice services,” i.e. a prisons contractor (U.K., 2008). English Wikipedia listed, among the 2009 acquisitions, “Secura Monde International Limited and Shiremoor International Engineering Limited, together, the UK’s leading specialist banknote and high security technical and commercial advisory companies; All Star International for $60M, one of the premier facilities management and base operations support companies providing services to the US Government; Adesta, US-based provider of integrated security systems and communication systems; and Hill & Associates Consultants Limited, Asia’s leading provider of specialist risk-mitigation consulting services.” In 2010 they bought a large South African security firm. In 2011, they bought an electronic monitoring device manufacturer and what looks like a U.K. alarm system company.
Clients include Israel.
Complaints were made about Wackenhut’s guarding of U.S. nuclear facilities and military bases due to employee behavior that didn’t meet requirements. In 2013 G4S said they would be divesting themselves of their U.S. government services contractors.
Defence Systems Limited, an early private military contractor (est. 1981) that the founder of Hart Group managed before he left and founded Hart in 1999. DSL was run by Hart’s Richard Bethell, now Lord Westbury, and Sir Alistair Morrison. The company was bought in 1997 by a Florida manufacturer of body armor, riot-control equipment and armored vehicles, merged into a company headquartered in Wyoming, then became ArmorGroup, which was bought by the British giant G4S in 2008, bringing in about 9000 employees. It appears they also merged with an offshoot of the Soviet K.G.B., called Alpha-A (est. 1991), in 1997—the K.G.B.’s Alpha group is said to have helped with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and suppressing protests in Lithuania. Before G4S acquired them, DSL’s clients included oil companies, mining companies, government embassies, international organizations hiring them for post-conflict humanitarian missions and groups around the world hiring them for counterinsurgency training. ArmorGroup still existed after G4S’s 2008 buyout and removal from the London Stock Exchange, because in 2009 they lost the contract to supply the security for the U.S. embassy in Kabul due to employee behavior that didn’t meet requirements.
Hart Group, established in 1999 by former British military officer Richard Bethell, now Lord Westbury, the group’s headquarters are in Bermuda. A website said their website once said, “Hart specialises in mitigating security risk globally, across land, sea and air.” That is essentially what their website still says today, only bigger.
The originally-British Hart Group’s companies include: CTG Global, Erinys International, Hart, Longport Aviation, Symbion Power and Hart Maritime Hubs:
CTG Global: part of Hart Group, which says CTG does “human resource management and consultancy services.” Their website says they specialize in post-conflict humanitarian work.
Erinys International, a British private security company headquartered in the Virgin Islands. Founded in 2001 by a former British military officer, it grew big in 2004 fulfilling contracts in Iraq. A subsidiary of Hart Group, which says Erinys does “risk mitigation across Africa primarily in the Oil and Gas sector.”
Longport Security‘s website says, “Prevent acts of unlawful inteference with Civil Aviation.” This is another subsidiary of Hart Group.
Symbion Power is a U.S. engineering firm that has been awarded massive contracts for rebuilding Iraq’s electricity infrastructure. A member of Hart Group.
Aegis, a British firm hired by the U.S. to oversee U.S. contractors in Iraq. Aegis employees were allegedly the ones shooting at Iraqi civilians in video that surfaced in 2005.
Rubicon International, a British firm that e.g. recruited for Erinys and merged with Aegis in 2005.
AKE Group, a U.K. firm (est. 1991) with offices around the world that provides security and intelligence services.
Babylon Gates Ltd provides patrol and detection dogs, de-mining and security services.
Control Risks Group, a British firm that provided guard services in Iraq. Apparently originally founded in 1974 to provide risk analysis to Lloyd’s of London? Now a major private military contractor.
Edinburgh International, based in London and Dubai, provides “risk management and security.”
FSI Worldwide might be a British company that provides military services. Their website says they got their start in 2006 providing Gurkha contracting and they have a British charity.
Genric Security, a British firm that provided security services in Iraq in partnership with the Kuwait-based Arab Orient Group.
Global Risk, a British firm that provided security in Iraq.
Henderson Risk, a British firm that worked in Iraq. Today their website says they provide “Business Intelligence, Asset Protection and Crisis Management services.”
Infinite Security Solutions, a company registered in Anguilla, the Virgin Islands, Ghana, Hong Kong, Singapore and the U.K. that provides risk management services on land and sea. Affiliated with London insurance companies.
International Defence Systems UK Ltd, a company that provides air support parts and services.
Risk Advisory Group, a British umbrella group for private military contractors.
Janusian, a risk management subsidiary of the British Risk Advisory Group.
New Century consulting, founded by a Belfast-born top British officer in Iraq. Provides police and military services and training.
Olive Group is a for-hire security services company headquartered in Dubai who are apparently helping write some of the U.K.’s standards and codes of conduct for private military companies. During the second Iraq war they had an office in Mayfair, London, U.K.
Restrata was an Olive Group company guarding a large housing development construction project outside Baghdad.
Pilgrims Group, a British firm that provides security and intelligence support and training, as well as security, surveillance and communications equipment.
Saladin Security, Ltd, previously known as KMS, Ltd, is a London-based company established in 1975 that provides security services, equipment and training. And kidnap & extortion mitigation.
Security Support Solutions, 3S, a London company founded in 2003. Bloomberg Businessweek’s profile said 3S “provides armoured vehicles; helicopter solutions; aviation security; maritime security; and security consulting, including risk assessment, threat analysis, and vulnerability assessment. It serves governments, NGO’s, private security companies, news agencies, and the military sector.”
Tangiers Group, an organization based in Malta and affiliated with Lloyd’s of London that has the following subsidiaries:
Tangiers International, “the high touch, frontline medical and emergency services division of the group.”
Tangiers Global, “the insurance underwriting and brokerage arm of the organisation.”
The Organisation for Better Security or OBS, “a membership community for Tangiers’ clients that provides actionable intelligence about conditions in conflict zones.”
Reconnaissance Group, based in Dublin. Their website says they enable business to be done in hostile environments, providing services under the categories of “Reconnaissance Market Entry, Security & Risk Management, Executive Protection, Project Support, Crisis Management, Intelligence & Investigations, TSCM (de-bugging), Cultural Awareness Training.”
Reconnaissance Trace Management Security Services & Key Holding, a subsidiary of Reconnaissance Group, says their name stands for Tracking, Reconnaissance Intelligence Management Solutions (RIMS), Alarms, CCTV and Electronic Surveillance Counter Measures.
Securitas AB, in Sweden. Owns the Pinkerton detective agency now. In 2012, they had about 300,000 employees around the world.
The company that became Group 4 was formed as a division of Securitas AB in 1968. In 1981 it was it was separated from Securitas AB when the owner’s sons divided the company’s Swedish and international operations after buying out their father. The international entity became known as Group 4 because it combined four British security companies. They merged with the Danish Falck in 2000 to form Group 4 Falck, which merged with the British Securicor in 2004 to form the world’s biggest security firm by revenue and the world’s second or third-largest employer by employees, G4S.
The Securitas founder’s sons bought the company from him in 1976 and reorganized it in 1981. The Securitas remainder was sold in 1983. The company’s enormous expansion began in 1989.
Security firms acquired by Securitas include, in addition to the famous Pinkertons,
Protectas SA, a Swiss security company.
Update on 08 Jul 2014: Munich police searched 13 Securitas “objects,” including offices and a suspect’s villa, because the company is suspected of subcontracting work in exchange for bribes. The company informed police themselves after receiving a tip. Securitas’s Munich branch has about 1400 employees and is subordinated to a holding company in Düsseldorf.
Falck, which merged into Securitas AB and then G4S, was a Danish security company.
Secopex, based in Carcassone and founded in 2003, with a structure “based on the large Anglo-American companies that dominate this sector,” according to a 2011 newspaper article written because one of their top officers was killed in Benghazi.
Ecolog International provides services to the German Bundeswehr and clients from other N.A.T.O. countries and was able to grow as a company via contracts in the post-9/11 interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. German media said Ecolog has created a complicated Geflecht of subsidiaries around the world that are legally independent entities, making the enterprise less transparent. Employees of the company have been investigated in several countries for money laundering and drug smuggling.
Interesting story in the Frankfurter Rundschau: During the Bundeswehr’s deployment in Afghanistan, they had problems in 2006 with camouflage uniforms coming back from Ecolog’s laundry services slightly pink in color, which could make the soldiers more visible on night patrols, “with appropriate viewing devices,” F.R. said. It was attributed to using the wrong soap, and contracts were changed twice to prescribe which soap should be used. But it sounds like someone just threw in a red sock at the laundry.
Ge2b Seguridad Internacional, a Spanish company that provides security-related manpower and services to governments and industry.
(ZILLED nah FEAH men.)