The increasing deployment of foreign service officials in fragile and post-conflict environments has enormously magnified the need to protect diplomatic premises and personnel. Consequently, several states have resorted to private security companies (PSCs) as providers of diplomatic protection. As epitomised by the scandals surrounding the United States government’s use of armed contractors, however, the privatisation of diplomatic security has often proved problematic. This article analyses the scope, causes and implications of outsourcing diplomatic protection, assessing the extent to which the use of PSCs by the US State Department offers an appropriate response to the need to secure diplomatic personnel in dangerous locations, and providing some policy recommendation on how to improve the effectiveness and accountability of privatised diplomatic protection.
Affiliations: 1: Department of International Relations, Leiden University Leiden The Netherlands email@example.com