The United States and ICoCA share a common aim: promoting effective private security services while upholding human rights, international humanitarian law and the rule of law


Why does the United States actively support and participate in ICoCA? 

The United States and ICoCA share common goals: both seek to promote the provision of effective private security services consistent with respect for human rights, international humanitarian law and the rule of law.  As such, the United States was deeply involved in the development of the Code and was a founding member of ICoCA.  The United States has been instrumental in supporting the work of this vital multi-stakeholder initiative to promote human rights and accountability in the use of private security companies (PSCs).  ICoCA can also play an important role in efforts to distinguish professional companies engaged in the provision of much-needed security services from illicit other bad actors purporting to provide private security services, particularly in complex and otherwise high risk, unstable, or fragile operating environments.  In addition, for the United States as a contractor of security services, a private security sector with higher performance standards and more robust accountability mechanisms that respects human rights improves the quality and professionalism of security services, enhancing the safety of United States missions worldwide.


How does United States support ICoCA? 

The United States supports ICoCA in a myriad of ways: 

  • As a member of the Board of Directors, the United States works with the government, civil society and private sector pillars to shape ICoCA policies and procedures and provide oversight of the Secretariat.   
  • The United States provides financial support to the work of ICoCA’s Secretariat.  
  • The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security requires ICoCA membership in good standing for PSCs through its contracting mechanism for security services for high threat posts.   
  • The United States routinely emphasises the importance and benefits of ICoCA in bilateral engagements with other governments dealing with challenging domestic security environments.   


What benefit does ICoCA bring to the United States, and what benefits does it bring to other stakeholders? 

ICoCA provides a mechanism for international cross-sector collaboration in a highly dynamic sector to set standards for PSCs across jurisdictions and borders and to improve oversight of the private security sector. Higher standards in the private security sector benefit those procuring their services, including the United States; the employees within that sector, particularly local guards; and the individuals with whom the PSC personnel interact in the locations in which they operate. ICoCA also provides a significant benefit to its Member and Affiliate companies, which have access to ICoCA’s many resources, tools and expertise for implementing the Code of Conduct and are thereby able to differentiate themselves during the procurement process from irresponsible or disreputable actors.  


What are the advantages that could accrue to governments that give preference to ICoCA companies in their direct procurement of security services? 

ICoCA’s efforts to raise performance standards and enhance accountability for PSCs provide a benefit across all sectors to clients procuring security services. To the extent that governments take ICoCA membership into account in their procurement practices, their efforts not only demonstrate their commitment to, but also enhance the impact of, ICoCA’s efforts to raise the human rights performance and professional standards of PSCs. Furthermore, governments contracting with ICoCA Member companies reflect their commitment to furthering their respect for their international law obligations, as restated in the Montreux Document on private military and security companies.  

The United States contracts private security contractors to provide security for its diplomatic missions. Only private security companies that are members in good standing with ICoCA are eligible to bid on contracts to protect U.S.  missions located in certain areas of heightened threat.  These contracts account for a significant share of the annual cost globally of contracted security and bodyguard services for U.S. missions. In addition to requiring ICoCA membership, these contracts expressly require that the contractor operate in accordance with the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers.


Susan Benda, Deputy Legal Adviser, United States Mission to the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Geneva, Switzerland, & ICoCA Board Director representing Government of the United States of America