Victor, a Ugandan contractor with Triple Canopy Security Services, stands overwatch duty in Iraq on April 6, 2010. (U.S. Navy photo by Specialist Michael D. Heckman)

ASIS Seeks Committee Members for Private Security Contractor Standard

ASIS International is developing a standard that will be a cross between the ISO 9001, ISO 31000 and ANSI/ASIS.SPC.1 (quality, risk and resilience management, respectively) for private security sector organizations, according to Marc H. Siegel, chair of the PSC.1 technical committee and commissioner, ASIS Global Standards Initiative.

A standards development organization, ASIS announced the contract award from the U.S. Department of Defense in mid-March, seeking applications from the security industry and client and rights groups worldwide. The deadline to submit an application to standards@asisonline.org is March 30. Details of the contract award were not disclosed.

Governments often employ private security contractors when conflict or disaster undermines the rule of law. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama signed the Defense reauthorization for fiscal 2011 (pdf), which included a requirement for standards and third-party certification for private security service providers. The law calls for guidance to establish criteria for:

  • defining standard practices for the performance of private security functions, which shall reflect input from industry representatives as well as the Inspector General of the Department of Defense; and
  • weapons training programs for contractors performing private security functions, including minimum requirements for weapons training programs of instruction and minimum qualifications for instructors for such programs.

Siegel said that ASIS is preparing a “starting point” example document that the technical committee will use to begin discussions. It will be based on principles found in the Montreux Document on Pertinent International Legal Obligations and Good Practices for States related to Operations of Private Military and Security Companies during Armed Conflict (pdf) and the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (pdf).

"This global initiative will codify benchmarks for best practices consistent with the goals of assuring quality of services and respect for human and civil rights," Siegel said. He offered several examples of best practices that private security companies should be implementing, including:

  • identifying legal, regulatory and other requirements related to its facilities, activities, functions, products, services, supply chain, subcontractors, the environment and stakeholders, as well as relevant international humanitarian and human rights agreements and customary international law, and determining how all of these requirements apply to its operations;
  • retaining sufficient personnel and staff with the appropriate competence to fulfill its contractual obligations;
  • establishing, documenting and implementing procedures for background screening and vetting of all personnel and staff; and
  • establishing a procedure to document grievances received from clients and other parties.

He said he expects to have a draft report back to Congress within 250 days; ANSI processing will take longer. Once the standards have been developed, they will have worldwide relevance, Siegel explained, adding that private security companies will have to have quality-assurance management systems implemented and certified by third parties in order to be considered for DOD contracts.

ASIS International, with more than 37,000 members, is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and productivity of security professionals by developing educational programs and materials that address broad security interests.

About the Author

Lisa K. Williams is senior content developer for Security Products.

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