Special Report

The 4 Biggest Private Militaries on Earth

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Given the security trends around the world, private security companies are getting bigger. To determine the world’s four largest private armies, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Contract Security Industry White Paper from Robert H. Perry & Associates, a broker for manned guarding companies. Companies were ranked based on global revenue for the most recent year available. (Also see, the largest armies in history.)

More and more large and small companies are outsourcing their security needs to private firms. These private security companies offer a suite of services: alarms and alarm response units, licensed security guards, surveillance, airport and border patrol, security crisis management, special events security oversight, and consulting and investigations services. 

Private security companies have a presence on every continent and employ thousands of people, providing security needs to hospitals, financial institutions, chemical and petroleum manufacturers, commercial real estate firms, and local, state, and federal governments. 

Global demand for security services is forecast to rise 3.6% per year to $263 billion by 2024, according to a 2020 report from Freedonia Global Security Services. Growth will be driven by the increased in-house security outsourcing as well as an increase in electronics security offerings. 

Here are the 4 largest private armies in the world.

 

4. GardaWorld
> Global revenue: $2.8 billion
> Total employees: 120,000
> Country: Canada

GardaWorld was founded by Canadian entrepreneur Stéphan Crétier in 1995, who now acts as president and CEO of the security services company. GardaWorld has more than 4,000 clients, including companies in natural resources, property management, health care, governments, retail, special events, and transportation. It provides airport pre-board security screening at 27 airports across Canada.

Its U.S. division’s mobile security unit includes former combat veterans from the military’s special operations units in support of diplomatic and military personnel. It provides mobile security assets to the Department of States in the Middle East and Africa. GardaWorld also provides former U.S. military medical practitioners in support of U.S. diplomatic, defense, and development activities in conflict and post-conflict zones.

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3. Prosegur
> Global revenue: $4.1 billion
> Total employees: 165,000
> Country: Spain

The Spanish security firm was founded by Herberto Gut in 1976. Prosegur now operates in 26 countries, including the U.S., which it entered in early 2019 and. Its largest area of operations is in Latin America.

The company has five areas of expertise: alarms; security (surveillance and technology services); cybersecurity; logistic, cash and management solutions; and business process outsourcing solutions for financial institutions. Security and cash and management solutions make up more than 90% of Prosegur’s business.

2. Securitas
> Global revenue: $11.9 billion
> Total employees: 355,000
> Country: Sweden

Securitas, based in Sweden and founded in 1934, shifted direction in 2020 to emphasize its more technologically focused offerings instead of its manned guarding services. Securitas operates in 47 countries and has about 153,000 clients.

Operations in the U.S. are organized in four units – guarding, electronic security, Pinkerton corporate risk management, and critical infrastructure services. Guarding includes on-site, mobile, and remote services.

Like rival companies G4S and Allied Universal, Securitas invested heavily in training and technology in the last few years as companies looked to outsource their security needs.

1. Allied Universal Security Services
> Global revenue: $18.0 billion
> Total employees: 160,000
> Country: United States

Allied Universal Security Services, based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, was formed in 2016 through the combination of security companies Allied Security and Universal Protection. It now operates in 85 countries.

Allied Universal is a security and facility services company that focuses on education, health care, retail, commercial real estate, government, and corporate campuses. The company provides security at chemical and petrochemical sites throughout North America, hospitals and nursing homes, commercial real estate, defense and aerospace, aviation, ports, financial institutions, and government.

Allied Universal bought G4S, which was at the time ranked as the third-largest global security firm, for $5.3 billion in April 2021, creating the largest security company in the world with $18 billion in revenue.

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