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The Principle of the Marketization of Security

2014 July 11
by Jason Nairn, CPP, CISSP

In a series of posts, I am outlining three principles that I believe apply to working relationships in homeland security.  This is a thought experiment presented for discussion and review.  These principles are derived from my own experience as a homeland security practitioner and are presented to highlight issues within the homeland security enterprise that I believe are interesting for further study and discussion.

While future posts may flesh out the details and background associated with the Principles, they will be presented in brief initially.

The Principle of the Marketization of Security.

The Principle of Marketization of Security states that the changing role of security in the modern, networked society will require increased privatization of security services by virtue of the economic forces of the marketplace.

Essentially, security threats affect each individual in society in a much more direct way than prior to the digital age.  Cyber attacks, for example, target the identity and assets of individuals, compromising the security of families directly.  The increased prevalence of risk in the lives of individual citizens means that the responsibility for securing those citizens must be spread to more security professionals.  Privatization, by definition, gives ownership to more individuals in the population and also creates economic incentives for more efficient service (Filopovic, 2005).

As a result of these forces, governments will be unable to compete with the efficiency of the private sector in many (not all) areas of security, as the goals of government are generally political and less economic (Poole, 1996).  This principle dictates that more and more security-related services that are currently provided by government agencies will be privatized in the future.  In the absence of an understanding of these forces, the transition could stress relationships that are essential to the security of the homeland.


Poole, Robert W. “Privatization for Economic Development.” The Privatization Process. Ed. Terry L. Anderson and Peter J. Hill. United States of America: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1996. 1-18.

Filopovich, Adnan. “Impact of Privatization on Economic Growth.” Issues in Political Economy, Vol 14, August 2005. 1-6.

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