Johannes Rieckmann

Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security

Dr. Johannes Rieckmann was a DAAD/AGI Research Fellow in March and April 2017. He is a Senior Research Fellow at BIGS, the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security in Potsdam, Germany. His main field of research there is the multidisciplinary conceptualization of a guideline on boundaries and potentials of privatization of security services.

Previously, he was postdoc research associate at DIW, the German Institute for Economic Research located in Berlin. There he worked in a team developing the WISIND crime indicator and collected household and geospatial data from semi-nomadic herders in Kyrgyzstan for a development economics survey. He earned his doctorate at the Chair of Development Economics in Göttingen, Germany, evaluating a water and sanitation program in Yemen. Before that, he worked for a large management consultancy in Belgium. In addition to his native German, Dr. Rieckmann speaks English and French.

While at AGI, Dr. Rieckmann will be working on a project exploring the drivers, root causes, and regulatory aspects of diverging approaches regarding privatization of security services on both sides of the Atlantic. Some of the activities and tasks considered to constitute exclusive responsibilities of public administration in Germany are handled quite differently in the United States—to name but two, policing of university campuses and the operating of prisons. In other fields, one can observe gradual disparities or differences in scale or scope.

Credos regarding main threats, roots, and mitigation strategies sometimes diverge, and balancing civil liberties with civil—and national—security leads to varying solutions and approaches on both sides of the Atlantic. Public resource allocation and regulatory policy concerning the market of civil security lead to remarkable regional distinctions. Budget volumes and decisions of public administration on contracting private suppliers of security services reflect deviating constructs of ideas and schools of thought. Decisions to outsource certain tasks on the one hand, and to concentrate governmental resources and human capital on core business areas on the other hand, undergo a new dynamic considering current threats gaining ground—be it cybercrime, terrorism, or hate crimes in the wake of migrant flows.

The project will be helpful in highlighting common denominators, and defining and delineating additional areas of bilateral and international cooperation. It will inform the on-going discussion regarding conceivable business models and private-public partnerships in the civil security market, shed light on the underlying reasons of deviating approaches, and depict political and judicial limits of transferability as well as aspects of institutional economics.

Recent Content


Privatization of Security Services: Comparing Approaches to Policing and Prisons across the Atlantic

For the past several decades there has been a trend of privatization of services that were previously firmly in the hands of public entities. Happening in both the United States …