State of Power 2021

Coercive World

Key bodies and legislation shaping our coercive world.


Intergovernmental fora

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an intergovernmental organization working in the field of migration, including internally displaced persons, refugees, and migrant workers. It does not however have a rights-based protection mandate, which has made it an attractive tool for Western states seeking to outsource their border-control policies, especially to third countries and non-state actors. This has involved controversial roles in Libya, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a UN agency mandated to aid and protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people, and to assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.

The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) was founded to carry out research, projects and activities on migration-related issues and to provide policy recommendations to the governmental agencies of states, as well as to external governmental and intergovernmental agencies. Although ICMPD has global operations, it is primarily focused on the European area and has 18 member states.

The Five Country Conference (FCC) is a forum for co-operation on migration and border security, between the countries of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States, all members too of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

Industry associations

ASD is a European industry groups advocating for Aeronautics, Space, Defence and Security Industries, which are also increasingly involved in border militarisation. Its members generated a turnover of €246 billion in 2018.

AIDN is the lobby organisation of the Australian military industry, advocating for its interests to the Australian government and military. One of its aims is to maximise opportunities for the Australian industry regarding work for the Australian Border Force.

DISA acts as a collective representative body of the British military industry, interacting with the UK government and defence agencies, including the UK Border Force.

DTC is a South Australia-based membership organisation connecting and supporting Australian industry to develop capability and increase competitiveness in domestic and global defence markets. Border security is one of the fields it is working on.

The European Organisation for Security (EOS) is a European industry association and lobbying group, seeking to advance its industry across many security domains, including borders, cyber, transport and crisis management.

NDIA is the trade organisation of the US military industry, which advocates for strong military and national security policies. Its advocacy includes promoting the use of new (surveillance) technologies for US border security.

Think tanks

Friends of Europe is a Brussels-based think-tank for EU policy analysis and debate. Former think tank Security & Defence Agenda (SDA) was incorporated into Friends of Europe in 2014. European border security was a key issue SDA worked on, exercising considerable influence in the early stages of EU border militarisation policies.

The Kangaroo Group is an association of Representatives of the European Parliament, Commission and Council, Academia, Media and the Business Community. Its main goals are the full implementation of the Internal Market, the Stability of the Euro and the realization of a common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union.

CIS is an anti-immigration think tank. It favors far lower immigration numbers, and produces analyses to further those views. Its reports are disputed by scholars on immigration, fact-checkers, media outlets and immigration-research organizations. Nevertheless it was an influential organisation during the Trump administration.

The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution whose mission is to build and promote conservative public policies. It advocates for stronger border security, including continuation of border wall construction, stricter asylum policies and strengthening of immigration enforcement.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit global policy think tank. It works for the US and other governments, international organizations, private companies and foundations on defense and non-defense issues. On border security RAND for example advises governments on how to use their resources for more effective border management practices.

ASPI is a defence and strategic policy think tank, founded by the Australian government. It advises the government on defence and strategic issues, including border security. ASPI advocated for example for an expansion of powers of the Australian Border Force.


The US Vanguard Group is one of the largest investment companies in the world, managing over $6 trillion in global assets. It is a major shareholder in many companies in the field of border security and control and migration management, including owning over over 15% of the shares of US private prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group.

Blackrock is a global investment company, managing over $8.6 trillion in global assets, and an important shareholder in many border security and control companies. It owns over 5% of IBM, one of the largest contractors for Customs and Border Patrol in the USA, and of Serco, which manages detention centres in Australia and the UK.

Capital Research and Management is a part of the US-based Capital Group, which manages over €2 trillion in global assets. Capital Research and Management is a major shareholder in several border security and control companies, for example owning about 9% of the shares of arms companies Airbus (Europe) and Lockheed Martin (US).

SSGA is the investment management division of State Street Corporation, managing about $6 trillion in global assets. It owns shares in several border security and control companies, including about 15% of the shares of arms company Lockheed Martin and over 5% of the shares of IBM, one of the largest contractors for Customs and Border Patrol in the USA.

Advent International is a US global private equity firm, which specialises in buyouts and restructuring of companies. It owns Cobham, an UK military company which is one of the main contractors for Australian border security, and IDEMIA, a French (biometric) identity and security solutions company.

Schengen Agreement (EU)


Frontex regulation (EU)


Pact on Migration and Asylum (EU)


Border Force Act (Australia)


Migration Act (Australia)


Maritime Powers Act (Australia)


Prevention through Deterrence strategy (US)


Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act (US)


Creation of the Department of Homeland Security (US)


Secure Fence Act (US)


Muslim Ban (US)


Remain in Mexico (US)


Source: Based on interviews with researchers at