Interested in contractor usage/non-state security assistance? Me too! Check out my current research to the right, and please also review the work of my affiliations with the Forum for Private Security Research (FPSR) at King's College London, the International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA), and the International Stability Operations Association (ISOA).
Turning the tides of war: The impact of private military and security companies on Nigeria’s counterinsurgency against Boko Haram
Pages 144-157 | Published online: 20 Jul 2018
ABSTRACT Since the 2003 war in Iraq, private military and security companies (PMSCs) have become increasingly legitimate actors in modern conflicts. Despite this normative shift, rumours in March 2015 regarding the use of South African mercenaries in Nigeria to combat Boko Haram insurgents caused an international outrage, while the Nigerian government remained nonchalantly silent on the matter. This article investigates the impact of mercenaries on the conflict in the last six months of the Jonathan government. Using primary and secondary qualitative research, it assesses the role that PMSCs played in Nigeria’s counterinsurgency strategy, along with the ensuing reaction of international and local media to the outsourcing of violence to foreign companies. The article concludes that – notwithstanding the improved image of PMSCs in the world, and the actual impact of the contractors on the Nigerian counterinsurgency effort – the stigma of mercenaries continues to plague the industry, particularly on the African continent.
Reassessing private military and security company (PMSC) ‘competition‘ in civil war: lessons from Sierra Leone
Christopher M. Faulkner,Joshua E. Lambert, Jonathan M. Powell
Pages 641-659 | Published online: 13 Jun 2019
ABSTRACT This paper challenges recent claims that competitive market dynamics incentivize Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) to fully commit to providing effective services, thereby reducing the duration of civil war. Our assessment of a most-likely case scenario for this argument – Sierra Leone – reveals four critical problems. First, there is rarely direct competition, even if numerous companies are present. Second, the presence of multiple PMSCs usually represents a collaboration among subsidiaries providing distinct services, often under the same corporate umbrella. Third, data aggregation obfuscates the overlap of PMSC presence, inflating the amount of perceived competition. Finally, we raise concerns regarding how quantitative analyses can conflate conflict intensity with conflict termination.
Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs), Military Effectiveness, and Conflict Severity in Weak States, 1990–2007
Ulrich Petersohn 2015
ABSTRACT For more than two decades, private military and security companies (PMSCs) have become increasingly involved in armed conflicts. A common view is that PMSCs are menaces who simply take economic advantage of—and thereby aggravate—already bad situations. Yet, empirical research has rarely investigated these claims or the impact of commercial actors’ selling force-related services. This article investigates how PMSCs impact the severity of armed conflict in weak states and advances the argument that PMSC services increase the client’s military effectiveness. In turn, increased military effectiveness translates into increased conflict severity, the extent of which depends on type of service provided by the PMSC, the level of competition on the market, and oversight.
I'm the Principal Investigator for the following project via the International Studies Association: