Military Privatisation and its Impact on the Nature of Warfare


Melbourne Journal of Politics 32 (2007): 6-24



The rise and proliferation  of private military companies  (PMCs) came in response to the changing  political,  strategic and economic  environment  following  the Cold War. Certain  places more than others, particularly sub-Saharan  Africa, have required  the services  of  such  external  actors  to  maintain  even a  minimum  level  of  order.  PMCs however  represent   an  uneasy  dilemma   insofar  as  our   present  understanding   of international  relations  and  international  law is concerned, facilitating  highly-sought on-call military capability on the one hand and creating immense ethical and even socioeconomic  complications  on the other. What  is certain is that the privatisation of military affairs reflects, rather than merely accelerates,  the changing  nature of state­ centric politics and of warfare, and is thus a fixture of the present era. Rather than categorically  condemning  them,  a  nuanced  and  balanced  approach  is  required  that takes into consideration potential benefits especially amid intractable conflicts.

Photo credit: Saurabh Das/AP

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