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Future Of Privatized Warfare

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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This monograph explores the phenomenon of privatized warfare mercenarism in its historical and contemporary contexts in order to explain its resurgence and anticipate its future in the United States. Current literature is nearly devoid of theoretical explanations for the recent growth of private military companies PMCs. This study fills this void by defining the logic of privatized warfare, those dynamics which impel a nation-states reliance on mercenaries rather than its own citizens. It explores the political, social, ideological, and environmental factors that transformed the nation-state and the conduct of warfare across time. This analysis is broken into three periods end of the feudal period to the French Revolution when mercenarism was dominant the French Revolution to the second half of the 20th Century approx. 1990 when mercenarism was delegitimized and subsequently declined and the current period which has seen a resurgence in the form of PMCs. Within each phase of privatized warfare, complex systems theory is used to explain the set of internal and external dynamics that constrained and influenced the state with respect to employing mercenaries or its own citizens in external coercion. Some key dynamics include the state-society and citizen-military relationships, social norms, character of war, and the autonomy of the nation-state within the international system. This methodology highlights the important patterns and parallels that exists between the history of the nation-state and the current dynamics of the United States. In fact, the emerging nature of the United States resembles the states in the era when mercenarism was dominant while diverging from the phase of its decline. These correlations indicate that privatized warfare will continue to expand. This monograph illustrates that the use of mercenaries is not a historical anomaly but its normal state.

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