Eastern Economics Assocation meetings, Boston, Massachusetts, 2008

The Privatization of War and Conflict

This session was organized as a project of the Security Policy Working Group and supported by a grant from the Proteus Fund.

The Security Policy Working Group (SPWG), a project of Proteus Fund, is a collaborative policy research consortium. We seek to fundamentally reshape security policy in the United States and to broaden and deepen the public discourse on what constitutes true security in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. We emphasize multilateral, cooperative approaches that lessen the need for, and use of, military force.

SPWG members include individuals and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) representing decades of leadership in independent security policy research and analysis on a broad range of issues. These include: budget and economic considerations; military strategy; doctrine and options; counter-terrorism; homeland security; institutional reform and decisionmaking; and international relations and diplomacy.

Our expertise is strengthened through our collective commitment to aggressively and effectively communicate our research findings and alternative policy options to a wide range of audiences and constituencies.

This session was conceived as an exploration of the ways that private companies are involved in security issues. Anita Dancs presented a paper on security contractors, investigating the outsourcing of traditional military functions. Frida Berrigan looked at the influence of arms manufacturers and traders on economic and security policy. Maeve Powlick (although she was not able to attend the session due to illness) prepared a study of the role and influence of private companies on government policies in conflict-prone countries in Africa.

It was a fascinating session, in which the particpants were given a good overview of this normally hidden, very important aspect of US and other countries' foreign and domestic policies.


The Privatization of the Iraq War
Anita Dancs, National Priorities Project

  Trading in Arms: For Security, Friendship or Profit (or all three)?
Frida Berrigan, Arms and Security Initiative, New America Foundation


For-Profit Firms Performing State Functions: The Case of Conflict Countries in Africa
K. Maeve Powlick, Skidmore College