Military contractors & the American way of war

Deborah D. Avant, Renée de Nevers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Contractors are deeply intertwined with the American military and U.S. foreign policy. Over half of the personnel the United States has deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003 have been contractors. Their relationship with the U.S. government, the public, and domestic and international law differs from that of military personnel, and these differences pose both bene1/2ts and risks. America's use of private military and security companies (PMSCs) can provide or enhance forces for global governance. Yet PMSCs can also be used to pursue agendas that do not have the support of American, international, or local publics. Thus far, the use of PMSCs has proved a mixed bag in terms of effectiveness, accountability, and American values. Moving forward in a way that maximizes the bene1/2ts of contractors and minimizes their risks will require careful management of the uncomfortable trade-offs these forces present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-99
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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