The Dynamics of Buying Peace

Security Studies Ph.D. candidate Christopher Faulkner recently published an article in the journal Civil Wars. Faulkner’s article titled “Buying Peace? Civil War Peace Duration and Private Military & Security Companies,” explores the dynamics and implications of private military and security company (PMSC) involvement in civil conflicts. Suggesting that scholarship has paid scant attention to the actual services delivered by PMSCs, Faulkner argues that PMSCs providing governments with force augmentation, wrought by their participation in direct military combat, can jeopardize post-conflict stability. Faulkner hypothesizes that conflicts which see PMSCs hired to train and/or provide logistical support to a government’s military are less likely to see renewed fighting.

The article tests the hypotheses with three case narratives—the Angolan Civil War, the Sierra Leone Civil War, and the Croatian War of Independence. The findings lend support to the proposed hypotheses. When PMSCs are contracted to participate in direct military combat operations, rebels’ calculations about the relative strength of the government’s military can become clouded. This increases the probability for conflict recurrence as the diffusion of military capabilities from PMSC to government are less certain than in cases where PMSCs refrain from direct engagement with rebel groups. Overall, this research provides the first contribution to the literature on PMSCs and civil war peace duration. Christopher would like to thank Thomas Dolan, Ph.D. and Jonathan Powell, Ph.D. for their useful comments on earlier drafts of the paper as well as fellow graduate students Rebecca SchielClayton Besaw and Joshua Lambert.

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