From Dogs of War to Soldiers of Peace: Evaluating Private Military and Security Companies as a Civilian Protection Force

Stephen Wittels


This article’s contention is that private military and security personnel are better able to protect civilians supposedly under the purview of UN protection than the UN forces currently tasked with this responsibility. It also claims that recruiting private contractors for this purpose would not introduce downsides like prohibitive financial costs or significant risks of misconduct that would offset contractors’ utility. To make this dual case, the article first identifies those aspects of the UN’s efforts to protect civilians that most inhibit its success, and then uses the framework this analysis produces to demonstrate the intuitive appeal of hiring private contractors to do this work. The third and penultimate section provides analysis that buttresses this intuition and further cements the plausibility of hiring private contractors to conduct UN civilian protection missions. The article concludes with a summary and suggestions for further research and data collection.

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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.