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Singer, Corporate Warriors (Lesson 10)

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Corporate Warriors by Singer

Ch 1


- 17; providing security has long been an essential duty of the state; now it’s being contracted out;


- 18; “by removing absolute control from government, however, and privatizing it to the market, the state’s hold over violence is broken.”




Ch 2 – Privatized Military History


- 19; “the monopoly of the state over violence is the exception in world history, rather than the rule.”


- 20; private military organizations thrived in periods of systemic transition;


- 29; states took over the military market after Westphalia; esp after Napoleon;


- 34-5; companies like Dutch East India Company contracted their own security


- 38-9; four patterns of private militaries:


-- when quality mattered more than quantity, use of mercenaries was higher


-- complementary relationship of mass military demobilization in one zone to new wars in other weaker state zones


-- private military actors thrive in weakly governed areas


-- frequent linkages between private military organizations and other business ventures


- 39; “the lines between economics and warfare were never clear cut”




Ch 3


- 45; new phenomenon is the corporatization of private military firms (PMFs); seek corporate, not individual profit; compete on global market;




Ch 4 – Why Security has been privatized


- 50; massive increase in global levels of conflict since CW; rise of non-state violence;


- 53; flooded labor pool; flooded weapons in market; decline of local state governance; “states are less willing and less able to guarantee their own sovereign autonomy.”


- 58-9; decline of willingness to help by great power and UN


- 60; changes in character of war: diversification, technologization, civilianization, and criminalization;




Ch 6


-93; tip of the spear typology: military provider firms, military consultant firms, military support firms;




Ch 7-9; provider: Executive Outcomes, former members of South African defense force (SADF); involved in Sierra Leone, Angola,

           Consultant: MPRI – Military Professional Resources Incorporated; training, doctrine, staffing ROTC, staff colleges, writing pubs, etc. 
           Support: Brown & Root services – essential logistics work; (p 144)




Ch 10 – Contractual Dilemmas


- 151; creates genuine principal-agent problem; monitoring challenges


- 154; profit motive alters traditional military calculus;


- 157; motivation – why fight hard?


- 160; military risks becoming over-dependent on contractors


- 168; no shortage of complicating factors: bankruptcy, mergers/acqs, foreign takeover, etc.




Ch 11 – Market Dynamism and Global Security Disruptions


- 169; actors in international politics no longer just states; small states and non-state actors can now access premier military capability;


- 174; PMFs rely on conflict for profit – what does this do to their motivation for finishing a job?


- 190; “The theorized system of ‘billiard ball’ states may gradually be replaced by a multilayered international order resembling that of previous eras.”


-- states like dinosaurs at end of Cretaceous: “powerful but cumbersome, certainly not superceded, but no longer the unchallenged masters of their environment.”




Ch 12 – Private Firms and the Civil-Military balance


- 197; introduction of third party into civil-military balance can be disruptive;


-- 198; table 12.1; PMF destabilize civil-military relations if:  impinge on military prestige, employees get higher pay for same tasks, kept separate and distinct from local force, officers placed in command position or blocking promotion for reg forces, enact programs that make local force obsolete or irrelevant;


-- 203; can be stabilizing if:   provider firms are counterweight to local threats;  PMFs professionalize local force; if their hire enhances local military status; if firms help local military move out of commercial functions; ease demobilization pressures;




Ch 13 – Public Ends, Private Military Means


- 214; Arthur Miller: “Democratic government is responsible government—which means accountable government—and the essential problem in contracting out is that responsibility and accountability are greatly diminished.”




Ch 14 – Morality and the PMF


- moral hazards of military privitization; as profit-driven actors, final decisions are economic and not military or political


- 226; is security a public or private good?


- 228; possibility of unintended consequences seems very high; PMFs have ambiguous states when it comes to morality and ethics;




Ch 15 – Conclusions


- 230; condition are ripe for continued growth in the industry;


- 233; PMFs challenge basic premise of international security: “that states possess a monopoly over the use of force”; thus states as unit of analysis;


-- broadening of civil-military relations theory to incorporate third-party civilian actors is needed;


- 235; states have been lax and haphazard in their out-sourcing practices; just because they can doesn’t mean they should;


- 236; “key realization of contracting is that a firm becomes an extension of government policy and, when operating in foreign lands, its diplomat on the ground.”


- 238; unclear international legal status;


- 242; “war is far too important to be left to private industry.”

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