The Modern Mercenary: private armies and what they mean for world order

In 2004 Sean McFate had a mission in Burundi: to keep the president alive and prevent the country from spiralling into genocide, without anyone knowing that the United States was involved. The United States was, of course, involved, but only through McFate’s employer, the military contractor DynCorp International. Throughout the world, similar scenarios are playing out daily. The United States can no longer go to war without contractors. Yet we don’t know much about the industry’s structure, its operations, or where it’s heading.

Sean McFate has recently published “The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order”. In this talk he provides an insider’s understanding of what the opaque world of the private military industry is actually like, explaining its economic structure and showing in detail how firms operate on the ground. Sobering prognosis for the future of war follows.

The International Relations Department at LSE