The Ethics of Military Privatization: The US Armed Contractor Phenomenon, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Ethics of Military Privatization

The US Armed Contractor Phenomenon, 1st Edition

By David M. Barnes


220 pages

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Hardback: 9781472464439
pub: 2016-08-23
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315572444
pub: 2016-08-25
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This book explores the ethical implications of using armed contractors, taking a consequentialist approach to this multidisciplinary debate.

While privatization is not a new concept for the US military, the public debate on military privatization is limited to legal, financial, and pragmatic concerns. A critical assessment of the ethical dimensions of military privatization in general is missing. More specifically, in light of the increased reliance upon armed contractors, it must be asked whether it is morally permissible for governments to employ them at all. To this end, this book explores four areas that highlight the ethical implications of using armed contractors: how armed contractors are distinct from soldiers and mercenaries; the commodification of force; the belligerent equality of combatants; and the impact of armed contractors on the professional military. While some take an absolutist position, wanting to bar the use of private military altogether, this book reveals how these absolutist arguments are problematic and highlights that there are circumstances where turning to private force may be the only option. Recognising that outsourcing force will continue, this book thus proposes some changes to account for the problems of commodification, belligerent equality, and the challenge to the military profession.

This book will be of interest to students of private security, military studies, ethics, security studies, and IR in general.

Table of Contents

1. Close Combat Privatization

2. The Armed Contractor Phenomenon: A Contemporary Debate with a Long History

3. Mercenaries, Soldiers, and Armed Contractors: An Explication

4. Armed Military Privatization and the Commodification of Force

5. The Belligerent Equality of Armed Contractors?

6. The Challenge of Military Privatization to the Military Profession

7. The "Second Contractor War" and the Future of Armed Contractors

About the Author

David M. Barnes is a career US Army officer and Assistant Professor at the United States Military Academy. He has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Colorado, USA.

About the Series

Military and Defence Ethics

Military and Defence Ethics
There is an urgent and growing need for all those involved in matters of national defence - from policy makers to armaments manufacturers to members of the armed forces - to behave, and to be seen to behave, ethically. The ethical dimensions of making decisions and taking action in the defence arena are the subject of intense and ongoing media interest and public scrutiny. It is vital that all those involved be given the benefit of the finest possible advice and support. Such advice is best sought from those who have great practical experience or theoretical wisdom (or both) in their particular field and publication of their work in this series will ensure that it is readily accessible to all who need it.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General