From Mercenary to UN Contractor?

  • Malcolm Hugh Patterson


This chapter examines an evolving international military labour market. The general argument is that the conspicuous prejudice widely attached to non-state mercenarism and military support does not withstand analytical rigour. States and their predecessors have always employed both private and public labour in armed conflict. This arrangement has been ubiquitous over centuries and continues today. The second section contains an analysis of connotations attached to mercenaries and their often misrepresented past. The third section examines some persistent classification problems arising from an industry with a broad and sometimes ambiguous range of roles. The fourth describes several types of hitherto unidentified state mercenarism — a simple conceptual step but one curiously absent from the literature. The fifth examines the confusing posture of the UN, which alternates between criticisms of PMSCs on one hand, while hiring some of their services on the other. The sixth section provides a taxonomy that includes modern varieties of civilian logistic support and related services. The seventh condenses into a few pages contractor virtues that an advocate is likely to believe and promote; then lists several examples of services the UN might gainfully outsource. The summary steps back somewhat from the buoyant prognostications of the latter section, mindful that the following two chapters explore contrasting risks that suggest a more cautious assessment.


Armed Force Security Council Private Security Special Rapporteur Security Company 
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© Malcolm Hugh Patterson 2009

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  • Malcolm Hugh Patterson

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