Student Research

Coin and Carnage: Implications of Employing Private Security Contractors for State Security

A capstone project submitted to the faculty of the California Maritime Academy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and Maritime Affairs.

This thesis discusses the implications of hiring Private Security Contractors to promote state security. This is done by discussing the history of mercenaries through the Thirty Years War, and their resurgence after the Second World War. In addition, there are important distinctions to be made regarding the legality PSCs and comparison to other violent non-state actors. Different criteria are also viewed in order to find in what situations contractors are truly needed. The examination of case studies helps to determine both combat efficiency, and ethically dubious situations in which security personnel may find themselves. The positive and negative facets of alternative state security solutions such as United Nations Peacekeeper deployment and foreign army deployments are considered as well. Along with these, PSCs are scrutinized as a possible state security solution and face criticism throughout the text. In the end, a conclusion is drawn on which solution best fits a state’s security needs along with why the other two solutions are less viable.