Thesis Title

The U.S. Government and the Privatized Military Industry: Obscuring the Line Between Public and Private Sector Roles

Date of Graduation

Spring 2006


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

C. Walton


The end of the Cold war resulted in dramatic changes to the structure of military forces. Worldwide-disappearance of the Soviet threat led many countries to initiate force demobilization. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union ushered in a new era in which conflicts increased worldwide. These conflicts, coupled with reluctance by many countries to become entangled in these armed struggles, have created a market for military solutions from alternative sources, including Private Military Companies (PMCs). These companies are legitimate, registered businesses staffed by former military personnel providing a variety of services. Private Military Companies based in the United States have worked closely with the U.S. government serving as an extension of U.S. foreign policy in regions of the world where the government was reluctant to become directly involved. Although such organizations cannot take the place of traditional armed forces, PMCs can fill the void in regions not deemed to be of strategic importance. This thesis examines the role of U.S.-based Private Military Companies to determine whether or not these military firms help or hinder the U.S. government’s foreign policy objectives by providing alternate solutions to specific conflict situations.


private military companies, mercenaries, U.S. foreign policy, outsourcing, military-industrial complex

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Michelle K. Johnson