Date of Graduation

Summer 2018


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

John Rose


mercenaries; conflict privatization; private military companies; private sector; revolution in military affairs; use of force; realism

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


This paper seeks to show that there has existed through time, a cyclical nature in the use of mercenaries, which has left imprints on societies that continue to exist in the presence of international law against their use. Looking at modern elements of this tradition, the paper will attempt to show how there has been a revolution in military affairs since the formation of the United Nations Conventions against Mercenaries, in which a number of elements of this culture have converged at once, existing in the international community and what this means for international security moving forward. The paper will look at a series of historical cases that establish the cycle, utilizing a range of historical sources and scholarly research, before addressing the theoretical and legal frameworks that affected the use of mercenaries. Building on this, it will then address the current structure of the privatization of conflicts through news media, autobiographies, and a host of other sources. Through this research, the paper will seek to determine the extent to which the cycle of mercenary use remains present in international conflict and what this means for the future of international security.


© Joseph M. Tribble

Open Access