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Cover for Outsourcing War and Peace

Outsourcing War and Peace

Preserving Public Values in a World of Privatized Foreign Affairs

Laura A. Dickinson


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Over the past decade, states and international organizations have shifted a surprising range of foreign policy functions to private contractors. But who is accountable when the employees of foreign private firms do violence or create harm? This timely book describes the services that are now delivered by private contractors and the threat this trend poses to core public values of human rights, democratic accountability, and transparency. The author offers a series of concrete reforms that are necessary to expand traditional legal accountability, construct better mechanisms of public participation, and alter the organizational structure and institutional culture of contractor firms. The result is a pragmatic, nuanced, and comprehensive set of responses to the problem of foreign affairs privatization.

Praise For Outsourcing War and Peace: Preserving Public Values in a World of Privatized Foreign Affairs

“The book will be an important contribution to the study of private security and its governance. Moreover, the book provides excellent advice to policymakers about what practical steps can be taken to remedy some of the deficiencies of the current system of security contracting.”—Alexander Cooley, Department of Political Science, Barnard College, Columbia University
— Alexander Cooley

"The government’s genie—the outsourcing of military support, diplomatic security, foreign aid, information technology, and, well, governance—won’t return to the bottle. Dickinson’s vision of a modern, privatized government, that not only promotes critical public values, but also expends resources efficiently and responsibly, is as thought-provoking as it is refreshing."—Steven L. Schooner, George Washington University
— Steven L. Schooner

Winner of the 2011 Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize, as given by the Chicago-Kent College of Law
— Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize

"Dickinson does a superb job of summarizing the issues connected with using private corporations to perform public functions overseas. . . . Written in a style accessible to all interested readers, Outsourcing War and Peace is a model of how lessons from the practice of law can inform and improve the conduct of foreign affairs. Highly recommended."—R.A. Strong, Choice
— R.A. Strong

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the U.S. Politics category.
— Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Yale University Press, 9780300144864, 288pp.

Publication Date: January 25, 2011

About the Author

Laura A. Dickinson is the Foundation Professor of Law, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University.