The Need for the Control of Private Military Companies and Internationalized Armed Forces

  • Herbert Wulf


The major impact of privatizing and internationalizing military functions is a fundamental change of the role of the military in its relation to the nation state and the long-term effects for the state monopoly of force. Globalization has changed the basic concept of the nation state. De-nationalization and a reduced role of the state can be observed on many levels of economic, social and cultural activity. Even the concept of nationally organized and orientated armies is questioned. In most cases national governments alone can no longer take decisions regarding war and the use of force. There is a real danger that the state instruments of force may fall into the hands of non-state actors such as criminal gangs, insurgents, militias and so on, or they will be handed over to privately operating companies. The trends to privatize and internationalize security exacerbate the already pressing problem of insufficient parliamentary oversight of the armed forces. A fundamental state function, the state monopoly of force, is being undermined or given up completely. Privatization does not mean the renunciation of state functions per se; delegation of state functions to reliable non-state actors can be rational. But in many developing countries the establishment of an efficient state monopoly of force and its proper use is not the rule but the exception.


United Nations Armed Force Global Governance Geneva Convention African Union 
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© Herbert Wulf 2005

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  • Herbert Wulf

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