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Advanced Introduction to International Conflict and Security Law

Nigel D. White

Advanced Introduction to International Conflict and Security Law provides a concise and insightful guide to the key principles of international law governing peacetime security, the use of force, conflict and post-conflict situations. Nigel D. White explores the complex legal regimes that have been created to control the level of armaments, to limit the occasions when governments can use military force to mitigate the conduct of warfare and to build peace.
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4 The regulation of private violence

Nigel D. White


The late twentieth century witnessed a significant growth of private companies providing a range of military and security services, both within their national states and abroad. Such PMSCs are potentially a resource that might be deployed for the purposes of peace and security, but because private security might lead to a weakening of states’ monopoly on the use of force this could, alternatively, result in greater uncontrolled violence in the world. Ballard argues that it is ‘no coincidence that, as the claim to the monopoly of legitimate violence increasingly becomes privatized, one sees the decline of the modern state’.1

The growth in outsourcing of military and security functions has been the most extensive within two of the P5 (the US and the UK), where it is seen as almost inevitable in the political and economic conditions of the twenty-first century. In the UK the view was taken that the end of the Cold War produced a ‘peace dividend’ in the form of much reduced military establishments, since massive standing military capability built up to try and match an anticipated Soviet onslaught across the North German plains was no longer necessary. Instead, what was needed was a smaller mobile military able to carry out core combat and peace-enforcement functions in trouble spots around the world, with other military and security functions being purchased as and when necessary.2

While the end of the arms race between the superpowers (and their allies) is an important explanation for the growth...

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