Mercenaries or Private Military Contractors? Privatising the State Monopoly of Violence from the Middle East and Beyond

In this webinar, Dr. Sean McFate, Mr. Jamie Williamson and Mr. Doug Brooks will discuss how mercenaries and private military companies are changing the rules of war and peacebuilding. Since the second Iraq conflict, the growing presence of private military contractors has generated the need for effective public and private participation and re-statement of existing international law regarding the contractors’ oversight, enforcement and accountability, specifically in armed conflict environments.

This public talk will be conducted online via Zoom on 21 September 2020 (Monday), from 7.30pm to 9pm (SGT). All are welcome to participate. An e-invite will be sent to you closer to the event date.

This event is free, however, registration is compulsory. Find more information and registration here:

About the Speakers(s)

Dr. Sean McFate is a foreign policy expert, author and novelist. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington, DC, think tank, and a Professor of Strategy at the National Defense University and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Additionally, he serves as an advisor to Oxford University’s Centre for Technology and Global Affairs.

Dr. McFate began his career as a paratrooper and officer in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He served under Generals Stan McChrystal and David Petraeus, and graduated from elite training programmes, such as Jungle Warfare School in Panama. He was also a Jump Master.

Subsequently, he became a private military contractor where he dealt with warlords in the jungle, raised armies for US interests, rode with armed groups in the Sahara, conducted strategic reconnaissance for the extractive industry, transacted arms deals in Eastern Europe, and helped prevent an impending genocide in the Rwanda region circa 2004.

Dr. McFate holds a BA from Brown University, an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a PhD in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He lives in Washington, DC.

Mr. Jamie Williamson heads the Secretariat of the International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA). The association promotes, governs and oversees the implementation of the International Code of Conduct and promotes the responsible provision of private security services. As executive director, Mr. Williamson brings to the ICoCA a wealth of international, legal, military and security experience. He joined the ICoCA in October 2017 after several years as the head of the relations with Arms Carriers Unit at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Mr. Doug Brooks is the founder of ISOA, the International Stability Operations Association, an organisation for which he served as president for almost 12 years and now retains the title of President Emeritus. Mr. Brooks is a specialist on private sector capabilities and African security issues and has written extensively on the regulation and constructive utilisation of the private sector for international peacekeeping and humanitarian missions. Mr. Brooks has testified before the US Congress, South African Parliament and to UN functions, and as an advocate for the Stability Operations Industry. He makes frequent appearances on news programmes and in documentaries.


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