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The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security Paperback – July 25, 2005

ISBN-13: 000-0521615356 ISBN-10: 0521615356

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The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security + Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, Updated Edition (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs) + Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (July 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521615356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521615358
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,356,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Deborah Avant has written a sensible corrective to the hype and hyperbole that has accompanied the study of mercenaries. She shows how private military companies are a part of the everyday workings of national military establishments, and provides prescient warnings about the impact of excessive outsourcing in this area. Avant provides an alarming message that over-reliance on private forces undermines the spirit and commitment that make effective national militaries work. In doing so, Avant shows how a public ethic is an integral part of what makes national militaries successful and how this is missing in private military companies."
William S. Reno, Northwestern University

"This fine study--rigorous in methodology, sweeping in its empirical domain and variety of data sources, and theoretically inspired to transcend the events of the day--does what all good scholarship should do: It informs, casts into doubt sweeping generalizations and conventional wisdom, and will promote and sometimes correct the next wave of security studies and international relations theory."
Perspectives on Politics, K.J. Holsti, University of British Columbia

"Avant's work provides two overarching benefits. First and foremost, it should be studied by the nation's strategic and political leaders. As the United States has taken the lead role in fostering the supply of and demand for PSCs, it would behoove these decision-makers to better comprehend the domestic and international ramifications of such actions. Second, for those interested in further study of PSCs at any level, The Market for Force acts as an outstanding repository of research for every aspect of the topic."
Parameters, Major Richard M. Wrona, Jr., US Military Academy

Book Description

The legitimate use of force is generally presumed to be the realm of the state. However, the flourishing role of the private sector in security over the last twenty years has questioned this. In this book Deborah Avant examines the privatization of security and its impact on the control of force. She describes the growth of private security companies, explains how the industry works, and describes its range of customers--including states, non-government organizations and commercial transnational corporations. She charts the inevitable trade-offs that the market for force imposes on the states, firms and people wishing to control it, and suggests a new way to think about the control of force.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B.C. on November 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
A well researched, unbiased look at Private Security Companies (PSCs) and their importance in today's military operations. If you want a no-nonsense, accurate look at PSCs in the world today, then you must read this book.
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By L. M. Van Delden on February 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must when you deal with the topic of private security/military companies or want to know more about it.
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2 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Zerby on August 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
Private Security Companys exist in the Middle East for one simple reason - The US Army and US Marine Corps ground forces have unreasonable rules of engagement. Ground commanders have the press and JAG looking over their shoulders 24/7. They are forced to be overly careful for fear that one error will end their career or even worse, land them in prison.

The result is saddly that the Army and USMC are not getting the job done in the Middle East. The DOD knows that but the administration wants results, so the Blackwater and firms like Blackwater take on more and more of the ground operations.

The Army and USMC are noble service men and I totally approve of their " Code of Conduct " but this is a nasty war that needs a " nasty " approach.

Avant's book provides a very educational read. I do not agree with several of her views but still, this is a must read for any career military officer.

Semper Fi,
R.W. Zerby

Grasse, France
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