Date of Defense



Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Pam Rooney

Second Advisor

Dr. Edward Mayo


A comprehensive look at the private military industry today reveals many new international and domestic policy implications. Although defense contractors like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Halliburton are the most well known, this thesis instead focuses on many lesser-known companies that more clearly illustrate the diversity of functions performed by private military companies and their relationship to national defense and international law. The appearance of price gouging by Halliburton and improprieties in contract attainment by Boeing are important issues with regards to privatization but do not effectively underscore the challenges presented by private military companies in a larger context. Recent examples of violence against private military contractors in Saudi Arabia and Iraq point to an urgent need to reassess the ways private military companies are used by the U.S. government on foreign soil. By truthfully assessing the industry, it is possible to outline ways to continue to benefit from the industry's capabilities while also safeguarding against unforeseen consequences of its use.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only