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Speaker(s): Sean McFate
Chair: Professor Christopher Coker

Recorded on 19 October 2015 at Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building

It was 2004, and Sean McFate had a mission in Burundi: to keep the president alive and prevent the country from spiralling into genocide, without anyone knowing that the United States was involved. The United States was, of course, involved, but only through McFate's employer, the military contractor DynCorp International. Throughout the world, similar scenarios are playing out daily. The United States can no longer go to war without contractors. Yet we don't know much about the industry's structure, its operations, or where it's heading. Even the U.S. government - the entity that actually pays them - knows relatively little.

In The Modern Mercenary, Sean McFate combines a broad-ranging theory of the phenomenon with an insider’s understanding of what the opaque world of the private military industry is actually like, explaining its economic structure and showing in detail how firms operate on the ground. McFate provides an unparalleled perspective into the nuts and bolts of the industry, as well as a sobering prognosis for the future of war.

Sean McFate (@seanmcfate) is Associate Professor at the National Defense University, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown School of Foreign Service. Sean is an alumnus of LSE.

Christopher Coker is Professor of International Relations at LSE.

The International Relations Department at LSE (@LSEIRDept) is now in its 87th year, making it one of the oldest as well as largest in the world.

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