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Securing the state, undermining democracy: internationalization and privatization of western militaries


  • Deitelhoff, Nicole
  • Geis, Anna


Changes in the field of security since the 1990s triggered off a number of still continuing military transformations in liberal democracies. Since their armed forces were designed for the purposes of the bipolar Cold war security constellation, they have been “redesigned” according to the new tasks as agreed upon in the new NATO strategic concepts or the assignments for the Europeanized forces within the European Union: Conflict prevention, crisis intervention, counter-terrorism have been added to the range of deployment missions. This recent transformation of the armed forces is pushed ahead in the political spirit of new public management well known from other policy areas in the OECD countries. The proclaimed reforms are guided by efficiency and effectiveness principles only, issues of democratic control and integration of the armed forces into the society are marginalized in the political discourse. But integration and cooperation within international organizations is only one of the two trends detrimental to democratic control of the military; increasing contracting with Private Security and Military Companies is the other. Contracting is intended to reduce political and financial costs and risks for Western governments. The authors argue that, in the long run, both trends of privatization and internationalization, though they seem to run into opposite directions from a purely etatist perspective, result in the joint effect of exacerbating democratic control and accountability of security policies. This point is illustrated by the employment of private military companies by the US government agencies and US military and the reform of the German armed forces.

Suggested Citation

  • Deitelhoff, Nicole & Geis, Anna, 2009. "Securing the state, undermining democracy: internationalization and privatization of western militaries," TranState Working Papers 92, University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb597:92

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