Defence & Diplomacy

Conflicts of the 21st century have defied most conventional military and political approaches designed to assist with their resolution. Private entities, religious, nationalist and social groups, as well as rising states represent new challenges for the policies that intend to resolve the disputes of our time.

During the first term, our Policy Centre will focus on Private Military Contractors. Conditions in conflict zones are drastically changing and national armies are no longer capable of satisfying the security requirements necessary for peace and stability. As politically-neutral, professional, and cost-effective entities, PMCs have filled security gaps and lessened the burdens carried by military forces. Yet their arrival has proven to be quite controversial, with the actions of firms such as Blackwater and DynCorp in Iraq raising questions over regulations and accountability. Similarly, the use of firms such as the Morgan Security Group in Syria has underlined issues of secrecy surrounding the tasks and deaths of PMC operators. Considering these factors we aim to discuss and devise policy suggestions on the future role, applicability, and status of Private Military Contractors.

Throughout the second term, we aim to investigate new approaches towards conflict and post-conflict resolution with a focus on Syria. Defined by the involvement of countless global players, groups with territorial, nationalist ambitions and socio-political fractions, Syria has forced us to rethink our approach towards civil conflicts. Western nations no longer dominate the battlefield but are forced to discuss diplomatic and military efforts with contending powers. It is foreseeable that future conflicts will involve multiple powerful actors with respective interests, and policy towards conflict must respect these conditions. Our efforts will focus on producing policy which addresses the necessary political and military cooperation between actors, the question of future governance of Mr. Assad’s government and the involvement of ethnic, social and religious groups in the conflict.

An applicable approach towards future conflicts requires us to understand intricate details of current developments in conflict zones. This year, in our policy papers, we seek to delve into the matter placing particular focus upon whether the provision of security in war zones have become privatised and how political actors that hold different visions of governance could potentially cooperate in conflict resolution.

If you are interested in our vision and want to contribute to our work through devising policy and research papers, please do not hesitate to contact us at pcpresidents@kingsthinktank.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Stanislav Skriabine
Defence and Diplomacy Policy Centre President