Outsourcing War and Peace: Preserving Public Values in a World of Privatized Foreign Affairs

March 18, 2011Duke Law News

Monday, March 21, 2011
12:15 - 1:15 pm | Room 3037
Duke Law School

A book sale and author signing will follow immediately after the lecture in the third floor loggia.

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Featuring Laura Dickinson
Foundation Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Center for Law and Global Affairs at Arizona State University

Over the past decade, states and international organizations have shifted a surprising range of foreign policy functions to private contractors. But who is accountable when the employees of foreign private firms do violence or create harm? This timely book describes the services that are now delivered by private contractors and the threat this trend poses to core public values of human rights, democratic accountability, and transparency. The author offers a series of concrete reforms that are necessary to expand traditional legal accountability, construct better mechanisms of public participation, and alter the organizational structure and institutional culture of contractor firms. The result is a pragmatic, nuanced, and comprehensive set of responses to the problem of foreign affairs privatization.

Official Book Website



About the Author


Laura Dickinson is Foundation Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs at Arizona State University. Her work focuses on human rights, national security, foreign affairs privatization, and qualitative empirical approaches to international law. Her most recent book is a monograph entitled, Outsourcing War and Peace, published by Yale University Press. The book examines the increasing privatization of military, security, and foreign aid functions of government, considers the impact of this trend on core public values, and outlines mechanism for protecting these values in an era of privatization. Prior to her appointment to ASU, Professor Dickinson was on faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she taught from 2001 to 2008, and she was a Visiting Research Scholar and Visiting Professor in the Law and Public Affairs Program at Princeton University in 2006 to 2007. She served as a senior policy adviser to Harold Hongju Koh, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the U.S. Department of State, and is a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justices Harry A. Blackmun and Stephen G. Breyer, and to Judge Dorothy Nelson of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.