Silent and Irresponsible. European Approaches to Commercial Military Services

PRIO Policy Brief

Leander, Anna (2012) Silent and Irresponsible. European Approaches to Commercial Military Services, PRIO Policy Brief, 6. Oslo: PRIO.


The commercialization of military services by the USA and the UK has been amply debated, criticized and acted upon in recent years. In the rest of Europe, including Norway, however, awareness of commercialization has been as limited as the efforts to control and regulate it. This silence within Europe and the irresponsibility of the approach to the commercialization of military services that it entails is the topic of the present brief. The silence primarily reflects the limited information available regarding European commercialization processes, as well as the absence of any spectacular shifts from public to private security arrangements. Partly as a consequence of this silence, European approaches to military commercialization have become irresponsible, in the sense that no one seems to ask about responsibility or seeks to take it. Instead, European commercialization is governed by diffuse processes. While responsibility for individual decisions can be readily attributed, overarching responsibility for security commercialization appears far more tenuous.