First Advisor

David Kinsella

Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and University Honors


Political Science




Private Military Companies, United States, Russia, War, Private Military Contractors, National Security Policy




Private Military Companies (PMCs) have become increasingly prevalent throughout the global security landscape. Their rise has led war - and the tools state's use to wage it - to become increasingly privatized with each state's varied approach to the evolving security landscape. Understanding and comparing the role of PMCs in such states as the U.S. and Russia allows for greater clarity regarding the industry as a whole, due to the structural differences in each state's approach to utilizing these companies. Regarding the Russian context, such companies as the Wagner Group have increasingly gained global attention due to how they are being used by the Russian state, which has shown to be out of the U.S. norm for PMC utilization. This attention has illustrated the growing role of PMC usage in the state's national security policy and objectives even in the face of legal and social challenges. This address of the PMC industries in the U.S. and Russia attends to varied elements; future research should seek to address the way PMCs operate regarding other elements of grey zone conflicts such as cyber warfare. There also needs to be greater attention to cases of PMC usage that are not as publicized like that of Afghanistan 2001-2021 (in a U.S. context) and the Central African Republic 2018-now (in a Russian context) discussed here. Addressing how the U.S. and Russia implement PMCs as a tool of their national security policy highlights the role of these companies within each state's security structure.


An undergraduate honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in University Honors, Political Science with Honors, and the Russian Flagship Program.

Persistent Identifier