Back to Top
Skip to Site Search Skip to Utility Nav Skip to Top Nav Skip to Left Nav Skip to Content
Close Main Menu

The University of North Georgia and the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute Present:

Symposium on Leadership in a Complex World: Private Military Security Companies' Influence on International Security and Foreign Policy

The Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies, the College of Arts and Letters and the UNG Press in partnership with the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute are pleased to announce a symposium on Leadership in a Complex World:  Private Military Security Companies' Influence on International Security and Foreign Policy. The symposium will contribute to the scholarly discussion of this increasingly complex and important issue. U.S. or international scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students are invited to submit abstracts for papers or posters on topics related to the theme.

The symposium review committee will select the most relevant and highest quality submissions for between nine and twelve scholars to present and discuss at the symposium. Undergraduate submissions will be considered for poster sessions. Authors of selected abstracts will be invited to present as members of panels during the symposium. Extended papers from the selected abstracts will be published by the University of North Georgia Press in a peer-reviewed and edited symposium monograph.

Registration for the conference is free. Fill out the form below to register.

Co-Hosted With

The U.S. Army War College
Strategic Studies Institute
Strategic Studies Institute


November 14 - 15, 2018


University of North Georgia
Dahlonega Campus
Convocation Center


If you need closed captioning for this event, please email Keith Antonia or call 706 867-4576.

Call for Abstracts


What nations or other entities are using private military and security companies (PMSCs) for what purposes, and what are the leadership implications?

Submissions are Closed

We are no longer accepting abstracts.

Call for Papers, Panel Presentations and Poster Sessions

  • What are the applicable industry management systems, laws and ethical standards that apply to PMSC activities?
  • What roles should political, military, and/or corporate leaders assume with regard to managing PMSC activities? 
  • How do PMSCs influence the foreign policy objectives of nation-states?
  • How do PMSCs contribute to stability or increase the fragility of nation-states?
  • How should leaders plan for contractors as a key personnel component of the total U.S. military force?
  • What impacts on outsourcing security on state strength and world order should leaders consider?
  • U.S. Department of Defense management/interagency coordination of the operational contract support workforce.

Submission Guidelines

Panel Submissions

Please submit abstracts (500 words) and short bio (150 words) by September 15, 2018 to,, or Panel presentations will be a maximum of 20 minutes in length. Participants will be notified of acceptance by September 30, 2018.

Poster Sessions

Undergraduate and graduate students and Cadets are invited to submit poster proposals (250 words) and short bio (150 words) by September 15, 2018 to,, or Bios should include Name, Phone, Email, University, Location, and Poster Title. Posters should be 36 inches x 48 inches in landscape or portrait layout orientation. Participants will be notified of acceptance by September 30, 2018.



  • Deadline Extended to Sept. 15 - Close call for abstracts
  • Sept. 30 - Notify authors of abstracts accepted for symposium presentation


  • Feb. 4 - Symposium articles due to the UNG Press
  • March 4 - Single blind peer review reports on submitted articles completed
  • March 18 - Author article revisions due
  • April 2 - Editorial approval of revisions completed
  • April 22 - Layout & design completed
  • April 29 - Proofing notes from and editors due
  • May 6 - Final proof due.
  • June 3 - Symposium Monograph release digitally and in print

Dr. Molly Dunigan

Molly Dunigan is a Senior Political Scientist and Associate Director of the Defense and Political Sciences Department at the RAND Corporation, and a lecturer in Carnegie Mellon University's Institute for Politics and Strategy. Her research interests focus on private military and security contractors, civil–military relations, irregular warfare, counterinsurgency, maritime security, and civilian deployment. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a U.S. Institute of Peace Jennings Randolph Peace Fellowship, a U.S. State Department Foreign Language Areas Studies Fellowship, and an International Studies Association Catalytic Research Grant. Prominent among Dunigan's published work are Victory for Hire: Private Security Companies' Impact on Military Effectiveness (Stanford University Press, 2011), The Markets for Force: Privatization of Security Across World Regions (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), and the RAND reports Out of the Shadows: The Health and Well-Being of Private Contractors Working in Conflict Environments (Dunigan et al., 2013) and Expeditionary Civilians: Creating a Viable Practice of Department of Defense Civilian Deployment (Dunigan et al., 2016).

An internationally recognized expert on private security contracting, Dunigan's work on this topic has been cited in USA TodayTime MagazineWashington PostU.S. News & World Report, and Forbes. Dunigan's publications have been favorably reviewed in Military ReviewThe Journal of Military and Strategic StudiesThe Journal of Military HistorySurvivalParameters, and The Boston Globe, and her op-eds have appeared in The National InterestUSA TodayThe HillU.S. News & World Report, and The Christian Science Monitor. Dunigan received her Ph.D. in government from Cornell University.

Mr. Erik Prince

Executive Director & Chairman, Frontier Services Group

Mr. Erik D. Prince has been appointed as an executive director and the Chairman of the Company since 10 January 2014. He is also chairman of the Nomination Committee and a committee member of the Remuneration Committee of the Company.

Mr. Prince is a US-born entrepreneur, philanthropist, military veteran and private equity investor with business interests in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America in the fields of logistics, aviation services, manufacturing, natural resources development and energy. He is the founder and chairman of Frontier Resource Group, a private equity firm active across the African continent in areas such as exploration, mining and energy development. Mr. Prince is the founder of Blackwater, a global private security company, which he sold in 2010 after successfully growing the company over the course of more than a decade into the premier provider of global security and logistics solutions to the United States Government and others. In addition, Mr. Prince purchased Presidential Airways in 2003 and grew it from a one-plane operation into a global logistics and aviation business with over 70 fixed and rotary wing aircraft operating in Africa, the Middle East and North America; he sold the company in 2010. Mr. Prince was educated at Hillsdale College. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the US Navy, where he served as a Navy SEAL officer until 1996.

Eeben Barlow
CEO of STTEP International, Ltd.

Born in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), and raised in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Bechuanaland (now Botswana), Eeben Barlow became a naturalised South African citizen in 1966.

During his military career in the South African Defence Force (SADF), he served as an officer in several conventional, unconventional, and covert SADF units.

Commissioned in the SADF’s Corps of Engineers, he served as the sapper commander in several infantry battalions, and as second in command of 32 Battalion’s Reconnaissance Wing. Subsequently, he served as an EOD/IED team commander, an agent handler for Military Intelligence, and as both a regional commander and covert operative in the SA Special Forces’ covert operations group, the Civil Cooperation Bureau. During his military career, he pioneered several TTPs and was also the first commander of 44 Parachute Brigade’s airborne combat engineer troop.

When he became ‘politically expendable’ he founded Executive Outcomes Ltd, and was initially contracted to train SADF Special Forces operators in covert operations. As the founder and chairman of Executive Outcomes, he oversaw several major counter-crime operations, along with the initial defeat of UNITA in Angola, and the destruction of the RUF in Sierra Leone, as well as the rescue of western hostages in Indonesia (Irian Jaya).

He has written numerous articles on Africa, terrorism, intelligence, piracy, and military operations. In addition, he was a contributing editor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. He is the author of two best-selling books (Executive Outcomes: Against all Odds and Composite Warfare: The Conduct of Successful Ground Force operations in Africa). He was also a contributor to the African Union’s symposium on the African Standby Force.

He is currently the chairman of STTEP International Ltd, a company that actively supports governments in Africa. He holds the rank of Maj Gen in several African armies. He lectures at numerous military colleges and universities in Africa and abroad, and is also a political and security advisor to several African governments.

Dr. Sean McFate

Dr. Sean McFate is an author, novelist and expert in foreign policy and national security strategy. He is a professor at the National Defense University and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. His newest book The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder (William Morrow) will be released January 22, 2019.

Recently, he was a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University’s Changing Character of War Program. He was also a think tank scholar at the RAND Corporation, Atlantic Council, Bipartisan Policy Center, and New America Foundation.

McFate’s career began as a paratrooper and officer in the U.S. Army’s storied 82nd Airborne Division. He served under Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus, and graduated from elite training programs, such as Jungle Warfare School in Panama. He was also a Jump Master.

Following this, McFate became a private military contractor in Africa. Among his many experiences, he dealt with warlords, raised small armies, worked with armed groups in the Sahara, transacted arms deals in Eastern Europe, and helped prevent an impending genocide in the Rwanda region.

McFate authored the non-fiction book The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order (Oxford University Press) which explains how the privatization of war is changing world order. The Economist called it a “fascinating and disturbing book.” He also co-wrote the novels Shadow War and Deep Black (William Morrow), part of the Tom Locke series based on his military experiences. New York Times #1 bestselling author Mark Greaney said: “I was blown away…. simply one of the most entertaining and intriguing books I’ve read in quite some time.”

A coveted speaker, he has appeared before the British House of Commons, top universities and popular audience venues. He has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, Politico, Daily Beast, CNBC, Vice Magazine, Aeon, War on the Rocks, Military Review and African Affairs. He has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, BBC, Economist, Vice/HBO, The Discovery Channel, and American Heroes Channel. As a scholar, he has authored eight book chapters in edited academic volumes and published a monograph for the U.S. Army War College on how to raise foreign armies.

McFate holds a B.A. from Brown University, M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He lives in Washington, DC.

Dr. Birthe Anders

Senior HHI Fellow
Visiting Scientist, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Birthe holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, and a Diplom in Political Science and Law from Philipps Universität Marburg, Germany. Her research focusses on Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs), NGO security and civil-military relations. In addition she has also conducted research on IHL, particularly the regulation of PMSCs and on German and European Defense and Security Policy, including on maritime security. From 2015/16 she was Fritz Thyssen Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. Before coming to Harvard she taught in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, where she co-founded the Private Military and Security Research Group. She has published in Parameters, Small Wars & Insurgencies, International Peacekeeping, with Routledge and Oxford University Press (forthcoming).  

dickinson-laura.jpgLaura Dickinson

Laura A. Dickinson joined GW Law in 2011 as the Oswald Symister Colclough Research Professor of Law. Her work focuses on national security, human rights, foreign affairs privatization, and qualitative empirical approaches to international law. Professor Dickinson’s book, Outsourcing War and Peace, published by Yale University Press in 2011, 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 mechanisms for protecting these values in an era of privatization.

In addition to her scholarly activities, Professor Dickinson has a distinguished record of government service. She served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense and was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service for her work there. She has also 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.

Prior to her position at GW, Professor Dickinson was, from 2008-11, the Foundation Professor of Law and the faculty director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (ASU). She has also been on the faculty of 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 2006-2007.

Professor Dickinson is currently a Future of War Fellow with the New America Foundation's International Security Program and Co-chair of the International Law and Technology Section of the American Society of international Law. She has previously served as a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law, and co-organizer of a Collaborative Research Network on Empirical Approaches to International Human Rights Law, convened under the auspices of the Law & Society Association.

Panels & Posters

Selections for the 2018 Symposium's panels and poster presentations will be announced at a later date. 

See panel and poster presentations from the 2017 Civil-Military Symposium.


Tuesday, November 13

Time Event
6:00 p.m.  Dinner by invitation with presenters, speakers, symposium organizing group

Wednesday, November 14

Time Event
8:00 a.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. Welcome, administrative remarks and introduce guests and presenters
8:45 a.m. Speaker: Mr. Eeben Barlow, CEO of STTEP International, Ltd. & Author
Topic: The Influence of Private Military Security Companies on International Security and Foreign Policy
9:15 a.m. Q&A
9:30 a.m. Break
9:45 a.m. Panel Discussion
Theme: Influences in Foreign Policy
Moderator: Dr. Dan Papp, Consultant, Pendleton Group & Scholar of International Affairs and Policy, Former President of Kennesaw State University
10:45 a.m. Discussion and Q&A
11:00 a.m. Break - Poster Sessions & Book Sales
11:15 a.m. Speaker: Dr. Birthe Anders, Senior Harvard Humanitarian Initiative & Visiting Scientist, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
11:45 a.m. Q&A
12:00 p.m. Lunch
1:45 p.m. Panel Discussion
Theme: Governance, Laws and Ethical Standards
Moderator: Dr. Molly Dunigan, Senior Political Scientist and Associate Director of Defense and Political Sciences at RAND Corporation
2:45 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
3:00 p.m. Break - Poster Sessions & Book Sales
3:15 p.m. Speaker: Mr. Erik Prince, CEO and Executive Director, Frontier Services Group & Author
Topic: Private Sector Contributions to Our National Security Past, Present, and Future
3:45 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
4:00 p.m. Break - Poster Sessions & Book Sales
4:15 p.m. Speaker: Laura Dickinson, Oswald Symister Colclough Research Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School & Author
4:45 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
5:00 p.m. Book Signing by Speaker-Authors
6:30 p.m. Symposium Social at the Smith House
8:00 p.m. End of Day 1 Activities

Thursday, November 15

Time Event
8:30 a.m. Registration
8:45 a.m. Welcome, administrative remarks and introduce guests and presenters
9:00 a.m. Speaker: Dr. Molly Dunigan, Senior Political Scientist and Associate Director of Defense and Political Sciences at RAND Corporation & Author
9:30 a.m. Discussion and Q&A
9:45 a.m. Break - Poster Sessions & Book Sales
10:00 a.m. Panel Discussion
Theme: Nation-state Stability and Leadership Challenges
Moderator: Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff, Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, Research Professor for the Military Profession and Ethic
11:00 a.m. Discussion and Q&A
11:15 a.m. Break - Poster Sessions & Book Sales
11:30 a.m.

Speaker: Dr. Sean McFate, Professor of Strategy, National Defense University and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service & Author
Topic: The Future of Private Warfare

12:00 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
12:15 p.m. Closing Remarks
12:30 p.m. End of Symposium
Reading List
Recommended reading list for those interested in learning more about private military security companies.
Registration Info


Registration for the conference is free. Fill out the form below to register.

About the Area

The University of North Georgia is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Dahlonega, Georgia. Site of the first major gold rush in the United States, UNG is also home to the Army’s 5th Ranger Training Battalion, the mountain phase of the elite Ranger School.

Information about lodging and things to do is at the Dahlonega Chamber of Commerce website.

Disclaimer: Advertisements, promotions, statements, and logos are of ILSS and other organizations participating in this event. The United States Army neither states nor implies any endorsement, association or recommendation with regard to these organizations.

UNG follows Section 508 Standards and WCAG 2.0 for web accessibility. If you require the content on this web page in another format, please contact the ADA Coordinator.
Use of military-themed imagery does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Back to Top