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  • Writer's pictureThe Red Line

Episode 13. Private Militaries

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Private militaries or PMCs have been popping up in all of the world's conflict zones, guns for hire being paid to do the dirty work nation-states don't want to. Is this the future of warfare or a slippery slope that removes accountability from the battlefield? This week we do a deep dive into the Wagner group (Putin's private army) and Blackwater/Frontier Services Group (Erik Princes Hong Kong-based White House hit squad). We go through what they have been up to, and where they are likely to pop up over the next few years.



Sean McFate

  • One of the world's foremost PMC experts

  • Professor of Strategy at Georgetown University and the National Defence University

  • Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council

  • Done multiple tours with US Armed Forces, and formerly a PMC contractor himself

Alex Kirsch

  • Host of The Depth of Perspective

Candace Rondeaux

  • New America


Part 1: Blurring the Line (1:17)

  • McFate takes us through the recent history of PMCs, having only significantly re-emerged after the Cold War. Getting their start in South Africa with Executive Outcomes, the PMC industry truly kicked into gear with the US invasion of Iraq

  • We look at where the people making up PMC forces come from. Taking from his own experience, McFate outlines that most are from Special Operations forces who have retired or left their official military employment, and have a moral flexibility that allows them to change gears from working for their country to working for profit.


Part 2: Rock In The Storm (2:22)


Part 3: Rock In The Storm (2:22)


The Red Line's Private Militaries Reading List:

We’ve put together some further reading for those of you looking for more resources to help you get across the geopolitics of Private Militaries.




For episode transcripts, monthly geopolitics Q&A’s, member-only videos and to support the show, check out our Patreon here:

This episode is dedicated to Patreon member Michael OzDolay


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