The 21st Century has seen a sharp rise in privatization of the military, especially of logistics and security functions during the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The outbreak of Somali piracy that started in 2008 has prompted a similar revolution in maritime security with private security companies beginning to operate armed escort vessels to protect merchant shipping against pirates off the Horn of Africa. Centuries ago, the British East India Company used a private navy against piracy in the same waters with much success. Yet since then, international law has evolved to more tightly regulate the use of force by civilians, and to afford greater protections to suspected pirates.
Thus, the development of what are in effect private warships has presented numerous legal and regulatory problems. How can the companies that operate these vessels be effectively licensed? Under what circumstances should they be allowed to use lethal force? What economic factors drive this struggle between pirates and anti-piracy forces? What are the operational considerations, defensive tactics, logistics, and rules of engagement? How are security companies balancing the rights concerns against the need to defend ships effectively? Join us as John-Clark Levin examines the historical origins, current state, future prospects of this fast-changing sector as well as the implications for wider naval privatization in the long run.
John-Clark Levin is a writer, currently pursuing a degree in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He received the 2010 Arthur R. Adams Fellowship at the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, researching private maritime security. He also served as a Harrison Fellow at the Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World in 2011-2012. He was the winner of the 2010 Eric Breindel Collegiate Journalism Award, and has written for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Caller, City Journal Online, and the Southern Economics Journal.
Author of Private Anti-Piracy Navies
Policy Analyst, Africa and the Middle East
While this event has passed, we have archived its content and discussion in our archive.
Do workers enjoy the fruits of their labor? Economic theory predicts that firms pay workers according to their productivity. Some analysts argue this — Read more
On June 23, the British people will vote to decide whether or not they should remain part of the European Union. Great Britain is — Read more
Over the past seven years, President Obama has repudiated the venerable foreign policy tradition embraced by virtually every American President since World War II. — Read more
A book eventFor most of us, education was an uncomfortable process – stifling classrooms, tedious lectures, stressful exams, and a feeling of wasting our time — Read more
Co-hosted byThe Obama Administration has declared war against fossil fuels – the concentrated, affordable energy on which prosperous economies are utterly dependent. In only — Read more
Co-hosted by the 21st Century Wilberforce InitiativeFractured and forgotten, communities of faith in northern and central Nigeria face not only systematic discrimination, but also significant — Read more
A book eventAmericans today are frustrated and anxious. Our economy is sluggish, our culture feels like it’s coming apart, and our governing institutions often — Read more
What are the big foreign policy and defense issues on the Hill this year as they relate to Asia? Every year The Heritage Foundation’s — Read more
Co-hosted byOriginally published following the Supreme Court’s landmark Kelo v. New London decision, Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America made a powerful — Read more
The Left, once the champion of civil liberties, is today orchestrating a coordinated campaign to bully Americans out of free speech. For nearly 40 — Read more
The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute, with hundreds of thousands of individual, foundation and corporate donors. Heritage, founded in February 1973, has a staff of 275 and an annual expense budget of $82.4 million.
Our mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Read More
Receive updates from Heritage about current events and initiatives in your email inbox
Already Signed up?
© 2016, The Heritage Foundation Conservative policy research since 1973