(Peter Warren Singer)
ADDRESSES: Office—Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20036-2188.
CAREER: Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, DC, action officer in Balkans Task Force; International Peace Academy, Washington, DC, special assistant; Brookings Institution, Foreign Policy Studies Program national security fellow, and director of Project on U.S. Policy toward the Islamic World. Frequent commentator on television and radio stations, including CNN, British Broadcasting Corporation, and National Public Radio.
AWARDS, HONORS: Gladys M. Kammerer Award, American Political Science Association, 2004, for Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry.
Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 2003.
Children at War, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to journals, including Jane's Intelligence Review, Current History, and Foreign Affairs.
SIDELIGHTS: A senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and director of the institution Project on U.S. Policy toward the Islamic World, P.W. Singer has drawn on his experience in the Office of the Secretary of Defense to establish himself as a leading expert on the complexities and the horrors of modern warfare.
In Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry Singer explores a development that may have penetrated the public consciousness but is still little understood: the use of contractors in war zones. In the wake of the brutal slaying and mutilation of contractors in Fallujah, Iraq, many Americans became aware that contractors are often the ones driving the supply trucks and guarding buildings and officials in Iraq. Few have explored the extent and implications of these privately funded armies, which exist somewhere between national and corporate control.
The use of contract military personnel has not been restricted to Iraq. As Singer reported, contractors have also filled much-needed roles in Bosnia, Kosovo, the Gaza Strip, and other international hot spots. While they are sometimes viewed as mercenaries, Singer notes that such support staff fall into a somewhat different category. While mercenaries were paid by monarchs and state governments, these corporate warriors are paid by so-called privatized military firms, or PMFs. As a Publishers Weekly contributor explained, "a much bigger problem is the risk of states losing control of military policy to militaries outside the state systems, responsible only to clients, managers, and stockholders, Singer emphasizes. So far, private military organizations have behaved cautiously, but there is no guarantee this will continue."
In Children at War Singer directs readers to the world of child warriors, six million of whom were killed or injured during the 1990s. It is a bleak and depressing picture of children dragooned into militias, armies, and terrorist cells, and Singer "explores the full implications for using children in combat and discusses how the problem can be addressed," as Booklist contributor Alan Moores reported. Similarly, a Publishers Weekly reviewer commended Singer's "diligent research and reasoned analysis" of this difficult subject.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2004, Alan Moores, review of Children at War, p. 694.
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2004, review of Children at War, p. 1084.
Library Journal, January 1, 2005, review of Children at War, p. 131.
Publishers Weekly, April 21, 2003, review of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, p. 45; December 6, 2004, review of Children at War, p. 54.
Brookings Institution Web site, http://www.brookings.edu/ (April 14, 2005), author profile.