SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow
Office: Buchanan C413
Scott Fitzsimmons (Ph.D. Calgary, 2010) specializes in the behaviour of armed forces and the use of force in contemporary conflicts. He currently teaches courses on security studies, theories of international relations, and core approaches to the study of political science.
Fitzsimmons’ most recent book, Mercenaries in Asymmetric Conflicts (Cambridge University Press, 2012), argues that small mercenary groups must maintain a superior military culture to successfully engage and defeat more numerous and better-equipped opponents. By developing and applying competing constructivist and neorealist theories of military performance to four asymmetric wars in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, he demonstrates how mercenary groups that strongly emphasize behavioral norms encouraging their personnel to think creatively, make decisions on their own, take personal initiative, communicate accurate information within the group, enhance their technical proficiency, and develop a sense of loyalty to their fellow fighters will exhibit vastly superior tactical capabilities than other mercenary groups. He also demonstrates that, although the victorious mercenary groups occasionally had access to weapon systems unavailable to their opponents, the balance of material capabilities fielded by the opposing military forces had far less influence on the outcome of these asymmetric conflicts than the culturally determined tactical behavior exhibited by their personnel.
Fitzsimmons’ current primary research project examines why the employees of certain private security companies (PMCs) inflicted considerably more deaths and serious injuries during the Iraq War than their counterparts in other firms. To undertake this research, he created the Private Security Company Violent Incident Dataset, which is the most comprehensive collection of information ever assembled on violent incidents involving PMCs. His research indicates that certain PMCs inflicted a relatively high number of deaths and serious injuries during their security operations because their organizational cultures motivated their personnel to fire upon suspected threats more quickly, at greater distances, and with a greater quantity of bullets and to more readily abandon the people they shot at when compared to their counterparts in other firms.
In collaboration with Allan Craigie (UBC) and Marc Andre Bodet (Laval), he is undertaking research into public attitudes toward defence spending and the use of force by the Government of Canada.
Finally, in collaboration with Karina Sangha (Waterloo), he is undertaking research into factors affecting the degree of combat stress experienced by the operators of unpiloted aerial vehicles and other remote-operated war-fighting equipment.
POLI 360 Security Studies - Winter 2012
POLI 260 Introduction to International Politics - Spring 2013
POLI 100 Introduction to Political Science - Spring 2013
• Fighting the Simba Rebellion: Cultural, Technological and Strategic Determinants of Military Performance in Asymmetrical Conflicts. Winnipeg, MB: Centre for Defence and Security Studies, University of Manitoba, 2009.
• “When Few Stood against Many: Explaining Executive Outcomes’ Victory in the Sierra Leonean Civil War.” Defence Studies 12, no. 4 (Forthcoming in Winter 2012).
• “A Mercenary Solution to Maritime Piracy: Problems and Prospects.” Small Wars & Insurgencies 23, no. 3 (Forthcoming in Summer 2012).
• “Canadian Security Threats beyond Terrorism.” Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 12, no. 3 (Spring 2010): 100-129.
• “A Rational-constructivist Explanation for the Evolution and Decline of the Norm against Mercenarism.” Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 11, no. 4 (Summer 2009).
• “Dogs of Peace: A Potential Role for Private Military Companies in Peace Implementation.” Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 8, No, 1 (Fall 2005).
• “Toward a Comprehensive Theory of War Making in the Developing World: A Review Essay.” Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 7, no. 4 (Summer 2005).
Refereed Book Chapters
• “Dogs of Peace: A Potential Role for Private Military Companies in Peace Implementation.” In Perspectives on War Vol. 3. Laurel Halladay, ed., 111-146. Calgary, AB: Society for Military and Strategic Studies, 2005.
• “Culture Clash: The Influence of Behavioural Norms on Military Performance in Asymmetric Conflicts.” Innovations: A Journal of Politics 8 (Fall-Winter 2008-2009): 99-142.
• “Shadow Warriors: Shedding Light on Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan.” Vanguard (March-April 2009): 26-27.
• “North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” In The Encyclopedia of World History Vol. VI: The Contemporary World – 1950 to the Present. Mark F. Whitters, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, Marsha Ackermann, Michael J. Schroeder, and Janice Terry, eds. New York, NY: Facts on File, 2008.
• “Erwin Rommel.” In The Encyclopedia of World History Vol. V: Crisis and Achievement – 1900 to 1950. Mark F. Whitters, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, Marsha Ackermann, Michael J. Schroeder, and Janice Terry, eds. New York, NY: Facts on File, 2008.
• “Viking Warfare: Iceland,” and “Lief Ericson.” In The Encyclopedia of World History Vol. II: The Expanding World – 600 CE to 1450. Mark F. Whitters, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, Marsha Ackermann, Michael J. Schroeder, and Janice Terry, eds. New York, NY: Facts on File, 2008.
• “Roman Legionaries,” and “The Peloponnesian War.” In The Encyclopedia of World History Vol. I: The Ancient World – Prehistoric Eras to 600 CE. Mark F. Whitters, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, Marsha Ackermann, Michael J. Schroeder, and Janice Terry, eds. New York, NY: Facts on File, 2008.
• “Evaluating the Masters of Strategy: A Comparative Analysis of Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Mahan, and Corbett.” Innovations: A Journal of Politics 7 (Fall 2007): 27-40.
• “Review of The International Self by Mira Sucharov.” Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 9, no. 1 (Fall 2006).
• “A Private Solution to a Humanitarian Catastrophie: Mercenaries in Darfur.” Vanguard (August-September 2006): 18-20.
• “Publish and Flourish: The Benefits of Student Publishing in Political Science.” Innovations: A Journal of Politics 6 (Summer 2006): vii-viii.
• “Review of Ghosts of Medak Pocket by Carol Off.” Canadian Military Journal 6, no. 1 (Spring 2005): 87-88.
• With Peter Avis, Brent Ellis, and Sarah Turney. “Georgia: A Risk Assessment Brief.” Country Indicators for Foreign Policy (CIFP) Project. Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University. February, 2004.
International Studies Association Conference Papers
• “The Externally-focused Market for Combat Services in the United States,” 2012.
• “Privatizing the Struggle against Somali Piracy,” 2012.
• “American Markets for Force,” 2011.
• “A Culture for War: Explaining Military Performance in Asymmetric Conflicts Involving Mercenary Forces,” 2010.
• With Daniel Fitzsimmons, “Media and Mercenaries: A Study of Prominent Newspaper Coverage of Private Security Contractors in the Iraq War,” 2010.
• “How Appropriate is ‘Appropriateness’ for Explaining Norms of Military Practice?,” 2009.
• “The Art of Private Warfare: A Normative Theory of the Military Performance of Modern Mercenary Forces,” 2009.
Canadian Political Science Association Conference Papers
• “Wheeled Warriors: Explaining Blackwater’s Unparalleled Record of Violence in Iraq,” 2012.
• “A Mercenary Solution to Maritime Piracy: Problems and Prospects,” 2011.
• “Adapt or Die: The Cultural Foundations of Military Performance in the Sierra Leonean Civil War,” 2009.
• “Guns, Plans, or Norms?: The Determinants of Military Performance in Asymmetrical Conflicts,” 2008.
• “Return of the Warrior Elite: Prospects for the Deployment of Elite Private Infantry in Afghanistan,” 2008.
• “The Art of Private War: A Normative Military Culture Theory of Military Performance,” 2007.
• “A Rational-constructivist Explanation for the Evolution and Decline of the Norm against Mercenarism,” 2007.