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Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons

Biography

Scott Fitzsimmons, B.P.A.P.M., M.A., (Carleton), Ph.D. (Calgary), specializes in the behaviour of armed forces and the use of force in contemporary conflicts. Before joining the University of Limerick's Department of Politics and Public Administration in 2013, he was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He has also taught at the Universities of Victoria and Calgary. His primary research interests include developing and testing theories of how armed forces behave in conflict zones, combat operations involving mercenaries and private security companies, psychological approaches to foreign policy decision-making, public attitudes toward defence spending and the use of force by the Government of Canada, government responses to terrorism, and the sources of combat stress experienced by the operators of remotely piloted combat vehicles.

Research Interests

Fitzsimmons' most recent book, Private Security Companies during the Iraq War (Routledge, 2015), focuses on and compares the activities of the US companies Blackwater and Dyncorp. Despite sharing several important characteristics, such as working for the same client (the US State Department) during the same time period, the employees of Blackwater fired their weapons far more often, and killed and seriously injured far more people in Iraq than their counterparts in DynCorp. In order to explain this disparity, the book undertakes the most comprehensive analysis ever attempted on the use of violence by the employees of these firms. Based on extensive empirical research, it offers a credible explanation for this difference: Blackwater maintained a relatively bellicose military culture that placed strong emphasis on norms encouraging its personnel to exercise personal initiative, proactive use of force, and an exclusive approach to security, which, together, motivated its personnel to use violence quite freely against anyone they suspected of posing a threat. Specifically, Blackwater's military culture motivated its 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 DynCorp's personnel, who maintained a military culture that encouraged far less violent behaviour. Utilizing the Private Security Company Violent Incident Dataset (PSCVID), created by the author in 2012, the book draws upon data on hundreds of violent incidents involving private security personnel in Iraq to identify trends in the behaviour exhibited by the employees of different firms. Based on this rich and original empirical data, the book provides the definitive study of contemporary private security personnel in the Iraq War.

His previous 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.

In collaboration with Allan Craigie (UBC) and Marc Andre Bodet (Laval), he has recently published an article examining public attitudes toward defence spending and the use of force by the Government of Canada.

In collaboration with Arjun Chowdhury (UBC), he has recently published an article explaining why many states tend to react excessively to terrorist attacks, and why these excessive reactions tend to be highly inefficient.

Finally, he is currently undertaking empirical research into how well private security companies adhere to the tenets of just war theory as well as psychological approaches to foreign policy decision making.

Teaching Interests

PO4018 Introduction to International Politics
PO4027 International Organisations and Global Governance

PO4048 Issues in World Politics
PO5013 Conflict Analysis

Professional Activities

Award

  • 2011 - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2007 - Izaak Killam Doctoral Scholarship
  • 2005 - Journal of Military and Strategic Studies Society for Military and Strategic Studies Award of Excellence
  • 2004 - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Canadian Graduate Scholarship
  • 2004 - Doctoral Scholarship
  • 2004 - Faculty of Graduate Studies' Dean's Entrance Scholarship
  • 2004 - Dean's Research Excellence Award
  • 2004 - Ontario Graduate Scholarship
  • 2003 - Graduate Entrance Scholarship
  • 2003 - Prince Memorial Prize for Academic Excellence from Department of Public Affairs and Policy Management
  • 2003 - University Medal in Public Affairs and Policy Management
  • 2003 - Joubin-Selig Scholarship
  • 2003 - Dean of Graduate Studies Entrance Scholarship for Academic Excellence
  • 2003 - Ontario Graduate Scholarship
  • 2002 - 'Dean's List' for Undergraduate Academic Achievement
  • 2002 - President's Scholarship
  • 2001 - 'Dean's List' for Undergraduate Academic Achievement
  • 2001 - President's Scholarship
  • 2000 - 'Dean's List' for Undergraduate Academic Achievement
  • 2000 - President's Scholarship
  • 1999 - 'Dean's List' for Undergraduate Academic Achievement
  • 1999 - President's Scholarship

Association

  • 2006 Member, International Studies Association
  • 2006 Member, Canadian Political Science Association
  • Member, British International Studies Association

Other

  • Reviewed Articles for:
    International Journal
    Conflict Management and Peace Science
    The Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
    The UBC Journal of International Affairs
    Innovations: A Journal of Politics
  • For access to the latest iteration of the Private Security Company Violent Incident Dataset (PSCVID), please contact me at scott.fitzsimmons@ul.ie
  • As ISA Canada Co-organizer of the International Relations Section of the 2019 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference, I reviewed approximately 100 paper proposals and assembled 36 panels.

Outreach

  • Interview on the Election of Donald Trump and the Future of Irish International Relations. Limerick Today. Limerick Live95FM. November 17, 2016.

Publications

Books

2015

Private Security Companies in the Iraq War: Military Culture and the Use of Deadly Force
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2015) Private Security Companies in the Iraq War: Military Culture and the Use of Deadly Force
London, UK : Routledge

2012

Mercenaries in Asymmetric Conflicts
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2012) Mercenaries in Asymmetric Conflicts
New York, NY : Cambridge University Press

2009

Fighting the Simba Rebellion: Cultural, Technological and Strategic Determinants of Military Performance in Asymmetrical Conflicts
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2009) 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

Book Chapters

2014

The Market for Force in the United States
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2014) The Market for Force in the United States
In Markets for Force; Philadelphia, PA : University of Pennsylvania Press

2005

Dogs of Peace: A Potential Role for Private Military Companies in Peace Implem entation
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2005) Dogs of Peace: A Potential Role for Private Military Companies in Peace Implem entation
In Perspectives on War Vol. 3; Calgary, AB : Society for Military and Strategic Studies pp. 111-146

Peer Reviewed Journals

2020

Personality and Adherence to International Agreements: The Case of President Donald Trump
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2020) Personality and Adherence to International Agreements: The Case of President Donald Trump
In International Relations;

2020

Contracting Blowback?: The Use of Violence by Private Security Companies and Insurgents during the Iraq War
Fitzsimmons S.
(2020) Contracting Blowback?: The Use of Violence by Private Security Companies and Insurgents during the Iraq War
In Studies In Conflict &Amp; Terrorism;
DOI: 10.1080/1057610X.2020.1723276

2019

The Role of Personality in Canada's Burden Sharing Decisions during Coalition Combat Operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2019) The Role of Personality in Canada's Burden Sharing Decisions during Coalition Combat Operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
In Canadian Foreign Policy Journal;

2015

Just War Theory and Private Security Companies
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2015) Just War Theory and Private Security Companies
In International Affairs; pp. 1069-1084

2014

Canadian Public Opinion about the Military: Assessing the Influences on Attitudes toward Defence Spending and Participation in Overseas Combat Operations
Scott Fitzsimmons, Allan Craigie, and Marc-Andre Bodet
(2014) Canadian Public Opinion about the Military: Assessing the Influences on Attitudes toward Defence Spending and Participation in Overseas Combat Operations
In Canadian Journal Of Political Science-Revue Canadienne De Sc; pp. 503-518
DOI: 10.1017/S0008423914000754

2013

Wheeled Warriors: Explaining Variations in the use of Violence by Private Security Companies in Iraq
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2013) Wheeled Warriors: Explaining Variations in the use of Violence by Private Security Companies in Iraq
In Security Studies; pp. 707-739
DOI: 10.1080/09636412.2013.844521

2013

When Few Stood against Many: Explaining Executive Outcomes' Victory in the Sierra Leonean Civil War
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2013) When Few Stood against Many: Explaining Executive Outcomes' Victory in the Sierra Leonean Civil War
In Defence Studies; pp. 245-269
DOI: 10.1080/14702436.2012.745967

2013

Effective but Inefficient: Understanding the Costs of Counterterrorism
Arjun Chowdhury and Scott Fitzsimmons
(2013) Effective but Inefficient: Understanding the Costs of Counterterrorism
In Critical Studies on Terrorism; pp. 447-456
DOI: 10.1080/17539153.2013.836307

2013

Privatizing the Struggle against Somali Piracy
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2013) Privatizing the Struggle against Somali Piracy
In Small Wars & Insurgencies; pp. 84-102
DOI: 10.1080/09592318.2013.740230

2010

Canadian Security Threats beyond Terrorism
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2010) Canadian Security Threats beyond Terrorism
In Journal of Military and Strategic Studies; pp. 100-129

2009

A Rational-constructivist Explanation for the Evolution and Decline of the Norm against Mercenarism
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2009) A Rational-constructivist Explanation for the Evolution and Decline of the Norm against Mercenarism
In Journal of Military and Strategic Studies;

2005

Toward a Comprehensive Theory of War Making in the Developing World: A Review Essay
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2005) Toward a Comprehensive Theory of War Making in the Developing World: A Review Essay
In Journal of Military and Strategic Studies;
[ULIR]

2005

Dogs of Peace: A Potential Role for Private Military Companies in Peace Implementation
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2005) Dogs of Peace: A Potential Role for Private Military Companies in Peace Implementation
In Journal of Military and Strategic Studies;
[ULIR]

Other Journals

2018

Review of Security Entrepreneurs: Performing Protection in Post-Cold War Europe by Alexandra Gheciu
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2018) Review of Security Entrepreneurs: Performing Protection in Post-Cold War Europe by Alexandra Gheciu
In E-International Relations;

2014

Review of "The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror became A Global War on Tribal Islam" by Akbar Ahmed
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2014) Review of "The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror became A Global War on Tribal Islam" by Akbar Ahmed
In Political Studies Review;
DOI: 10.1111/1478-9302.12073_107

2014

Review of "The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies" by James Pattison
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2014) Review of "The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies" by James Pattison
In Political Studies Review;

2013

Review of "Europe without Soldiers?: Recruitment and Retention across the Armed Forces of Europe", edited by Christian Leuprecht and Tibor Szvircsev Tresch
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2013) Review of "Europe without Soldiers?: Recruitment and Retention across the Armed Forces of Europe", edited by Christian Leuprecht and Tibor Szvircsev Tresch
In Canadian Foreign Policy Journal; pp. 238-239

2009

Shadow Warriors: Shedding Light on Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2009) Shadow Warriors: Shedding Light on Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan
In Vanguard; pp. 26-27

2008

Culture Clash: The Influence of Behavioural Norms on Military Performance in Asymmetric Conflicts
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2008) Culture Clash: The Influence of Behavioural Norms on Military Performance in Asymmetric Conflicts
In Innovations: A Journal of Politics; pp. 99-142

2007

Evaluating the Masters of Strategy: A Comparative Analysis of Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Mahan, and Corbett
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2007) Evaluating the Masters of Strategy: A Comparative Analysis of Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Mahan, and Corbett
In Innovations: A Journal of Politics; pp. 27-40

2006

Review of "The International Self" by Mira Sucharov
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2006) Review of "The International Self" by Mira Sucharov
In Journal of Military and Strategic Studies ;

2006

Publish and Flourish: The Benefits of Student Publishing in Political Science
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2006) Publish and Flourish: The Benefits of Student Publishing in Political Science
In Innovations: A Journal of Politics; pp. vii-viii

2006

A Private Solution to a Humanitarian Catastrophie: Mercenaries in Darfur
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2006) A Private Solution to a Humanitarian Catastrophie: Mercenaries in Darfur
In Vanguard; pp. 18-20

2005

Review of "Ghosts of Medak Pocket" by Carol Off
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2005) Review of "Ghosts of Medak Pocket" by Carol Off
In Canadian Military Journal; pp. 87-88

Conference Publications

2018

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons and Miruna Barnoschi
(2018) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2018

International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2018) International Studies Association Annual Convention

2017

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2017) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2016

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2016) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2015

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2015) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2015

International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2015) International Studies Association Annual Convention

2014

British International Studies Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2014) British International Studies Association Annual Conference

2014

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons and Karina Sangha
(2014) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2014

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2014) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2014

International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons and Karina Sangha
(2014) International Studies Association Annual Convention

2013

International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons and Karina Sangha
(2013) International Studies Association Annual Convention

2013

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons, Marc-Andre Bodet, and Allan Craigie
(2013) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2013

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons and Karina Sangha
(2013) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2012

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2012) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2012

International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2012) International Studies Association Annual Convention

2012

International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2012) International Studies Association Annual Convention

2011

International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2011) International Studies Association Annual Convention

2011

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2011) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2010

International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons and Daniel Fitzsimmons
(2010) International Studies Association Annual Convention

2010

International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2010) International Studies Association Annual Convention

2009

International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2009) International Studies Association Annual Convention

2009

International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2009) International Studies Association Annual Convention

2009

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2009) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2008

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2008) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2008

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2008) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2007

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2007) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

2007

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2007) Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Editorials

2016

Evidence Points to Trump Administration Not Being as Radical as Campaign Rhetoric
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2016) Evidence Points to Trump Administration Not Being as Radical as Campaign Rhetoric
In The Irish Examiner;

2016

US Parties Need to Change Selection Process
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2016) US Parties Need to Change Selection Process
In Business Post;

2013

The Reality of Drone Warfare – Is it Really a Costless Conflict?
Scott Fitzsimmons and Karina Sangha
(2013) The Reality of Drone Warfare – Is it Really a Costless Conflict?
In The Journal.ie;

2013

What Role does Oil Play in Modern Day Wars?
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2013) What Role does Oil Play in Modern Day Wars?
In The Journal.ie;

2013

Why is Guantanamo Bay still Open?
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2013) Why is Guantanamo Bay still Open?
In The Journal.ie;

2013

What Lessons have been Learned from the Iraq War?
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2013) What Lessons have been Learned from the Iraq War?
In The Journal.ie;

Book Reviews

2015

The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies
Fitzsimmons, S
(2015) The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies
In Political Studies Review; pp. 585-586
DOI: 10.1111/1478-9302.12101_39

2015

The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam
Fitzsimmons, S
(2015) The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam
In Political Studies Review; pp. 98-99
DOI: 10.1111/1478-9302.12073_107

Encyclopedia Entrys

2014

Mercenaries and Private Security Companies
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2014) Mercenaries and Private Security Companies
In Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology; Wiley-Blackwell

2008

Viking Warfare: Iceland
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2008) Viking Warfare: Iceland
In The Encyclopedia of World History Vol. II: The Expanding World – 600 CE to 1450 CE; Mark F. Whitters, Jiu - Hwa Lo Upshur, Marsha Ackermann, Michael J. Schroeder, and Janice Terry(Ed.) New York, NY : Facts on File

2008

Erwin Rommel
Scott Fitzsimmons
(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(Ed.) New York, NY : Facts on File

2008

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2008) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
In The Encyclopedi a 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(Ed.) New York, NY : Facts on File

2008

The Peloponnesian War
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2008) 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(Ed.) New York, NY : Facts on File

2008

Roman Legionaries
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2008) Roman Legionaries
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(Ed.) New York, NY : Facts on File

2008

Lief Ericson
Scott Fitzsimmons
(2008) Lief Ericson
In The Encyclopedia of World History Vol. II: The Expanding World – 600 CE to 1450 CE; Mark F. Whitters, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, Marsha Ackermann, Michael J. Schroeder, and Janice Terry(Ed.) New York, NY : Facts on File