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.

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.

Books

Private Security Companies in the Iraq War: Military Culture and the Use of Deadly Force

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2015
London, UK
Routledge
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Fighting the Simba Rebellion: Cultural, Technological and Strategic Determinants of Military Performance in Asymmetrical Conflicts

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2009
Winnipeg, MB
Centre for Defence and Security Studies, University of Manitoba
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Mercenaries in Asymmetric Conflicts

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2012
New York, NY
Cambridge University Press
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Book Chapters

The Market for Force in the United States

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2014
Philadelphia, PA
University of Pennsylvania Press
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Dogs of Peace: A Potential Role for Private Military Companies in Peace Implem entation

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2005
Calgary, AB
Society for Military and Strategic Studies
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Edited Books

This author has not written any publications of this type yet.

Peer Reviewed Journals

Just War Theory and Private Security Companies

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2015
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Personality and Adherence to International Agreements: The Case of President Donald Trump

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2020
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The Role of Personality in Canada's Burden Sharing Decisions during Coalition Combat Operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2019
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Privatizing the Struggle against Somali Piracy

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
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Contracting Blowback?: The Use of Violence by Private Security Companies and Insurgents during the Iraq War

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2020
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Wheeled Warriors: Explaining Variations in the use of Violence by Private Security Companies in Iraq

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
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Toward a Comprehensive Theory of War Making in the Developing World: A Review Essay

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2005
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When Few Stood against Many: Explaining Executive Outcomes' Victory in the Sierra Leonean Civil War

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
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Dogs of Peace: A Potential Role for Private Military Companies in Peace Implementation

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2005
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Effective but Inefficient: Understanding the Costs of Counterterrorism

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
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A Rational-constructivist Explanation for the Evolution and Decline of the Norm against Mercenarism

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2009
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Canadian Public Opinion about the Military: Assessing the Influences on Attitudes toward Defence Spending and Participation in Overseas Combat Operations

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2014
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Canadian Security Threats beyond Terrorism

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2010
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Other Journals

Publish and Flourish: The Benefits of Student Publishing in Political Science

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2006
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A Private Solution to a Humanitarian Catastrophie: Mercenaries in Darfur

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2006
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Review of "The International Self" by Mira Sucharov

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2006
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Review of Security Entrepreneurs: Performing Protection in Post-Cold War Europe by Alexandra Gheciu

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2018
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Evaluating the Masters of Strategy: A Comparative Analysis of Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Mahan, and Corbett

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2007
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Review of "Ghosts of Medak Pocket" by Carol Off

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2005
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Shadow Warriors: Shedding Light on Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2009
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Review of "The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies" by James Pattison

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2014
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Culture Clash: The Influence of Behavioural Norms on Military Performance in Asymmetric Conflicts

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2008
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Review of "The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror became A Global War on Tribal Islam" by Akbar Ahmed

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2014
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Review of "Europe without Soldiers?: Recruitment and Retention across the Armed Forces of Europe", edited by Christian Leuprecht and Tibor Szvircsev Tresch

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
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Conference Publications

International Studies Association Annual Convention

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2015
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Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2007
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International Studies Association Annual Convention

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2009
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British International Studies Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2014
Read more

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2007
Read more

International Studies Association Annual Convention

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2010
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Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2014
Read more

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2008
Read more

International Studies Association Annual Convention

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2010
Read more

Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2018
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Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2014
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Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2008
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International Studies Association Annual Convention

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2011
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International Studies Association Annual Convention

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2018
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International Studies Association Annual Convention

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2014
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Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2009
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International Studies Association Annual Convention

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2012
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Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2017
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Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
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Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2011
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International Studies Association Annual Convention

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2012
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Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2016
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Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
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Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2012
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Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2015
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International Studies Association Annual Convention

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
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International Studies Association Annual Convention

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2009
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Conference Contributions

This author has not written any publications of this type yet.

Published Reports

This author has not written any publications of this type yet.

Editorials

What Lessons have been Learned from the Iraq War?

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
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Evidence Points to Trump Administration Not Being as Radical as Campaign Rhetoric

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2016
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US Parties Need to Change Selection Process

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2016
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Why is Guantanamo Bay still Open?

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
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The Reality of Drone Warfare – Is it Really a Costless Conflict?

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
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What Role does Oil Play in Modern Day Wars?

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
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Book Reviews

The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2015
Read more

The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2015
Read more

Other Publications

Why is Guantanamo Bay still Open?

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
Read more

Erwin Rommel

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2008
New York, NY
Facts on File
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The Reality of Drone Warfare – Is it Really a Costless Conflict?

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
Read more

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2008
New York, NY
Facts on File
Read more

What Role does Oil Play in Modern Day Wars?

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
Read more

The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2015
Read more

What Lessons have been Learned from the Iraq War?

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2013
Read more

The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2015
Read more

The Peloponnesian War

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2008
New York, NY
Facts on File
Read more

Evidence Points to Trump Administration Not Being as Radical as Campaign Rhetoric

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2016
Read more

Roman Legionaries

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2008
New York, NY
Facts on File
Read more

US Parties Need to Change Selection Process

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2016
Read more

Lief Ericson

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2008
New York, NY
Facts on File
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Mercenaries and Private Security Companies

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2014
Wiley-Blackwell
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Viking Warfare: Iceland

Dr. Scott Fitzsimmons
2008
New York, NY
Facts on File
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