Multinational Corporations are Overlooked Players in Stability, Security, Transition and Reconstruction Operations

5 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2015

See all articles by Samuel William Bettwy

Samuel William Bettwy

Thomas Jefferson School of Law; USD School of Law

Date Written: January 2, 2015


It has long been acknowledged that multinational corporations (MNCs) have acquired legal personality under international law. Unlike states, however, MNCs are not precluded by notions of sovereignty and territorial inviolability. In the narrative of rogue and failing states and the emerging international norm of humanitarian intervention, most observers characterize MNCs as villainous predators. In states that have a permissive regulatory environment, MNCs exploit cheap labor, enable authoritarian regimes, and pollute the environment. Some observers believe that MNCs are also positive forces that contribute to the economic and political stability of the state and its people. Either way, combatant commanders need to recognize that MNCs are significant players to be included in planning for Phase IV, military support to stability, security, transition and reconstruction operations (SSTRO).

The military has a difficult time relating to the culture of civilian, “do-gooder,” not-for-profit organizations, and the difficulty is mutual. The military does have, however, an entrepreneurial mindset, having participated in the rough-and-tumble of lobbying and contracting since the 1950s to build a powerful military-industrial-congressional complex. Much has been written about the role of private security contractors such as Blackwater in SSTRO, but their role is minor compared to behemoths like companies in the extractive industries, for example. Of all agencies involved in SSTRO, the military is best equipped to coordinate with these major players to achieve political and economic stabilization in rogue and failing states. If left unchecked, however, MNCs can work against military objectives.

Keywords: Military Strategy,Multinational Corporations, National Strategy

Suggested Citation

Bettwy, Samuel William, Multinational Corporations are Overlooked Players in Stability, Security, Transition and Reconstruction Operations (January 2, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Samuel William Bettwy (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

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USD School of Law ( email )

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