Author Archive

Laura A. Dickinson

Laura A. Dickinson is an Oswald Symister Colclough Research Professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School. She joined GW Law in 2011. Previously, Professor Dickinson was the Foundation Professor of Law and the faculty director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (ASU). Her work focuses on human rights, national security, foreign affairs privatization, and qualitative empirical approaches to international law. Professor Dickinson’s recent monograph entitled Outsourcing War and Peace, published by Yale University Press in 2011, examines the increasing privatization of military, security, and foreign aid functions of government, considers the impact of this trend on core public values, and outlines mechanisms for protecting these values in an era of privatization. Prior to her position at ASU, Professor Dickinson was on the faculty of the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she taught from 2001 to 2008, and she was a Visiting Research Scholar and Visiting Professor in the Law and Public Affairs Program at Princeton University in 2006-2007. She served as a senior policy adviser to Harold Hongju Koh, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the U.S. Department of State, and is a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justices Harry A. Blackmun and Stephen G. Breyer, and to Judge Dorothy Nelson of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Professor Dickinson has served as a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law, and co-organizer of a Collaborative Research Network on Empirical Approaches to International Human Rights Law, convened under the auspices of the Law & Society Association.


Outsourcing Covert Activities

Outsourcing Covert Activities

Over the past decade, the United States has radically shifted the way it projects its power overseas. Instead of using full-time employees of foreign affairs agencies to implement its policies, the government now deploys a wide range of contractors and grantees, hired by both for-profit and nonprofit entities. Thus, while traditionally we relied on diplomats, spies, and soldiers to protect and promote our interests abroad, increasingly we have turned to hired guns. Contrast the first Gulf War to later conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.