Stephanie N. Kang

Political Science

Stephanie Kang became involved in her project through the Political Science Honors Program. She found it particularly compelling to work on a subject most people do not know about within the area of U.S. security policies. Stephanie considers writing this paper to be an experience that will be of great value in writing a future dissertation. She has spent the last year teaching in South Korea, and hopes to move on to graduate school with an ultimate goal of becoming a university professor. Stephanie feels that her research experience has already given her a strong foundationóboth methods and materialsófor further research. triangle.gif (504 bytes)




The emergence of the private security industry has blurred the distinctions between public and private domains because states are no longer the sole actors in the theater of conflict. Private security companies, or PSCs, have gained entry into war zones through lucrative military contracts and the global market. By providing instrumental military services and unique political advantages, PSCs can be a favorable option for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, despite their growing influence, the U.S. has yet to establish an effective legal framework for ensuring PSC accountability, transparency, and regulation abroad. This paper focuses on current U.S. efforts toward PSC regulation through the implementation of three key laws: the Patriot Act/Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction Act, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Through four detailed case studies, this paper seeks to highlight the major flaws and loopholes in U.S. law and suggest viable solutions. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

back.gif (221 bytes) next


Faculty Mentors                                                                                                               

Deborah D. Avant
School of Social Sciences

Wayne Sandholtz
School of Social Sciences

Stephanie's research on private security companies exposes a gap in American law. Private companies have been heavily involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but when their employees commit crimes in war zones, it is not clear how to hold them legally accountable. Stephanie's research led her to sensible recommendations on how to fill that gap.triangle.gif (504 bytes)

back.gif (221 bytes)

If you wish to view the paper in its entirety, please select the link given to the PDF file. pdf_logo.gif (126 bytes) [04_kang.pdf]

If you wish to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader,
please go to Adobe’s website (

Back to Journal 2009 Index

Copyright © 2009 by the Regents of the University of California.  All rights reserved.