Scott Fitzsimmons

Lecturer PhD

 
researcher

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.

Books

  Year Publication
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. [Details]
2012 Mercenaries in Asymmetric Conflicts.
Scott Fitzsimmons (2012) Mercenaries in Asymmetric Conflicts. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. [Details]
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. [Details]

Book Chapters

  Year Publication
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. [Details]
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. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

  Year Publication
2015 'Just War Theory and Private Security Companies'
Scott Fitzsimmons (2015) 'Just War Theory and Private Security Companies'. International Affairs, 91 (5):1069-1084 [Details]
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'. Canadian Journal Of Political Science-Revue Canadienne De Sc, 47 (3):503-518 [DOI] [Details]
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'. Security Studies, 22 (4):707-739 [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Effective but Inefficient: Understanding the Costs of Counterterrorism'
Arjun Chowdhury and Scott Fitzsimmons (2013) 'Effective but Inefficient: Understanding the Costs of Counterterrorism'. Critical Studies on Terrorism, 6 (3):447-456 [DOI] [Details]
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'. Defence Studies, 13 (2):245-269 [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Privatizing the Struggle against Somali Piracy'
Scott Fitzsimmons (2013) 'Privatizing the Struggle against Somali Piracy'. Small Wars & Insurgencies, 24 (1):84-102 [DOI] [Details]
2010 'Canadian Security Threats beyond Terrorism'
Scott Fitzsimmons (2010) 'Canadian Security Threats beyond Terrorism'. Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, 12 (3):100-129 [Details]
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'. Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, 11 (4) [Details]
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'. Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, 7 (4) [ULIR Link] [Details]
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'. Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, 8 (1) [ULIR Link] [Details]

Other Journals

  Year Publication
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' E-International Relations, . [Details]
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' Political Studies Review, . [Details]
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' Political Studies Review, . [DOI] [Details]
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' Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, 19 (2) :238-239. [Details]
2009 'Shadow Warriors: Shedding Light on Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan'
Scott Fitzsimmons (2009) 'Shadow Warriors: Shedding Light on Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan' Vanguard, :26-27. [Details]
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' Innovations: A Journal of Politics, 8 :99-142. [Details]
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' Innovations: A Journal of Politics, 7 :27-40. [Details]
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' Innovations: A Journal of Politics, 6 :vii-viii. [Details]
2006 'A Private Solution to a Humanitarian Catastrophie: Mercenaries in Darfur'
Scott Fitzsimmons (2006) 'A Private Solution to a Humanitarian Catastrophie: Mercenaries in Darfur' Vanguard, :18-20. [Details]
2006 'Review of The International Self by Mira Sucharov'
Scott Fitzsimmons (2006) 'Review of The International Self by Mira Sucharov' Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, 9 (1) . [Details]
2005 'Review of Ghosts of Medak Pocket by Carol Off'
Scott Fitzsimmons (2005) 'Review of Ghosts of Medak Pocket by Carol Off' Canadian Military Journal, 6 (1) :87-88. [Details]

Conference Publications

  Year Publication
2018 International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons (2018) Personality and the No First Use Norm: The Case of President Donald Trump International Studies Association Annual Convention [Details]
2018 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons and Miruna Barnoschi (2018) Cowboys or Professionals?: The Effects of Insurgent Violence on Private Security Companies’ Tactical Behaviour Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2017 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons (2017) The Role of Personality in Alliance Burden Sharing Decisions Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2016 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons (2016) The Ethics of Private Security Operations during the War in Afghanistan Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2015 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons (2015) The Ethics of Employing Private Security Companies Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2015 International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons (2015) Just War Theory and Private Security Companies International Studies Association Annual Convention [Details]
2014 British International Studies Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons (2014) Road Warriors: Violence and Personnel Protection by Private Security Companies in Iraq British International Studies Association Annual Conference [Details]
2014 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons (2014) Fire for Effect: The Relationship between Violent Tactical Behaviour and Friendly Casualties in Private Security Operations Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2014 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons and Karina Sangha (2014) Cultural Explanations for the Adoption and Use of Drone Aircraft Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2014 International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons and Karina Sangha (2014) The Bureaucratic Politics of Remotely Piloted Combat Aircraft International Studies Association Annual Convention [Details]
2013 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons, Marc-Andre Bodet, and Allan Craigie (2013) Canadian Public Opinion about the Military: Assessing the Determinants of Attitudes toward Defence Spending the Participation of the Canadian Forces in Overseas Combat Operations Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2013 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons and Karina Sangha (2013) This Ain't a Video Game: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Among the Operators of Combat Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2013 International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons and Karina Sangha (2013) Killing in High Definition: Combat Stress among Operators of Remotely Piloted Aircraft International Studies Association Annual Convention [Details]
2012 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons (2012) Wheeled Warriors: Explaining Blackwater’s Unparalleled Record of Violence in Iraq Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2012 International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons (2012) Privatizing the Struggle against Somali Piracy International Studies Association Annual Convention [Details]
2012 International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons (2012) The Externally-focused Market for Combat Services in the United States International Studies Association Annual Convention [Details]
2011 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons (2011) A Mercenary Solution to Maritime Piracy: Problems and Prospects Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2011 International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons (2011) American Markets for Force International Studies Association Annual Convention [Details]
2010 International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons and Daniel Fitzsimmons (2010) Media and Mercenaries: A Study of Prominent Newspaper Coverage of Private Security Contractors in the Iraq War International Studies Association Annual Convention [Details]
2010 International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons (2010) A Culture for War: Explaining Military Performance in Asymmetric Conflicts Involving Mercenary Forces International Studies Association Annual Convention [Details]
2009 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons (2009) Adapt or Die: The Cultural Foundations of Military Performance in the Sierra Leonean Civil War Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2009 International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons (2009) The Art of Private Warfare: A Normative Theory of the Military Performance of Modern Mercenary Forces International Studies Association Annual Convention [Details]
2009 International Studies Association Annual Convention
Scott Fitzsimmons (2009) How Appropriate is ‘Appropriateness’ for Explaining Norms of Military Practice? International Studies Association Annual Convention [Details]
2008 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons (2008) Return of the Warrior Elite: Prospects for the Deployment of Elite Private Infantry in Afghanistan Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2008 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons (2008) Guns, Plans, or Norms?: The Determinants of Military Performance in Asymmetrical Conflicts Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2007 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons (2007) The Art of Private War: A Normative Military Culture Theory of Military Performance Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]
2007 Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference
Scott Fitzsimmons (2007) A Rational-constructivist Explanation for the Evolution and Decline of the Norm against Mercenarism Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference [Details]

Editorial

  Year Publication
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. Editorial [Details]
2016 US Parties Need to Change Selection Process.
Scott Fitzsimmons (2016) US Parties Need to Change Selection Process. Editorial [Details]
2013 Why is Guantanamo Bay still Open?.
Scott Fitzsimmons (2013) Why is Guantanamo Bay still Open?. Editorial [Details]
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?. Editorial [Details]
2013 What Role does Oil Play in Modern Day Wars?.
Scott Fitzsimmons (2013) What Role does Oil Play in Modern Day Wars?. Editorial [Details]
2013 What Lessons have been Learned from the Iraq War?.
Scott Fitzsimmons (2013) What Lessons have been Learned from the Iraq War?. Editorial [Details]

Encyclopedia Entry

  Year Publication
2014 Mercenaries and Private Security Companies.
Scott Fitzsimmons (2014) Mercenaries and Private Security Companies. Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
2008 Viking Warfare: Iceland.
Scott Fitzsimmons (2008) Viking Warfare: Iceland. New York, NY: Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
2008 Roman Legionaries.
Scott Fitzsimmons (2008) Roman Legionaries. New York, NY: Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
2008 Lief Ericson.
Scott Fitzsimmons (2008) Lief Ericson. New York, NY: Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
2008 The Peloponnesian War.
Scott Fitzsimmons (2008) The Peloponnesian War. New York, NY: Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
2008 Erwin Rommel.
Scott Fitzsimmons (2008) Erwin Rommel. New York, NY: Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
2008 North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Scott Fitzsimmons (2008) North Atlantic Treaty Organization. New York, NY: Encyclopedia Entry [Details]

Honours and Awards

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

Professional Associations

  Association Function From / To
British International Studies Association Member /
International Studies Association Member 01-JAN-06 /
Canadian Political Science Association Member 01-JAN-06 /

Outreach Activities

  Description

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

Other Activities

  Description

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.

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 

 

Teaching Interests

PO4018 Introduction to International Politics
PO4027 International Organisations and Global Governance
PO4048 Issues in World Politics
PO5013 Conflict Analysis