Historically, a soldier of fortune takes part in armed conflict for a profit motive. They are usually an outsider to the conflict, and not a member of any official military. In the world of today, what are private military and security companies, and what do they do? Why should we be interested in these companies? As a junior officer, how should you think about, and evaluate the reliability of these contractors? Dr. Elizabeth Radziszewski is a Resident Fellow at the Stockdale Center. Her research on civil wars/insurgencies, international conflict, and foreign policy has been published in numerous academic journals.