On October 7th, 2014, Vincent Boulanin defended his PhD dissertation entitled From Defense to Security, Economic and political issues of the diversification of European armament firms in the field of security (in French) at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He was awarded a PhD degree “summa cum laude” in defense studies.
Vincent Boulanin is a researcher at SIPRI, Stockholm. He works on issues related to the production, use and control of emerging military and security technologies, notably cybersecurity and cyberwarfare.
His dissertation deals with the geopolitical causes, economic aspects and political consequences of the diversification of the European arms industry into the realm of security. The objective was to study the so-called “defense-security continuum” at the industry level.
His thesis is that arms producers are not only reacting to a growing demand for security goods and services. They actively take part in the definition and implementation of security policies to the extent that they can shape public demand for the latter. The argument is based on an original approach that combines the empiricism of the arms production literature with the reflexivity of the constructivist literature on security policies in International Relations.
Section I explains why arms producers had to diversify into the security realm to cope with the post-9/11 order. They had to find new growth drivers and they had to reinvent their legitimacy in a context where the landmarks of the defense community were eroding.
Section II presents empirical evidence of such diversification and analyzes to what extent this is a complex phenomenon that cannot be analyzed only through the opposition civil/military.
Section III consists of two cases studies on border security and cyber-security. Both show how arms produced have expanded their influence on the definition and implementation of public security policies.