P. W. Singer
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|P. W. Singer|
|Born||Peter Warren Singer
|Fields||Political Science, International Relations, Modern Warfare|
U.S. Department of Defense
International Peace Academy
|Alma mater||Princeton University (B.A.)
Harvard University (Ph.D.)
|Known for||Corporate Warriors, Children at War, Wired For War|
P. W. Singer (born Peter Warren Singer, 1974) is an American political scientist, an international relations scholar and a preeminent specialist on 21st century warfare. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he is Director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. 
Prior to his current position, Singer was founding Director of the Project on U.S. Policy Towards the Islamic World at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. He has also worked for the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, the Balkans Task Force in the U.S. Department of Defense, and the International Peace Academy. Singer received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University and an A.B. from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
At age 29, Singer became the youngest scholar named a Senior Fellow in the 95-year history of the Brookings Institution. He is considered one of the world's leading experts on changes in 21st century warfare and has written for many of the world's major media and journals, including the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Current History, Survival, International Security, Parameters, Weltpolitik, and the World Policy Journal. He has been quoted in every major U.S. newspaper and news magazine and delivered talks at venues ranging from the U.S. Congress and Pentagon to more than 70 universities around the world. In 2009 Singer was named to the "Top 100 Global Thinkers" list by Foreign Policy. He also served on the advisory group for Joint Forces Command, helping the U.S. military visualize and plan for the future.
Singer has provided commentary on military affairs for many of the major TV and radio outlet, including ABC News Nightline, Al Jazeera, BBC, CBS-60 Minutes, CNN, Fox, NPR, The Daily Show, and the NBC Today Show. He is also a founder and organizer of the U.S.–Islamic World Forum, a global conference that brings together leaders from across the United States and the Muslim world.
Singer has also worked with a variety of entertainment world projects, with Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, including the movies Traitor, and Whistleblower, the TV series Strike Back and Curiosity, as well as the 24: Redemption movie/DVD, broadcast in 2008. In 2012 Singer served as consultant on Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the bestselling entertainment project in history.
His first book Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (Cornell University Press, 2003) was the first to explore the new industry of private companies providing military services for hire, an issue that soon became important with the use and abuse of these companies in Iraq. The book, originally planned for a 500 copy print run, has sold over 40,000 copies, gone through three print runs and a paperback version, as well as being translated into Japanese, Korean, Urdu, German and Italian. It was named best book of the year by the American Political Science Association, among the top five international affairs books of the year by the Gelber Prize, and a "top ten summer read" by Businessweek. It is now in the assigned texts at venues ranging from Yale Law School to the Army War College.
Children at War
Singer's next book, Children at War (Pantheon, 2005), explored the rise of another new force in modern warfare, child soldier groups. Singer's "fascinating" (New York Post) and "landmark" (Newsweek) work was the first book to comprehensively explore the compelling and tragic rise of child soldier groups and was recognized by the 2006 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book of the Year Award. His commentary on the issue was featured in a variety of venues ranging from National Public Radio and Fox News to Defense News and People magazine. Singer has served as a consultant on the issue to the U.S. Marine Corps and Congress, and the recommendations in his book resulted in changes in the UN peacekeeping training program. An accompanying A&E/History Channel documentary entitled Child Warriors was broadcast in 2008.
In the book Singer explores how children are used in warfare throughout history and how it has increased in recent decades partly due to the availability of small arms fire and decreasing values. He discusses how children are often indoctrinated in the glory of war and often the glory of a religious cause. Children are being used in warfare in dozens of countries around the world, the countries that uses children the most include Colombia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo and Myanmar. This problem is most common in third world countries without sufficient education systems. In most cases the youngest children are used for noncombat duties however that isn't always the case. The organization with the dubious distinction of using the youngest child for combat is the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) of Uganda. Children are often put in the front lines to be used as cannon fodder or used as "mine detectors". They are considered cheaper since they don't have to be paid and they are easier to indoctrinate. They are sometimes recruited by attacking schools and kidnapping children. This often makes wars last longer than they would otherwise. The United States has at time found itself fighting against children in both Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars are often supported indirectly by corporation's dealing with some of the leaders of these abuses. In some cases educational material glorifying war has been financed by US government grants.
Peter Singer also explores ways to put an end to these abuses and how to reintegrate children back into society through support groups. They are often rejected from their own home towns since their families and neighbors often fear them and consider them lost causes. In some cases they are treated like criminals or terrorists. The people who abduct these children often try to influence them starting when they are very young. Ideally prevention of this should also start very young but if that isn't possible a greater effort needs to be made as soon as possible. An effort needs to be made to provide hope and supervise the reintegration back into society. An effort needs to be made to place the blame on those that abduct and indoctrinate the children not the children themselves. However they still need help reintegrating back into society since they may have a harder time than adult soldiers dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. There also needs to be a greater effort to acknowledge their presence in the battle field. At times when cease fires have been negotiated the presence of children was ignored. Many treaties have already been signed to address this issue but there has been insufficient follow up to enforce the treaties. Ultimately in order to be successful in the long run the war has to be brought to an end.
Wired for War
Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century (Penguin, 2009) is a best-selling book by P. W. Singer. It explores how science fiction has started to play out on modern day battlefields, with robots used more and more in war. For the book research, Singer interviewed hundreds of robotics scientists, science fiction writers, soldiers, insurgents, politicians, lawyers, journalists, and human rights activists from around the world. Even before publication, the work had already been featured in the video game Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, as well as in presentations to audiences as diverse as the U.S. Army War College, Air Force Institute of Technology and the National Student Leadership Conference. Singer's 2009 book tour included stops on NPR's Fresh Air, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the opening of the TED conference, the Royal Court of the United Arab Emirates and presentations at 75 venues around the United States. The book was a non-fiction book of the year by the Financial Times and named to the official reading lists for the US Air Force, US Navy, and Royal Australian Navy
For more information about child soldiers see:
- U.S.–Islamic World Forum
- Cornell Press
- P.W. Singer Author website
- Curriculum vitae
- Brookings Institution
- Children at War book website
- Wired for War book website
- Video (with audio-only available) of conversation with Singer and John Horgan on Bloggingheads.tv
- Interview with Peter Singer on Child Soldiers, Private Soldiers and Robots by Theory Talks
- Interview on Wired for War at the Pritzker Military Library
- Audio: Peter Singer in conversation on the BBC World Service discussion programme The Forum