Research

My article and book projects interrogate fundamental assertions in International Relations scholarship about the nature of national military power.

 
Gurkhas in the Malayan jungle, c.1941

Brothers in Arms:
Foreign Legions, National Armies, and Re-examining Citizenship and Military Service

My dissertation explains the calculus that has led modern states to recruit soldiers who are neither subjects nor citizens of the government they serve—foreign legionnaires. My project first presents an original dataset of recruitment policies, identifying legionnaire enlistment programs that states have implemented between 1815 and 2020. Drawing on government records in multiple languages, I show how these policies have influenced modern history’s major wars and spanned the globe.

My project details and tests a theory that explains how governments select among this fuller spectrum of manpower options. I argue that the selection of recruitment policies—citizen or legionnaire—is a function of how a state perceives its vulnerability to defeat, as shaped by two variables: the severity of external threats that it perceives, and the degree to which the government faces political costs in mobilizing additional citizen soldiers. I use archival evidence to present four case studies that test my argument across the full range of its independent and dependent variable values: Angola (1974-76), Germany (1935-45), India (1962-64), and the United States (1861-64).

Free French Legion soldiers in Libya, c.1942

Introducing the Foreign Recruitment Dataset:
Legionnaires and the Spectrum of Military Manpower

This article introduces the foreign recruitment dataset, documenting how governments have supplemented their citizen-based armies with legionnaires—individuals who are neither citizens, colonial subjects, or co-ethnics of the government that they serve. Contrary to the expectations of existing political science research, the recruitment of legionnaires has been both an enduring and an expanding feature of how governments build their military power. 

This project details historical trends in how governments have enlisted foreigners in the modern age (1815 - 2020), including the growth of these policies over time, the methods states have adopted in fielding these troops, the types of regimes that have enlisted legionnaires, and patterns of naturalization. The article closes by outlining research questions where the addition of this data can add unique insight, and identifies the implications for ongoing scholarly debates.

Hitler's Legionnaires:
Why Modern States Recruit Foreign Soldiers

Why do states supplement their citizen-based armies with foreign enlistees? In this article, I argue that policies to recruit combat troops are a function of how a state perceives its vulnerability to defeat, as shaped by two variables: the severity of external threats that it perceives, and the severity of the domestic political constraints on its ability to mobilize citizens. To test this argument, I conduct detailed process tracing of Nazi Germany's recruitment policies between 1935 and 1945.

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