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Senior Lecturer in International Conflict, Terrorism and Security, Queen's University Belfast

Dr Andrew Thomson is a Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast and a Fellow at the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. He is also on the governing council of the Conflict Research Society (CRS). His research interests include pro-government militias and civilian defence forces, dynamics of violence in civil war, counterinsurgency and "irregular" warfare, and state violence.

These broad research interests are divided into three strands.

First, he focuses on the role of militias and mercenaries in US foreign policy. His book, Outsourced Empire: How Militias, Mercenaries and Contractors Support US Statecraft, examined US support to various non-state armed forces in US interventions around the world from 1945 onwards.

Secondly, Andrew writes on the effects of mobilising civilian self-defence forces on the dynamics of violence during civil conflict as well as on the long-term effects on peace processes.

Finally, he also focuses on the current peace process in Colombia. He recently completed a project funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund on how FARC members’ interactions with other armed organizations influenced their disarmament process.

He has a Ph.D. International Relations from University of Kent, Canterbury, U.K. (2013) Title of thesis: "The Para-State Nexus and US Statecraft in the Global South: The Evolution of Paramilitaries and Private Military Companies in Counterinsurgency and Unconventional Warfare"


  • –present
    Lecturer, Queen's University Belfast


  • 2013 
    University of Kent, PhD