What does it mean when a state’s security sector undergoes what scholars call “elite capture”—a form of corruption in which military and defense resources are leveraged to benefit a small, powerful segment of society? What problems contribute to elite capture and is it possible to disentangle them? From a US policy perspective, what can be done to limit the risk of elite capture when engaging with countries vulnerable to it?

This episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast addresses all of these questions as Ambassador Anne Patterson, retired Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, and Dr. Louis-Alexandre Berg join host Julia McClenon. They bring their combined experience and expertise to a wide-ranging discussion on a deeply challenging policy issue. After first defining the nature of the problem of elite capture, they describe both the factors that contribute to it and those that make it so difficult to address. They also highlight lessons and conclusions from their recent report, “Elite Capture and Corruption of Security Sectors,” before introducing individual examples of states where elite capture is a risk, in particular comparing and contrasting trends in Afghanistan and Mexico.

You can listen to the full episode below. Be sure to subscribe to the Irregular Warfare Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app so you don’t miss an episode!

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