Patriots for Profit: Contractors and the Military in U.S. National Security

By Thomas C. Bruneau | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reports that the 2008 U.S. defense budget, at $607 billion, is greater than the spending of the next fourteen countries combined and represents 41 percent of the world’s total defense spending of $1.46 trillion.1 There is, however, broad concern that the American people are not receiving a level of security commensurate with this huge investment of their resources. With such concerns in mind, would-be reformers have undertaken major initiatives to transform the institutions responsible for America’s national security. These will be analyzed in detail in Chapter 4.

The most important of these is the Project on National Security Reform (PNSR), a congressionally funded policy think tank set up in 2006, which issued its first report in late 2008. This hefty document (702 pages) asserts that:

the national security of the United States of America is fundamentally at
risk … The United States therefore needs a bold, but carefully crafted plan of
comprehensive reform to institute a national security system, that can man-
age and overcome the challenges of our time. We propose such a bold reform
in this report; if implemented, it would constitute the most far-reaching gov-
ernmental design innovation in national security since the passage of the Na-
tional Security Act of 1947.2

Building on previous studies, reports, and the lessons of earlier reform efforts, the purpose of PNSR was not only to make recommendations but to bring together experts who could delineate and then implement, at the direction of

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