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

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

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

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


This book develops a new approach to the analysis of civil-military relations by focusing on the effectiveness of the armed forces in fulfilling roles & missions, and on their efficiency in terms of cost. The approach is applied to the United States using official documents and interviews with policy-makers. In addition to analyzing the impact of defense reform initiatives over the past thirty years, the book includes the recent phenomenon of "contracting-out" security that has resulted in greater numbers of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan than uniformed military personnel.

While the book demonstrates that democratic civilian control of the military in the U. S. is not at issue, it reveals that there is little public control over Private Security Contractors due to a combination of the current restricted interpretation of what is an "inherently governmental function" and limited legal authority. This is despite the fact that PSCs have taken on roles and missions that were previously the responsibility of the uniformed military. Further, despite numerous efforts to redress the problem, current political and institutional barriers to reform are not likely to be overcome soon.


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. 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.

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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